Tiny Engines, the North Carolina–based record label that gained a following for its indie rock roster in the 2010s, has relaunched under a “new management structure.” After originally going on hiatus following an accounting-related controversy in late 2019, it’s back with a few changes.
Will Miller, previously a co-owner with Chuck Daley, has returned as the sole owner of Tiny Engines. The label’s accounting is “up to date” and artists have been paid in full, Miller has said. According to a statement, 80% of the label’s masters ownership contracts are now licensing contracts, and the remaining 20% will be completed by the end of the year. As a result, masters will now be owned by the artists.
“After leaving the day-to-day operations of Tiny Engines at the beginning of 2020, I was excited to come home last year to revive the label and return to our roots,” Miller said in a statement. “I am committed to making sure artists and their records are being cared for properly and treated with the required respect. I also want to ensure that artists are being paid what they are owed.” Read his full statement below.
Co-founded in 2008 by Miller and Daley, Tiny Engines rose to fame by releasing records by then-up-and-coming acts like Illuminati Hotties, Mannequin Pussy, Spirit of the Beehive, the Hotelier, Wild Pink, and Strange Ranger, among others. In November 2019, Stevie Knipe of Adult Mom accused the label of bad accounting practices such as missed royalty payments, withholding control of master recordings, and more. Other artists on their roster shared similar statements about their own experiences.
At the start of 2020, Daley admitted to “years of delayed payments and accounting statements” in an interview with Billboard. Miller left the label, citing differences in vision with Daley, and started a new label called Sound as Language. Tiny Engines stopped releasing new music and began resolving issues with its artists, starting with giving Adult Mom ownership of their masters. Other artists bought out their contracts, like Illuminati Hotties’ Sarah Tudzin who chose to release a mixtape to fulfill her exit deal stipulations.
After leaving the day-to-day operations of Tiny Engines at the beginning of 2020, I was excited to come home last year to revive the label and return to our roots.
When the opportunity arose for me to acquire sole ownership of Tiny Engines the prospect of restoring the label was something I felt a responsibility to pursue. I am committed to making sure artists and their records are being cared for properly and treated with the required respect. I also want to ensure that artists are being paid what they are owed. I have spent the last year plus making sure all of this happens going forward.
To the artists and fans of the label, I am deeply sorry that it took so long to get to this point but we are finally here. We will work hard to reestablish Tiny Engines and be a positive force moving forward.
You the fan owe us nothing. We will seek to regain your trust in our actions as a label and in how we treat our artists. If you do not want to support Tiny Engines please continue to support the artists in any way you can.