Larry Sherman was the founder of Trax Records in 1985. He’s a man who has a huge, immeasurable legacy in house music – having led a label which released many of its earliest records. He’s also well known for having engaged in highly dubious business practices – such as using recycled vinyl to keep pressing costs down.
During the first wave of Covid-19 last year – when much of the Western world was under various stay at home orders – news came in from his native Chicago on April 8th that he had died. He was 70 years old, and it was heart failure which led to his sad departure.
Soon afterwards, Trax Records released a statement on their website about the passing of their founder – which included this segment at the end…
“Sherman was acutely aware of the plight of his artists due to the fact that they could not work because of Covid-19. Larry was planning a special royalty fund for TRAX artists before his death and his final wish will be carried out in his name by the label under the guidance of Rights Incorporated.”
No details of this royalty fund have ever been made public. And despite a number of press outlets – dance music and otherwise – reporting on it at the time, no one ever seems to have followed it up. So I thought I’d email Trax Records to ask them about it.
I posed two questions. How many artists have benefitted from this fund? And roughly how much money has been paid out? I didn’t ask for specifics on who got what – partly because I don’t care. That’s between the fund and the beneficiary.
So, what did Trax Records say in response? Absolutely nothing is the answer. Despite the email being sent last Monday – and a reminder ahead of publication sent out on Friday – stony silence is the response the label has chosen.
It looks like, for now, the mystery goes on…