The now non-existent Sydney label Strawberry Hills Records has been accused of ripping off young musicians after the founder disappeared, taking thousands of dollars with him.
triple j‘s Hack program spoke to young musicians who signed to the label, paying thousands to be apart of it, only to be left with nothing just over 18 months later.
The founder of the label Damian Glebatsis advertised for artists to audition for the label on Pedestrian Jobs and 21 year-old musician Jinx Bowman applied and was later called in for an audition.
She passed the audition and was signed after signing just one note. Despite the record label signing her, she had to pay $2,000 for a five-song, one-year recording deal. On top of that the studio was entitled to half the royalties from the song for the following year.
Artists who weren’t signed to the label were offered a $600 artist development program.
Alex Cake, an intern at the label in 2015, told Hack that the label had signed about 10 musicians and had a further five on the artist development program.
“The term signed is a very loose term for what he was doing,” Cake said.
“He just basically got people in and sort of let them record and told them they were signed.”
The label introduced Bowman to Sean Carey who was a former guitarist for the band Thirsty Merc and is also a leading producer in the country. They recorded a song together but Glebatsis fell behind in his payments and Carey advised Bowman to pull out of the deal.
Glebatsis promised Bowman music videos and worldwide distribution but nothing ever eventuated. He announced to Cake that the label was closing due low music sales and operating costs beyond what he could afford without ever delivering on the artist development program.
Bowman is just one of many artists who were allegedly messed around by the label. There’s now a Facebook page with 35 members upset with Strawberry Hills Records. Some are apparently owed up to $4,000.
“Having my name tied to Strawberry Hills Records is just awful. I don’t want people thinking I had anything to do with it,” Bowman told Hack.
“I want this arsehole stopped.”
Hack attempted to contact Glebatsis but they were unable to reach him, just like many of the artists who were once involved with the label.