“Do not buy or support Trax Records! Because this label has not paid me one penny in 34 years,” Adonis Smith posted on Facebook at the end of April. “Trax Records do not own any rights to my music. Please share this post everywhere. Also tell all distributors to do not sell this record or any other of my songs from this horrible label. Enough is enough.”
This week, UK DJ Steve Morgan set up a Just Giving page called “We’re Raising £1,000 To Pay For Stolen Royalties For Adonis – No Way Back (1986) The First Acid (303) House Track!” in order “to [right] this wrong,” he said on Facebook. In under two days, the fundraiser has nearly tripled its goal.
Adonis confirmed on Facebook that he never received royalties for all of his releases for Chicago label Trax Records, which include the pioneering 1986 acid house track “No Way Back” and “We’re Rocking Down The House.”
“I would say not one artist ever received any royalties,” he wrote. “If anyone can find an official income statement I would love to see it because I’ve never seen one myself.”
This is far from the first time the infamous label, founded in 1983 by Larry Sherman, who died in April, has been accused of not paying royalties. As 5 Magazine outlines, the label was known for not giving artists proper contracts and poor quality pressings. (The late Frankie Knuckles told RA about his fraught relationship with the label in this 2013 interview.)
Support the fundraiser on Just Giving.
Listen to “No Way Back” via the Adonis Recordings Bandcamp.