The Mountain Collective for Independent Artists



A.   To help artists bring their work to the public by producing the music, visual art, film and text that they create in various formats
(including, but not limited to, audio recordings, books and other printed materials, video recordings, paintings and sculptures).

B.   To distribute these creative works to the public.

C.   To arrange for the public performance and/or display of this creative work.

D.   To give grants to artists in furtherance of the public performance and/or display of their creative work (including, but not limited to, giving cash grants or providing copies of the work for distribution by the artist).

E.   To encourage the development of artists whose work would not otherwise have public exposure because of the artistsÍ youth or their progressive artistic and/or political goals.

F.   To raise awareness of and funds on behalf of other non-profit organizations through public performances and artistic products (e.g. benefit concerts, thematized music releases, benefit music releases, etc.)

G.   To employ and pay compensation to singers, instrumentalists, painters, sculptors and other visual artists, writers, editors, bands, groups and similar organizations, and other artists.


Well, we’ve always run MTN like a nonprofit from the very start. Chris always put whatever money he made from each release back into Mountain. The “profit sharing” scheme we had as a cooperative was somewhat misleading because there was no “profits” meaning that no one in the coop ever made money or even intended to make money from our work. Again, “profits” were rolled into the next project. Quite simply, no money that has ever been made from any Mountain project has ever been taken out of Mountain ö it has all gone to the next project. So now we will be an official non-profit, bringing our traditional ethic and way of conducting “business” into alignment with our legal status. Basically, it’s “business” as usual.

Here’s what’s the same: We will still put out music and distribute it as we always have. We will still make forays into other media and hopefully into other genres and “scenes”. We will still do records and we will soon be doing shows. Everything we always did and wanted to do with Mountain in its two previous incarnations we will still do.

Here’s what’s different: We will not have to pay taxes on any of the “profits” as we have previously (As a “for-profit” business we had to pay taxes on all of our “assets” at the end of the year. Any unsold stock or money in the bank account was considered an “asset” and was taxable. This is obviously not good because any money we had in the bank account at the end of the year was not sitting around waiting for us to buy SUV’s with but was waiting to be spent on the next record. Additionally, if we just repressed the Atom CD and had 1000 of those as of December 31st we had to pay taxes on them even if we shipped them all on January 1st. Clearly this was not a very good arrangement for us.) We will also now be able receive grants. We will also eventually give grants if all goes well. We may fund a band to go on tour. We may buy a van and send a speaker on a lecture tour. We may give an artist a grant to construct a public art piece. We may give someone money to publish their own book. The possibilities are really endless.

Essentially, our ability to have an impact on our local and global community is being greatly increased. We’ve never been in it for the money; now it’s official.


For more than eight years, the Long Island / New York City area was home to a small record label called Mountain. Originally, Chris Jensen, who put out fourteen releases, ran the label alone. At the end of 1997, he decided that the manner in which Mountain had been operating ran counter to his beliefs in community and cooperation. So, he made a flyer, which was mostly distributed locally, and got some interest. There were a few planning meetings, and at the beginning of 1998 “The Mountain Cooperative” was formed, a modified version of the old label. MTN still had the same basic ethics and goals, with an additional hope: to make the MTN CO-OP into a community-run label with radical economics that go with our radical ideals. This evolution took another step when, in the fall of 2000, Mountain began the process of becoming a legal non-profit corporation. By making MTN into a business run for the express purpose of community service, with no allowance for personal financial gain, Mountain moves even further from the slippery slope of entrepreneurial-model capitalism and commodified art.

The Mountain C.I.A. is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting art made for community and not commodity, motivated by passion and not profit. Our philosophy is rooted in the ideals of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) punk rock production, which was made “official” by acquiring non-profit status.


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