While it has yet to be confirmed by anyone at the label, there’s been a lot of chatter today that Roadrunner Records has closed their European offices. UK magazine Trebuchet reported “industry sources” saying that they’ll be closing their Europe office. That’s unfortunate considering that the label was originally formed in the Netherlands. Again, while this has been reported, there’s no official confirmation or word from anyone officially at the label.
However, word is already spreading among the label’s acts. Trivium’s Matt Heafy has been on a Twitter rampage for the past hour, weighing in on the cuts. It’s a tough read, as you can completely understand his frustration and passion for the people at his label that helped his band that are sadly out of jobs now.
“I wish I knew ho or what to blame specifically, and chew off it’s heads – but Roadrunner records just fired some of their best employees,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s corporate greed or it’s due to the fact that no one puts value in physical art and that piracy created a domino effect, but our friends who are being tossed away so quickly by the label are now out of jobs. These people helped bands get where they are today. Wanna defend piracy? Do what you do for me and 10,000 others for free. Whatever your trade is – give me that for free or you’re a jerk. The real issue aside from whatever caused it is that in an industry NEEDING loyal people – higher-ups in their cushy desks wrote them off. Regardless of your stance, we all work for a living. I do what I do to pay RENT. If I wanted millions, I’d be in pop music. And the real fact of the matter is that I am pissed off at my GREEDY record label for canning my friends who helped build our band. My heard goes out to my friendwho have been deliver this awful news today. You helped us get where we are. You’re in our thoughts.”
While there were bound to be some cuts eventually after Warner Music purchased Roadrunner, it’s still disappointing to hear about. Roadrunner has one of the most successful bands of the last ten years (Nickelback), and is a clear leader in metal, with a string of gold and platinum records by Slipknot, Stone Sour, Killswitch Engage and even Fear Factory and Type O Negative going back a bit. That’s given them the leverage and opportunity to sign bands like Gojira and nurture Machine Head. One can hope that Warner spares the majority of the American offices and allows them to operate as a standalone label for its heavier acts. We’re saddened to hear about dedicated, passionate metal fans losing their jobs, and our thoughts are with them.
[UPDATE] Billboard.biz reports that Roadrunner founder/CEO Cees Wessels is stepping down from the label. In addition, the article clarifies that the only office that will be entirely shuttered will be the Netherlands office, so there will still be at least some Roadrunner staff in their London and Canada offices. 36 staffers were apparently laid off today, 16 of those in the United States. Most of the jobs lost were back-office jobs. Frontline functions like A&R, marketing, promotion and publicity, will continue to be done by Roadrunner, with Warner Music Group absorbing the work form the positions eliminated. President Jonas Naschin, who has had the position since 1999, will remain on staff.