Lick My Label

ROADRUNNER RECORDS CUTS BAPTIZED IN BLOOD FROM THEIR ROSTER

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Well, pretty much everyone who was a fan of the band and/or knew anything about the label saw this coming: Roadrunner Records has dropped Baptized in Blood.

But before we get into the details, I’d like to quickly comment on the Roadrunner layoffs and European office closings that Axl reported on last week. What a shame it is that the staff who are in the trenches and do the MOST work for the label’s bands are always the ones to get the axe first. Sixteen employees in the U.S. office were laid off, some of whom we know personally, while top Warner brass like Lyor Cohen get paid over $3 million per year to show up to a Ghost show in a limo and stay for two songs. While label president Jonas Nachsin gets paid who knows what, then shows up to a Korn listening party, professes to be SO ecstatic about the signing, then can’t recall the name of the new album he’s about to preview to the press. While countless other high-level Warner employees live in an old-world record label / big money mentality. Laying off just one of them could’ve saved all 16 jobs (and then some), and the label surely would’ve ended up in a better place long-term because of all the knowledgable, talented foot-soldiers they’d maintain on staff. Please tell me what Lyor Cohen is going to contribute to Gojira’s marketing campaign that 16 dedicated metalhead staffers couldn’t. Advice on where to blow money on a designer suit, perhaps?

On the other hand, there’s no doubt that some of these layoffs probably make sense. What all the press releases mean when they mention “back office” staff are Roadrunner’s accountants, royalty managers, A&R admins, lawyers, etc., people are critical to a label’s operation but are kind of interchangeable between labels. From Warner’s perspective, there’s no reason to keep these folks on when Warner’s got massive departments of all of the above that can do those jobs just fine. The “front office” staff — the people who sign the bands, do the marketing, work on artist development (touring), etc — are the people who are more crucial to the success of the Roadrunner brand, and those folks are supposedly being retained.

Except, no, not really! Roadrunner also canned the guy who signed every awesome band on the label ever (this, after two-and-a-half years ago firing the other guy who signed every other awesome band on the label ever ). And a key member of their sales and marketing staff. And they fired the guy who heads up the department related to this newfangled thing called the “Internet,” ’cause that technology has no future whatsoever, right? And in case you think Warner’s brass might be content to simply use Roadrunner as their “rock” arm, think again: they even canned the guy who signed Nickelsuck and Theory of a Deadsuck. LOL!

But I digress. Baptized in Blood, a Canadian band whose 2010 Roadrunner debut I really enjoyed, have been dropped. The news comes via a report in the London Free Press (London, Ontario, the band’s hometown), which cites guitarist Josh Torrance as confirming the split. Baptized in Blood probably represent the label’s last attempt at signing and breaking a new band, a real metal band. From hereon out they’ll probably stick to somewhat established metal bands (Gojira), buzz-worthy up-and-comers (rumors are flying around that the ink on a record deal with Ghost has already dried), and Red State butt-rock (Nickelback).

In any case, it doesn’t appear that Roadrunner’s recent layoffs are connected with them dropping Baptized in Blood. Best I can tell, BiB were dropped well before the layoffs, and I think the people who decide whether or not to pick up a band’s contract options are the middle-management types that got laid off, not the suits upstairs. The truth is, the album really didn’t sell well. Who’s fault that is can be up for debate.

So, yeah… that sucks. Hopefully Baptized land on their feet.

-VN

Thanks: Jeff H.

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