Black Collar Workers




In early 2007 Warner Music Group acquired a majority stake in Roadrunner Records. Since then, staff in various Warner divisions and departments have been performing services for Roadrunner artists, and Roadrunner’s A&R team seemed to shift their emphasis towards signing more mainstream acts that would benefit from big label machinery. Now the changeover is complete, and one of the world’s first and biggest metal labels is 100% owned by one of the “big four” major labels. Roadrunner founder and CEO Cees Wessels distributed the following internal memo, which Lambgoat picked up from Billboard:

Since joining the Warner Music family, we have enjoyed some of our greatest creative and commercial successes as a label. Most importantly, we have retained our unique identity while also expanding our horizons, thanks in part to the tremendous expertise and experience we can tap into as part of the Warner Music family and the relationships we have built with our Warner Music colleagues around the world. I am very proud that Roadrunner is now a fully-fledged stable mate of such iconic labels as Atlantic, Warner Bros. Records, Elektra, Asylum and Rhino, and I believe that we are in this position thanks to our team’s hard work and consistently original approach over the years. The vast majority of our staff around the world will experience little or no change to their roles. However after carefully reviewing our operations, we have decided to transfer the support functions across to our Warner Music colleagues in some territories. This is not an easy process to undertake, but we believe that, by making these changes, we can take Roadrunner to the next level by focusing our resources on marketing our existing line-up of acclaimed artists as well as discovering the stars of tomorrow.

Wessels’ initiative of “transfer[ing] the support functions across to our Warner Music colleagues in some territories” is pretty vague, but it seems to indicate that some Roadrunner jobs will be lost. Whether those are in the U.S. office or not is, of course, impossible to tell. Loosely speaking, “support functions” can be described as all the underlings at a label who handle the day-to-day marketing, administration, and other tasks at a label; I’d imagine Roadrunner will keep their A&R structure intact and most folks with “Director” or “Vice President” or better in their title will keep their jobs. Everyone else better be on the lookout.

Our condolences go out to our friends who work at Roadrunner; we sincerely hope you all keep your jobs, and we’re sorry that your once-awesome metal label is now owned by a corporate mongoloid whose two top dogs, Edgar Bronfman Jr. and Lyor Cohen, don’t know their head from their asshole when it comes to metal. True story: Lyor Cohen invited an Atlantic employee over to his house one night to teach him and his girlfriend how to use Facebook. Facebook! My 65 year-old mom who often can’t get the VCR to work figured that out on our own, but the “Vice Chairman and Chairman and CEO, Recorded Music – Americas and the U.K.” of Warner Fucking Music Group couldn’t. And this is the man who’s supposed to usher in a new era in a fledgling industry. Congrats, Roadrunner!


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