Roadrunner Records Slashes Staff

UK, Europe and Canada offices shut, 36 staff lose jobs, founder leaves in aftermath of sale to Warner Music Group.

Leading rock and metal label Roadrunner Records has slashed its staff around the world, closing its UK, Europe and Canada offices and making at least 36 staff redundant.

Founder Cees Wessels has also stepped down, 17 months after the label was sold to Warner Music Group.

It’s thought to be a cost-cutting exercise on the imprint which is home to dozens of big-name acts including Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rush, Slash, The Cult, Ratt, Dream Theater, Airbourne and Queensryche.

Warners have not commented.

Roadrunner UK publicist Kirsten Sprinks said: “It’s true – we’re all out of a job. It’s safe to say it’s a truly horrible day. We’re a little family really.”

Wessels formed the award-winning label in the Netherlands in 1980 as Roadracer, and saw early success through Metallica’s European releases and worldwide sales of King Diamond and Annihilator. Warners bought three-quarters of the company in 2007, then took it over fully in 2010.

Matt Heafy of Trivium said: “I am pissed off at my greedy record label for canning my friends who helped build our band.”

Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy warned: “First Warner Bros will cut Roadrunner down, then they will drop the metal bands. Corporate sellout.”

Slipknot’s Clown stated via the band’s official Facebook. “A lot of our very close friends and comrades will no longer be around to help the art and business known as the Slipknot family. You are in my thoughts and prayers now forever.”

Other labels paid tribute to the groundbreaking firm. Metal Blade boss Brian Slagel said: “Sorry to see so many out of work. We always had a great relationship with everyone.”

Earache owner Dig Pearson added: “Many of the best bands and hardest-working staffers were there. Some corporate twonk at Warners thinks promoting Machine Head and Opeth can be done just like Linkin Park and Green Day?”

The latest entry on Roadrunner UK’s Twitter feed last night was a photo of a sign outside a pub quoting Benjamin Franklin: “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy,” with the message: “What a day…”

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