Blood Music began in 2011, and by 2012 began putting out highly-regarded vinyl reissues of bands like Sigh, Abigail Williams, Leprous, Ne Obliviscaris, Aquilus and Lykathea Aflame. The label also did phenomenally huge box sets of Psycroptic, Strapping Young Lad, Moonsorrow and the now-legendary Emperor box set. Blood Music was also instrumental in putting synthwave on the map with bands like Perturbator and Gost.
I could go on, but the sad fact of the matter is that Blood Music will soon be ending. Owner "J" says the label has really taken a toll on his personal life and health, the work has become too much and living as a non-Finn in Finland has become increasingly difficult. Blood Music does not currently have an end date and still has a few more releases coming.
R.I.P. Blood Music. Thanks for everything. I wish I would've bought more of your stuff in the early days because all that shit is really expensive on Discogs now.
Blood Music as an active label is coming to its end.
The goal is to hit a decade of active duty and then go dark.
I began this organization ~8 years ago. The label has already achieved everything I personally set out to, even going beyond the point of where I wanted it to go.
It was begun as part of a hobby non-profit organization when I couldn't find work. None of the other parts worked out, so I rode the label to its logical conclusion which is where we are today.
The main goal was to release classics on vinyl that were being ignored. The idea was to publish them in limited numbers, mainly to secure myself a copy, with a crowdsourced financing method that we all chip in to pay for 300 copies, and it'd bring in enough money to keep pressing more.
With the label's growing popularity, there became bitter fan feuds over certain releases, and ultimately I relented in pressing more copies to satisfy demand, as well as changing to a company format and making represses in order to capitalize on the immense work the label was becoming.
Feeling like the reissue market was becoming glutted, I focused on releasing new music by artists I admired that weren't receiving enough attention.
This ballooned into several artists getting strong cult followings.
In the process, I've been constantly urged to improve systems, as well as follow the general route of expansion that is expected of every small company. Making the records widely available, putting a fair amount of money into PR, and just basically playing “the game.” I showed a lot of resistance to this, eventually relenting in most parts.
It has ballooned to having four warehouses in four countries. Taxes need to be filed in three countries. I've had around 30 artists signed to the label, released around 300 items (400 if you consider represses). Hit the best-performing companies in Finland list several years in a row. Hit the Billboard charts several times, as well as the UK and Benelux charts. Provided the theme music for the MTV European awards and several major films and TV shows. And I did the first 6 years of it alone.
This was never my intention, and it has gone so far beyond what I ever wanted to do with it.
It's a great thing, and I'm so proud of it.
The negative sides are however many. I have been mentally and physically exhausted for years now. I work 24/7 for five months straight with no downtime and then take a break for a month where I literally can't get off the sofa.
Each time I return to the label, it comes with more fear of when I'm going to finally break.
Add to that, that as anything grows, so does aggression, stress, fear from so many parties. This includes myself, artists, managers, journalists, booking agents, etc. The amount of daily, large scale stress that goes on behind-the-scenes has become too much for me to face on a daily basis.
Even when I'm on a break, I get urgent letters from the tax offices in multiple countries and all kinds of other institutions. You literally never know when someone's going to jump out from somewhere needing something immediately that is a ton of work.
Music sales are in a decline, clearly. And the work is increasing.
The industry is getting more spread out where you have to make your items available on every single format, physically and digitally, and constantly in print. I can't even begin to mention how many times people have broken or have tried to break contracts.
And the amount of times a band or manager has said “thank you” for representing their material well has been very small.
Despite this, I am so pleased with everything the label has achieved.
But it also has taken everything out of me.
I have lost touch with most of the people I once knew. I have a family, and they are upset that they hardly ever see me with energy to think straight.
I'm also an immigrant in Finland, believe it or not. Finnish is considered one of the hardest languages in the world to learn, and I've had the burden of this incredibly complex language while trying to cope in a foreign society with foreign business law and dealing with the fact that I'm just generally not welcome here by a small but growing percentage of the population.
This has been on my mind for more than two years. I tried to expand (by bringing on help, etc.) to see if it might save the label and my ambition for it, but it didn't. Things have not gotten any easier.
For these reasons, I intend to keep the label fully active long enough to properly release the albums we still have under contract (and there are quite a few).
But there will be no new band signings again. And the label will just work on its commitments until finished and remain open to keep the old material in print and pay royalties (where applicable).
Please note this only applies to bands and video games signed to the label. All reissues (such as SYL, Moonsorrow, etc.) will not be reprinted and will be gone from us forever once sold out of these current pressings.
In short, the goal is to make it to an active decade of Blood Music and then turn into a fairly quiet legacy project. We may release an album or two per year during that time to complete the last few contracts.
Meanwhile, personally, I've been writing a film for the past 9 months which I'm extremely confident in. It's about 2/3 written. I plan to move on from the label to write and direct films, with the hope that I can secure financing. Sounds fucking crazy I know. But I leapt into this label with no music industry experience. And I'm ready to leap elsewhere. I might crash and burn, but it's my life to burn thankfully – and I can have full creative control of said project(s).
I need to thank all of you for this incredibly wild ride. It's been hard to bite my tongue about this, but I wanted to be sure before coming to this kind of conclusion.
I also need to thank all the artists, manufacturers, distributors, and industry people of all kinds who have been supportive of this venture. I don't mean to slam anyone in particular in this kind of post. I'm sure most people in the industry understand where I'm coming from and many probably think the same things about me.
I've been told that Blood Music could be the next Relapse, Century Media, Nuclear Blast, etc. And that is amazing to hear! But that was never my goal. I never wanted this label to grow as large as possible. I just wanted to do something interesting, promote artists I admire, and do the best job I could. I've given it my all and oftentimes much more than that. There have been massive ups and downs, but I'm very satisfied with everything.
It isn't over yet, but there is an ending in sight. Until then, let's finish this together.
Below I'll post an FAQ, as I assume many people will not read the above.
Q: Are you closing?
A: Not precisely. We aim to finish our contracts and remain open to represent the albums and video games in their “afterlife.”
Q: What about reissues you've done like SYL, Moonsorrow, etc.?
A: We won't be printing any of those again. Once this latest batch sells out, we're done with those.
Q: Are you dropping all your bands?
A: I achieved everything I wanted to. The label went far beyond my expectations, and I need a relief from being on-call for stressful encounters all day everyday.
Q: Do I have to worry about a shipment not sending?
A: No. Everything will send as normal.
A: Did you go bankrupt?
Q: Will you stop releasing albums after the 10-year period?
A: Probably we'll release 1 or 2 albums per year after that to fulfill contracts, as not everyone can complete theirs by the time we aim to shrink down.
Q: Will you stop signing bands?
A: Yes. It's over.
Q: Did you thank me for all the support I gave over the years?
A: Yes I did, but in case you missed it. Thanks again.
Q: Did you thank the bands and other people you worked with too?
A: Yes I did, but also thanks again.
Q: What if I am panicking?
A: K & T will be back on e-mail from the 2nd of January. Please speak to them about these matters.
Q: Should I panic?
A: No. Everything comes to an end sometime.