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"In a world where brand equity matters, we’ve been able to carve out ours on the way to growing into a more mainstream record company."
—-Jonas Nachsin, Roadrunner Records
ROADRUNNER’S JONAS NACHSIN ROCKS THE SYSTEM
Longtime Label Exec Celebrates 30 in High Style, with Nickelback, Slipknot, Killswitch Engage, Dream Theater, Megadeth


Celebrating its 30th anniversary, Roadrunner Records—founded by Chairman Cees Wessels as a Dutch-based European distributor for stateside acts like Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth—hasn’t merely survived but thrived. The company is now global, boasting offices in N.Y., the U.K., Canada, Germany, France, Japan and Australia. 

Jonas Nachsin has been with the label since ’88, when he joined as head of sales and marketing, leaving for four years to work for Island Records before returning in ’96; he was named President of U.S. operations in 2000. From the initial signing of Brazilian speed-metal band Sepultura in the ’80s and early successes with Type O Negative, Fear Factory and Coal Chamber, Roadrunner has maintained its brand name through a decade-long alliance with Island Def Jam and now Warner Music Group, which acquired 75% of the label for $75 million in 2006. 

Over the last year, Roadrunner has delivered five Top 10 albums in Nickelback, Slipknot, Killswitch Engage, Dream Theater and Megadeth, while breaking new acts like Stone Sour and Theory of a Deadman, racking a robust 1.3% marketshare

“We’re feeling very good about our year, and our place in the current makeup of the industry,” says Nachsin. “One of the exciting things is how we’ve managed to stay in an upward trajectory despite difficult times in our business. In addition to having a great roster, we work bands and records today like we’ve done since our inception: hard work and small steps, while thinking big. In a world where brand equity matters, we’ve been able to carve out ours on the way to growing into a more mainstream record company.”

Nachsin notes that Roadrunner has been able to maintain its independence even within the major label system. “That comes from the trust between Cees and Lyor Cohen, going back to when we were together at IDJ. With our Atlantic team—Julie Greenwald and Craig Kallman—we value their input and feedback, and at the same time, we take it as our responsibility to sign, develop and break acts on our own.”

Roadrunner’s website, the largest for a standalone record label, attracts 400k unique visitors per month. A recent online demo submission initiative received 5,000 artist submissions, while 8,000 fans signed up as A&R scouts in a very short time.

In other label developments, ex-CMC/Sanctuary exec Tom Lipsky’s Loud & Proud imprint has yielded such heritage rock acts as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Collective Soul and Sammy Hagar, with Tommy Lee’s Methods of Mayhem, Ratt and the European release of the new KISS album Sonic Boom next. A new Slipknot single, “Snuff,” could be their “biggest yet from the new album,” according to Nachsin.

Although Nickelback recently signed a 360 deal with Live Nation, Nachsin insists the label’s ties with the band remain strong, with another studio album and a greatest hits package to come. “We remain partners, and I think the band and management wouldn’t have it any other way. They believe in us and we believe in them. It’s been a magic relationship, and we plan to continue working Dark Horse through 2010 and beyond.”

 

 

 

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