Roadrunner Records: Please renounce the RIAA

Dear Roadrunner Records,

You may not know me, but I’ve been a huge fan of your artists, like Fear Factory, Type O Negative, Sepultura, and many more. The reason I’m writing this letter is to let you know that there’s several releases in your pipeline that are of interest to me. I’m really looking forward to the new Dream Theater and Megadeth Albums, as well as picking up some of the older releases from some of your artists.

There’s just one problem, though: you’re still a member of the RIAA.

Now, let’s be fair: you love the RIAA. You love putting “RIAA-certified gold” on every press release that I’ve seen whenever I’ve searched on Google for “RIAA and Roadrunner”. That’s all fine and good, but seeing the RIAA goon-squad going after Nine Inch Nails fans for swapping tacks that you (the label) signed off on should be a warning that things are pretty messed up (see RIAA Goes After NINE INCH NAILS Fans Over Deliberate Leak Campaign, which is on Blabbermouth (your own site)). Alas, I’m sure this is just piddling in the wind, as I just read that Warner Music bought a majority of shares of your parent company, so you’re just a puppet on a string now. Too bad. I really want to support your artists and your music, but that RIAA stink is just too much to bear. Sad, too, because the new Megadeth album sounds pretty damn good. Oh, and Dream Theater? That should be an awesome album. I’ll probably pick up Octavarium some day.

Hoping this doesn’t fall on deaf ears, your friend, Craig.


  1. Jeremy says:

    Hi Craig, I’ve answered a similar topic over on the Roadrunner Records web site in our mailbag section:


  2. craig says:

    Interesting read. Yeah, the whole “we’re independent, but have distribution deals with a major label” is a pretty big problem. Honestly, boycotts aren’t the answer as much as having those participating in the industry letting others know that they’re really unhappy about the situation. Unfortunately the response on the site leads me to the conclusion that we’re all just to sit idly by and take it if we want any music. That’s entirely the wrong track to take. I think we can agree that the RIAA entity is not acting in any sane fashion, and its up to those members to stand up and say they’re not being represented properly. Nettwerk is in a similar situation as RoadRunner, yet Nettwerk has made it very clear that the RIAA is not representing their best interests. Roadrunner would be wise to say what their stance is on the actions of the RIAA rather than hide behind the ubiquity of the RIAA in music sales. There are choices out there of labels that are truly independent, and I’m finding myself making those choices more and more each day.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this blog, though. I’m pleased at least someone is noticing these concerns, even if I’m not in agreement with the outcome.

  3. Jeremy says:

    I completely disagree with you about the conclusion you drew. Very clearly I stated at the end that ultimately the voting comes down to the people who buy music (or don’t). I can even offer you a few ways to get music without going through the RIAA: buy your CDs from the shops on Amazon, buy only self-produced music, only buy directly from musicians. The first option is the one I usually take. No one’s forcing anyone to buy music.

    Unfortunately, I think you’re also operating under another misconception created by the RIAA: that the industry is monolithic. There is a diversity of opinions up and down the chain at Roadrunner and virtually every other label. You’ve got people like me who hate DRM and want the albums leaked onto torrent sites two months before release date, you’ve got people who are still stuck on CD sales, and you’ve got everything in between. I think eventually it’ll work itself out.

    When it comes to Nettwerk, they’re really just trying to have it both ways. They talk, but you don’t see them cancelling their membership and probably won’t take “certified RIAA gold” out of the press releases for the next Sarah MacLachlan album. If you really want to see a label telling an entity like the RIAA to screw themselves, check out Fading Ways music, whose releases are all put out under various Creative Commons licenses and are quite popular.

    I do think you’re partway to an idea of how to make this better for everybody in that the people who work at labels, the musicians, and the people who listen to music outside of the industry need to hear each other more. As such, I’ll be passing along your post, too.

    By the by, your site really hates my version of FireFox. May have something to do with a comment plugin.