EDIT: I've been typing ridiculously detailed, rambling answers for nearly 5 hours. I need to step away at last. Thanks all for the questions, and I hope my answers were not overbearing! I really enjoyed this.

/

In 2011, I started Blood Music: a vinyl-only record label, focusing on lavish editions of black and death metal gems.

An organizational structure with rapidly declining publicity (label) in a dying industry (music), focusing on a universally dead format (vinyl) in extremely marginal subgenres (metal) out of my bedroom.

A winning formula, right? Here's what happened:

  • After releasing sorta expensive, deluxe, triple-gatefold vinyl releases, the label quickly become known as the "Criterion Collection" for extreme metal. Sigh "Graveward" 45-RPM 2xLP | Star One "Space Metal" 3xLP

  • The label started releasing new albums and quickly brought on pure electronic music, which created a surge of black metal fan interest in electronic music and an entire subscene called darksynth, so popular that the metal major labels tried to sign all the electronic artists off my label. Perturbator "Dangerous Days" | Dan Terminus "The Wrath of Code"

  • The label made all its releases Name Your Own Price, so fans could download all new releases for free and donate later if they liked them, which caused Blood Music to have some of the most popular accounts on Bandcamp. Blood Music - Bandcamp | Perturbator - Bandcamp

  • The label released a series of various-sized completist box sets, culminating with the Emperor 24-LP, 7", and 92-page book box set, the second largest vinyl box set ever released. Cost: 700 euros and only payable with bank transfer. Emperor "The Complete Works" Mockup | Emperor "The Complete Works" Photo

  • Several of the label's releases hit multiple Billboard charts, topping out at #3 on the Heatseekers (new artists) and #18 on the independent charts, as well as hitting the UK charts many times and BeNeLux charts as well.

  • The label provided the theme song for the MTV European Music Awards, as well as many songs to CBS's TV show "Limitless" and several wide distribution independent and major studio films (Eighth Grade, The Guest, and several to-come films) and video games (Hotline Miami, NeuroVoider).

  • Many label pieces are located in the permanent archives of the libraries of Norway and Finland, as well as on display and in the permanent collection of Rockheim – Norway's rock museum.

  • I also co-wrote and co-directed a couple videos for the label that have racked up a few million views (NSFW). Perturbator "Sentient" video | GosT "Arise" video

  • And the label will be publishing a cyberpunk, point-and-click adventure game next year. VirtuaVerse trailer

After all this and releasing over three hundred different items (CDs / Vinyl / Shirts / Patches / etc.), the label is still run from my bedroom.

But now with retail distribution in more than twenty countries, including major label distribution in North America. I also have warehouses in four countries and assistants in two other countries.

To date, the label has released black metal, death metal, dark electronic, psychedelic ambient, French folk, indie noise, progressive rock, post rock, trip hop, chiptune, and neoclassical.

The intention was to make this label a small hobby project, release a few records that I wanted to own on vinyl myself, and not lose money.

Soooooo, in case some of you want to know a thing or two about overdoing your hobbies ...

I'm J – the director of Blood Music.

Ask me anything.

Comments: 157 • Responses: 61  • Date: 

Alice_Cern21 karma

If you had to pick one, what would you say you liked more; blood or music?

BloodMusic41 karma

Obviously music, otherwise I would've started Music Blood, where I released lavish, limited edition blood, haha.

Alice_Cern7 karma

I understand but couldn’t we say that you NEED blood to live but you don’t need music... do you J?

BloodMusic7 karma

Well with that logic, if we only like things we need we'd have to eliminate quite a lot of human developments wouldn't we? There goes McDonald's and iPads rip we hardly knew ye :'(

knit_t17 karma

What were the biggest non industry specific hurdles you faced, and how did you get over them? Things like financing, doubt, motivation, etc.

BloodMusic18 karma

Great question. Regarding all your examples, oddly enough none of those were a significant factor, at least at the start.

  • Money - I had some small savings when I started it but furthermore, the first release was (mostly) done in pre-orders, so this was not an issue, until I got into later releases, such as the Strapping Young Lad 7-LP box, the Moonsorrow 14-LP box, etc. Those were projects that couldn't be financed simply through pre-orders and PayPal nearly crushed the label by holding onto all sales of those until after they were all sent (a story for another day).

  • Doubt, etc. I somehow saw the map of the entire trajectory of the label from its first release through the end of the Emperor box set, about 5 years later. Certainly many surprises happened along the way, but nearly everything happened as I envisioned it.

TO ACTUALLY ANSWER YOUR QUESTION -

I would say the hardest thing of all is time / energy management. At first, the projects were slow-moving. Getting bands and labels to accept licenses or collaboration with a startup was (almost) impossible, and vinyl production moves at glacier-pace, so it would be 6 months minimum until anything started happening between a band saying yes and actually being able to offer it for sale.

I was just looking for something to do, and I buried myself in future work because I wanted something to do right then and there. The amount of tasks to get through became so punishing, I almost didn't make it out in one piece.

I'm very sensitive to time / energy management these days because of this, and I was very public about how overcome with stress I personally was. The label became known for that on social media for a while!

Jsinner99916 karma

Hi Blood Music! I have been a fan of your label in general and I'm from Singapore. Found this label once I listened to Perturbator's Dangerous Days and ever since, I've been exposed to so many new and interesting bands that are signed to your label! I do have several questions for you.

1) Despite having a really small team, I'm genuinely impressed that your team manages to work with great demands from fans! How does Blood Music stay efficient with the label without the staff members burning themselves out often?

2) How did you meet Hollywood Burns? I'll be honest, I like their works but I did not expect them to come to Blood Music!

3) Is Schizoid Lloyd still signed with Blood Music? If so, should we be expecting any updates/ new content from Schizoid Lloyd?

4) What is the process behind hiring an artist to illustrate album art for Blood Music?

5) I am not sure if this is something you would answer because it's personal but I'll ask anyway. I'm referring to a particular post that you post on the Blood Music Facebook page. Are there any albums/ tracks from artists in Blood Music that has helped you personally to tide through tough times?

Finally, I also want to say that a number of musicians in Blood Music helped me when I needed fuel to push on, i.e. Perturbator, GosT, Hollywood Burns, Master Boot Record and Schizoid Lloyd. Thank you, keep up the good work and please do not get burnt out XD

BloodMusic19 karma

Great to hear and thanks for all the questions!

1) It is the age-old question of balance, and we're still working at it. It's never perfect. It was clear to me long ago that working alone (and running the warehouse, shipping, etc.) was way too much. I kept that on my shoulders for years too long.

I would say the label structure is a very strong outgrowth of the internet generation, where we can coordinate digitally across any place on the globe. A few key elements are :

Myself and my team split tasks up so that we each handle a number of jobs, and then I oversee the more critical work they do too.

We now have shippers and warehouses actively working in Finland and Ireland who do a phenomenal job. We have distributors who help sell our stuff to stores in many countries.

Frankly, when I say it is a one person label and has been, that's never the full truth. I've worked with freelancers who are audio engineers, band members themselves, illustrators, layout artists, the plant, etc. It's a vast number of people and we try as best as possible to make it through the hardest times. Like any company, there are times where it just becomes punishing for weeks on end. I would never suggest 10-12-14 hour work days to anyone. Sometimes you have to pull them, but they're not human.

But for now, we are managing.

2) I actually stumbled upon Hollywood Burns on YouTube, on an autoplay! As you can imagine, I have been sent tracks from virtually every darksynth and nearly every synthwave artist out there hoping to catch a break. I wasn't really interested in oversaturating the label with them. It would've been an easy cash out situation that would've eventually made the label terrible. A Hollywood Burns track came up from his EP, and I heard instantly someone with potential. I think it's the same spark I heard from Perturbator, Dan Terminus, GosT. It was like - this dude is going to do something great. I told him to keep in touch if he wrote an album. That is rare, I'm not sure if I've done that to anyone else!

3) They aren't, and it was my choice. I love their record, but after release it just becomes clear to me that some bands aren't meant for the label. When the fan reaction is just not screaming for something, my thought becomes that I'm really glad I worked with them but they are going to benefit so much by finding the right label elsewhere. It's a hard choice to make and many bands want to stay even after that, but there are just signs to me that I will be holding them back to keep them signed.

4) Tough question - but many bands come with ideas already. In the event that they do not come with ideas, we usually try to give suggestions on artists we already know or ones we follow. There is just a ridiculous amount of talented visual artists, and you can find them all across social media.

5) The great thing is that I never personally tire of music, despite any possible lows with the label. That is one thing I was nervous about upfront with the label. I'm also very able to tear apart the art from the artist, so in any cases we've come head to head, I can always still love the music the same as before. That said, I don't think any project I've worked on could be soothing to me afterwards, haha. I'd say the most critical work for me personally that has ever come out on an emotional level is Aphex Twin "Selected Ambient Works, Vol. II". I can literally see in my music player right now I've listened to it almost 2000 times since getting this computer a few years ago. And that album has followed me since it came out, so you can imagine how many times I've actually listened to it. Tens of thousands. I actually play it to my puppy to calm him down.

That is so great to hear about the music getting you through tough times, I can't tell how much that makes me glad!

C5309 karma

Hello J, I trust every release coming from BM, and I am always impressed by new bands, especially Irreversible Mechanism this year!

My question is:
A week ago, you said on Facebook that you won't sign anymore bands because your team was too small.
What do you need to make the label less exhausting in your opinion?

I really hope I will discover new artists on your label! Keep up the good work.

BloodMusic10 karma

Yes, if I'm just purely honest - and as you can sort of tell from the above blurb - the label was meant as a hobby project and I think in order for it to continue to feel fresh, it can never fall too far into a commercial venture. To ignore that it has a commercial element at this point would be impossible, but the goal is always interesting projects.

To be perfectly bluntly honest, I do not know in today's music climate whether there is an accurate balance for this label.

Sales are going down every year for the entire industry, that is a fact. We bucked industry trends for many years and still continue to but it becomes obvious there is a ceiling one can rarely break through on this.

I could continue to hire on help, but then my role would become purely as a people manager, I would become eventually removed from the actual work that the label became known for, and I would just be a manager of a nice label, rather than doing nice things at a nice label.

Additionally, I think in order to make that work, we could keep hiring on until it hits that point or then hire a manager to run it all as well, but we would literally have to focus more heavily on commercial-only projects. Bands that at all costs would sell lots of records, regardless of taste.

I see a Catch-22 in there. I'm totally comfortable knowing the label can never achieve full flight for the simple reason that the quality comes first. In this day and age, I think it managed to grow to an unbelievable level, waaaay further than I expected.

I don't envision hiring on many more people as I am aware how the label would have to change to accommodate that.

TheIronicO9 karma

Working in technology sales, I'm always focused on what I have to sell, but I'm also focused on what I might not have in 6 months / a year to sell. With your recent shutdown on new bands, doesn't it scare you as a business that you could lose 2/3 of your best bands and suddenly have a chunk of your roster gone and revenue impacted?

I'm sure you know your market, but I find it strange you're not hunting around for the next big thing, whilst looking to scrape off the dead weight at the same time! Thanks for all you've done for the metal / synth scenes though.

BloodMusic11 karma

Funnily enough, I have never ever been scared as a business, and that comes out of approaching this from a hobby standpoint from the beginning. I have always applied sound business principles to everything I do, but as you may be aware, I was notorious for telling customers off I didn't like in the beginning and all sorts of other things, haha.

There is a lot of personal touch involved with this in that the label is only as powerful as the human(s) behind it. I work a hellish amount because I like to do a great job and get everything done I've promised, but I'm not a fan of infinite success at all costs to be honest. I think you do a good job and put it out there.

If the label would start to fail as of tomorrow because of a changing industry, I wouldn't even be concerned. I've always been interested in how to manage things, but I've never minded if things shrink into obscurity.

So, I'm not really worried if I miss the next big thing. Not at all, I would buy their records on vinyl for my collection and send them a congratulations.

FinnFloyde9 karma

How involved are you with the releases of an artist under your label? Do you just distribute them or are you more actively involved in the production?

BloodMusic29 karma

There is this bizarre sort of unspoken dance that goes on once we sign bands to feel out their deficiencies. It's rarely ever spoken about. But for instance, if I feel like a band is completely there sonically but needs some visual help, I'll tell them upfront.

My goal is to be as transparent as possible while delivering the best possible release. So, some artists come totally armed with a completely professional visual identity and aural identity from the get go.

Given two different artists:

Perturbator, he completely had his visual identity figured out and audio too. With his releases, I came in with the release plans, marketing plans, and packaging concepts, such as the 3xLP box and 2xCD book.

Those were fully conceptualized and art directed by me. But Perturbator was in charge of conceptualizing and art directing the album cover and graphic novel with Ariel ZB, the artist.

Then you have GosT, whose visual identity I was almost completely in charge of on his albums Behemoth and Non Paradisi, working in conjunction with the brilliant artists Førtifem. The Behemoth album cover concept was mine and Non Paradisi, we were told the album was about Milton's Paradise Lost. I worked with the artists to come up with the complete package on both.

Or furthermore, OddZoo just gave us the front cover painting, and we had to figure out the rest.

This translates to audio and other issues.

Just recently, a band turned in their album, and we were able to convince them to go for a better master.

It just depends on what the band NEEDS essentially to release the best material possible. If we're psyched about it and the band is psyched about it, we think everyone will be psyched about it.

cblackstar6 karma

I know it's probably totally hopeless, but were there ever any new developments in the quest to make a Windir boxset?

BloodMusic9 karma

There won't be one through us and maybe not one at all.

I never made it public early on but I tried since almost the beginning of the label to secure the rights. The rights holder was HELL to get ahold of, but I repeatedly e-mailed and called until a deal was nearly on the table. I presented a deal to them, and I never heard from them again, literally. That was the end of it.

Then, I tried to get in through the remaining band members and was ignored completely. I even had people going up to them at concerts asking them. They said they were aware of my interest, but they were not interested.

And that is the end of the line. I put a lot of effort into chasing it down, at some point you have to give up. Sorry! I would buy a copy too if someone else does it.

orangesonfire5 karma

What is your favorite movie of all time and why is it UHF?

BloodMusic7 karma

UHF is amazing! I don't have a favorite film at this time, sadly. But if I had to pick one of those obscure ones to sound cool, I'd go with The Wizard of Speed and Time or Rubin & Ed. Reflections of Evil is amazing too.

I'm a reasonably big cinephile. I know many who are much huger, but I love films and will watch ones of any genre or quality.

That said, UHF is my favorite movie of all time.

omegon_zero5 karma

Two questions.

  1. Is there any chance you/your artists will ever consider release more instrumental versions of albums a la "Direct Memory Access?" While I am sad about the reason why it was done for that particular album (the vocals were awesome) I love it when instrumental versions are available for other purposes. Big into karaoke singing along as a fan and being able to dissect the tracks a bit better sans vocals.

  2. Of all the unique color variants you have done, which were you most proud of the end result on and which do you wish you could go back and work a bit more on finding the best look?

BloodMusic3 karma

1) Oh man it was never discussed with any other project! Can you give some examples of bands you would want to do that? I can really not see this being anything more than a niche interest though, haha. Also, it may be harder with metal bands for instance because of the mastering process. I think electro projects are moreso mastering themselves on the fly ...

2) Whoa this is such a good and hard question, haha. Let me think about that and get back to you shortly ... I gotta literally think through every release I've done. But disappointed - oh man there are a sh*t ton of those! We'll be here for days, do you have that much time?

BloodMusic5 karma

By the way, I'm gonna shoot myself in the face here, but the most disappointing color configuration goes out to a record that comes out this Friday - "The Path" by Carbon Based Lifeforms. I came up with the concept of clear splatter on a frosted clear base. The plant told me this would be really cool! Turns out, it's not! I hope people like it anyway, we made a claim with the plant and they rejected it. Hey, nice of them to tell us it would be cool. :'(

From memory, I think the best color configurations the label ever did were SERDCE "Timelessness" or Leprous "Bilateral" splatter or Moonsorrow box set splatter

omegon_zero1 karma

Thanks for your answers!

I'd say my #1 would be your Kauan backlog, especially since they just did this with Kaiho on their own label. I LOVE their songs with lyrics but they work in a completely different but just as amazing way without.

#2 would be Astronoid, but I could see how that'd be really difficult.

BloodMusic4 karma

Interesting! I will bring it up with the other guys and see what they think, I'm thinking since Kauan is no longer on the label it probably won't happen. :) But can discuss if it might be interesting with them. Though I know the mastering process with them was not a cheap one back in the day so financially may not be worth it to go back.

Pablo4Smash5 karma

How many calls do you get from confused vampires?

BloodMusic10 karma

I think one guy from Nigeria was commenting relentlessly on the page cause he claimed his real name is Blood Music, I think that was as close as we got.

I have gotten a few actual phone calls, but that freaks me out. They somehow track my phone number down through internet, even though it's clearly not a customer service line.

Another time, I called the post office to yell at them about something and at the end of the call, the guy said "Keep up the good work, love the label!" and hung up.

OK, those were the three closest vampire connections.

HealingCare4 karma

Do you feel Darksynth/Synthwave/... has a staying power for another 10 years? Or is it already explored?

BloodMusic8 karma

If I'm honest, I think the thing that has kept it alive this long has been its ability to morph in new directions. There is a huge handful of purists who HATE that. But, I believe it is the artists that are mutating like viruses in all directions that are keeping it interesting.

If that can continue, it may have a fighting chance.

But if it doesn't or all the most interesting artists splinter off, I think it will die. To be honest, a lot of the "traditional" synthwave has become pretty uninspired, even the better artists in the genre. That's usually an indication that things are going down.

My prediction would be that the most versatile and talented in the scene will morph out of it and continue on their own career paths and the rest of the scene will plummet to a fiery death in not too long.

Myishin4 karma

Hey there! I'm a big fan of the label and love the work that you do! I have a couple of questions:

1) What is the process, from idea conception to release, when an artist wants to put out an album through your label?

2) I was absolutely thrilled when you announced a couple of years ago that you were re-pressing past albums by Carbon Based Lifeforms and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. Is there any difficulty in dealing with the back catalogues of artists in terms of rights, re-mastering, etc. before you can release them yourself?

Thanks for taking the time to do this!

BloodMusic4 karma

1) What makes this business so insane is that there really is no roadmap, but I suppose there is a streamlined process one gets into when trying to make the work easier! It also depends on whether it's a first album for the band, first album for us working together, or not ...

I'd say in basic form:

  • Negotiate a contract.
  • Discuss timelines and coordinate around that.
  • Band might turn in demos or possibly just show once it's all recorded (up to them, each band is different).
  • We may sit alongside on the mixing / mastering process or may hook them up with someone(s) to finish post production.
  • Meanwhile, they are either working on art or with an artist or we have to work with them.
  • Most bands don't have any clue about layouts, haha. So, often I'm heavily involved in this process.
  • All the while, we are planning release dates, roll out dates, what we want to say about the band, writing a bio, getting new band photos taken, discuss whether we want to hire publicists and where.
  • Send in pressing information to the plant, as well as audio for cutting (vinyl) and layouts.
  • Plant sends vinyl test pressings in a few weeks and visual proofs a week later to check that all alignment is accurate in their guides.
  • Then we put in the information with our distributors everywhere - full writeups of the album, price.
  • Work on getting track premieres, reviews, interviews.
  • Announce the album publicly, program the shop to handle the release.
  • Launch the pre-order / track premiere.
  • Load all the pre-orders in with our shippers.
  • Then it's just wild west in between trying to figure out how to make it all work, waiting on the plant to finish manufacturing, work out shipping splits and quantities of all the items to various places, coordinating with distributors about receiving and sending in all promo that comes in (reviews, etc.).
  • Load it on digital services for release on the right date.
  • Launch, our shippers ship, stores have their copies on the shelves.

Then depending on the response, it's either eerie quiet after that or pure mania. The bands may be heading off on tour. It's actually absolute chaos behind the scenes!

2) The process of reissues is generally much simpler than new albums because you already have a pretty basic structure where you can rip out half of the above. But in the case of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, getting the band and label interested in releasing it took me over 3 years to convince them! And from there, the layouts were all over the place, we had to reconstruct it all from scratch. It came out amazing, but it was a nightmare! CBL was so much easier, haha. They had a designer in mind, who had already done the new remaster album covers. He just expanded them in his own time. It was easy! We had to have vinyl masters pulled on each of the albums as well.

SidewalkSavant4 karma

I while back on some long buried FB thread, you mentioned an artist who was interested in joining your label but at the condition you avoid promoting or endorsing another now departed artist. This might still be under wraps but I figure I'd ask, which artist was this? Or at least a hint perhaps?

BloodMusic9 karma

I was about to give a hint but asked a friend and they said I shouldn't, and I think I'm better off listening to my friends than myself about social courtesies, haha.

I can give a little more detail:

I met the artist in person (while I was on a trip) after agreeing by e-mail about us working together. We ate a meal together, they were really psyched. We talked a bit of the details. After that, they sent me some strange followups via social media, asking for clear projections on sales. I repeatedly told that that was impossible, as they were also a fairly new project. And that I wouldn't like to lie if I didn't know.

This devolved into half of my trip arguing with them through social media as they became more and more suspicious and aggressive. It grew to a head when they said that they had to be more popular than GosT, otherwise they wouldn't sign to me. Simply because they thought they were better than GosT. That was the last straw, and I cut all communication.

Their profile increased dramatically after that, and they became quite well known, and that's great for them.

It was by far the oddest negotiation I've ever had. I have no reason to suppress an artist's career, one that I already know well and who is doing well.

I have to tell you that artists as a whole are really strange. They probably say I'm strange too. But there is a whole giant level of emotions involved with creating and releasing art and trusting others to represent it.

poodleface4 karma

Thanks for doing this. Big fan of your updates on Facebook.

Can you give any insight as to how much people generally pay when they can “name your own price”? Anything surprising you learned from going in this direction?

BloodMusic7 karma

I can say that on an average - the amount we get is about 3 euros per people who pay. Not per people who download. If it was per people who downloaded, damn, it could be 1 euro per album or less.

As an expectation from our end, we'd hope for about 5 euros per album or so, but beggars can't be choosers. We're really happy when people chip in money. It annoys the hell out of me when I see people posting ALBUM OF THE YEAR AND IT'S FREE!!! No, it's not free, it's free for you to check out but if you like it, we probably spent many many thousands on bankrolling that sucker, give us something back.

But overall, I'm still satisfied with this system.

Lanttu_1 karma

Ha! I think I have downloaded at least half of you bandcamp and haven't paid a single penny. So much free stuff!

On more serious note I have spent closer to 2500 euros to Blood Music releases past 4 years so I really appreciate the possibility download them without extra costs for mobile use. It's really one of the more bothering aspects of buying vinyls, not being able to listen to that music while on the go. It's sad how seldom they come with any download codes or similar. To be honest it has led me to download some album from illegal sources after getting vinyl because they are some cumbersome to rip (unlike CDs).

BloodMusic4 karma

Haha, that's totally fine of course and that's also one of the reasons I do it. I'll be honest, I'm also just a music fan and I have had to pirate some stuff too. Probably all the major labels who make the anti-piracy ads have workers who've all pirated stuff as well.

A lot of piracy with me has led to vinyl purchases or signing bands.

EnPeeSea4 karma

Do you press your own records? If not, any favorite plants you could recommend?

BloodMusic7 karma

We don't press our own records, and it is something I considered a few times but oh man, the amount of work the label already has to go through is enormous. A label does so much more and takes on so many forms of logistics and pressure one can't imagine.

It would be cool and liberating to press our own stuff, but it requires massive, expensive equipment and a large, well-equipped facility. I approached two startups about investing in equipment so that I would own a stake in a plant and they would press whatever the hell I wanted! But I literally couldn't make the numbers match up. :/

As far as plants to recommend, probably I shouldn't say much cause we've been with the same place since the 2nd release. I've tried a few others and they weren't satisfying to me. It is hard to find a quality / price balance out there, and to be honest, I don't know if one currently exists. I was very happy with my arrangement in the beginning but some developments have made it less exciting. I'd rather not get into personal details involving others however. We still manage to get through the day, and if you find an amazing set up, let us know asap, haha.

EnPeeSea1 karma

That sounds about right.

Have you released cassette tapes? They seem to be popular with other labels on Bandcamp lately.

BloodMusic7 karma

Yes! Have released maybe 10-15 albums on cassette. I'm going to be brutally honest, I released it because people asked. I still to this day do not understand cassettes, haha. Did a good job on them because I like to release quality, but I still do not understand cassettes. They were fun to make though!

throw_aiweiwei3 karma

Are you not losing money? The game looks cool af.

BloodMusic8 karma

Absolutely not, there were some very terrifying moments there with some of the more daredevil releases (massive box sets) where I could've bankrupted myself for the next ten years if no one cared. Just a few of those. Luckily, they all sold out.

I would say on the whole though, most of the projects hit about break even or just above. There are a handful of successful projects which provide the financing for everything else.

gustr153 karma

When's the stuff you found in storage going up for sale?

How was working with maudlin of the Well?

BloodMusic2 karma

I answered the first part previously:

"To answer your question - we will be releasing the records in stages, it was too many different titles / colors to release all at once. We are trying to get them live by the end of this week, but it involves reprogramming the shop for every single color configuration.

My hope is Friday, but I can't be 100% sure until we're sure the shop is ready to go."

To be honest, I think Toby's head was far elsewhere when we did the motW box set, as he seemed more focused on moving forward with things like Kayo Dot, etc., and I was really in over my head trying to learn about how to release records. So, I'd say at that point the relationship was not extremely detailed.

In latter years, he's seemed to come more and more around to it, to the point where his latest solo album is heavily influenced by motW song structures, he even pointed this out to us and not the other way around. He seems genuinely excited now whenever I've repressed things like the "Bath" and "LYBM" reissues, as well as the "Part the Second" reissue.

Fimbool3 karma

Hey J, have you ever felt like people react more strongly towards your synthwave/darksynth releases than to releases in other genres?

Actually I had to rephrase my post since it started as more of an observation that you sometimes post what I perceive as passive aggressive jabs that hint at somewhat of disappointment when a release doesn't get the attention you think it deserves. Might be entirely in my imagination, though. ;-)

BloodMusic4 karma

I would not say this is a rule but yes I would say at least that people are more open-minded about the electro stuff the label puts out. There has been an odd shift since bringing electro on board that it can feel at times like metal albums are met with a group of fans with folded arms and frowns. A lot of those albums grow over time and gain a fanbase months after they're released.

I don't believe every release is going to rocket off, but when I voice public disappointment it's usually because of some mismatch of reaction and actual support. As in the case of Toby Driver's latest album, where fans flocked immediately to call it album of the year, it received hundreds of ratings on user rating sites immediately, but the comparable financial support on it was not there. I just wonder how can so many people call themselves fans and not chip in a couple bucks?

Or in the case of people angrily demanding we increase the amount of metal releases but not showing up as much when we do. Well, if you don't support our metal releases, you should stop asking us to put more out. Sure we do this out of respect for the music, but it's also a job with a large financial component.

At the end of the day, I'm rarely if ever dissatisfied with sales. Things go how they go and fan reaction is an integral part of releasing records. Some stuff we release gets a large reaction without any electronic or synthwave component.

We just released OddZoo's debut album and sales did not explode out of the gates, but there was a reasonable amount of good comments. I love the album and everything is fine. But based on the reaction, I don't expect more. It's a new band, reactions were about normal for a new band. It sold less than Toby's album but we also invested less and we reached less people, so it all makes sense.

The point? If you like something and/or want to see more of it, throw a few bucks at it. It's simple science.

Madrizzle13 karma

What's your take on Zeal & Ardor?

Since you mentioned black metal fusion....

BloodMusic3 karma

Just to be honest, this never really spoke to me. I saw it blow up on Bandcamp and saw everyone talking about it. I could've just as easily written the band then, but the music hasn't spoken to me.

I think multiple genres can work with black metal on the same label, but there aren't too many bands that are mixing opposite genres on the same record that I'm thrilled about. There are a bunch of black metal / synthwave crossover bands, and I haven't really found them interesting. I'd say MASTER BOOT RECORD, who is on the label, is probably the only interesting crossover of metal and electronic that I've found in the entirety of this scene.

That isn't to say crossovers can't work, I just don't often find them merged skillfully.

Seed_Eater3 karma

Hey, big fan of the label and the artists you've signed. Are you surprised at all by the interest and intersection in the metal community with electronic/synthwave artists like Dan T, Perturbator, Tommy, and GosT? Was it a risk taking on those sounds on a metal label? Coming from the other end, I was sucked into metal basically through your label after many hours of listening to those artists and others in darksynth.

(Also, any chance we'll see some band patches or tapes again soon?)

BloodMusic4 karma

That's awesome to hear! I have always been a fan of many genres, and it makes me so excited to hear that people are discovering new things because of the label.

The answer is yes, there was a moment of extreme paranoia when I announced Perturbator to the label. The label hadn't been exactly the most "normal" to that point, dealing with the more experimental side of metal, but it was not only such a sidestep but also pretty much unheard of to jam something as sacrilegious as electronic music on a metal label (Earache did it in the 90s and it destroyed them!). I mean these are genres that are supposed to go to war and kill each other.

I was hoping by some small chance that metalheads' interest in sci fi and horror would bridge the gap and by some stroke of luck and the internet's help of growing cross-pollination of genres, it was a right place / right time and it worked.

I was literally sure at that point that signing Perturbator could either make or destroy the label. In some alternate timeline, you've never heard of Blood Music and it went down in a blaze of glory when announcing electronic music to its roster.

After Perturbator's success, I was sure it was possible to add a bit more. But there have been times when I brought things on where I was like "here we go, everyone's gonna get mad!" Take Corpo-Mente (French folk meets opera). I was sure people would go what the @#$& is this? But weirdly, they didn't!

Taking chances can pay off when the quality is there.

jeanpi233 karma

I discovered BM because of Kauan, I was really surprised when they decided to self-release their latest effort. Are they still signed to BM?

BloodMusic8 karma

They are not signed to the label anymore, we had an "open relationship" at that point, haha.

We were talking about releasing Kaiho together for a while and it was intended to be on the label. But, a few things happened.

The band received a personal grant from a fan, AND I had heard demos of the album and my reaction was lukewarm to them.

It was these two factors which convinced the band to move on their own, and I applaud them for doing well with it!

Funnily in the end, the tracks I didn't hear were the ones that I thought were standout on the record, but I cannot fault a free agent for wanting to have full control of their material.

I released three albums with them and nearly everything else on vinyl of theirs. It was a lot of work together, and I can respect they needed to move on. I have spoken with Anton from the band a few times and he seems happy with the situation, so they made the best decision for themselves.

zoomoo3182 karma

same for me, i really hope BM is able to repress sorni nai, ive been looking for a copy for under $30 for a long time

BloodMusic3 karma

On vinyl? I think we have some coming back out from our warehouse raid. We found so much stuff in there, I can't be sure. It may be some extra copies of the rare first pressing. Hope I'm not giving wrong information.

zoomoo3182 karma

that would be amazing if true, the OG pressing or the white/black one would be killer, its my 3rd favorite album of all time :) will you be posting on the fb when everything is added? ive been checking the site every day. Also, im guessing it will be the the euro store not the us one?

BloodMusic3 karma

Yes I'll post on there, we're aiming for Friday but it's a lot to program in the shop. I'm looking now and it looks like that one made it in. We sent to both USA and EU shops. It may be a bit above $30 cause of the costs involved with everything (it was more than 2000 euros just to ship these records to our shippers, plus an extra grand to bring those guys out here to help me, etc.). You get the point. But I think the prices won't be exorbitant. And that one sold out quite quickly on release!

cleetus122 karma

Were you as surprised as I was that nobody had taken that username when you made this account?

BloodMusic3 karma

I've had this account for some years already - whew. On almost every other service / social media, the label has BlooodMusic. I had to wade through a few years of people telling me all the time it's spelled wrong, as if I hadn't noticed, haha.

the_xxvii2 karma

I heard that Perturbator is done with darksynth and is moving on to different projects. Any personal thoughts or opinions on his decision?

BloodMusic4 karma

Conceptually, from the very beginning with him, GosT, Dan Terminus, etc. we all talked and agreed that involvement in "synthwave" should be a limited time thing as we all thought it had a clock, ticking down. The fact that the genre has morphed, expanded, grown, and lasted this long is amazing, and I personally believe owes a lot to those concepts.

I still think there are huge amounts of "old Perturbator" prevalent in his new stuff, you can hear a lot of throwbacks to old melodies and production in there, so I don't think it's lost forever. I mean, there have been algorithm experiments for instance where a guy loaded all of Bach's compositions into a computer and programmed it to make new compositions based on the input, and all of the compositions were new but sounded like Bach, using his composition techniques.

It's really just impossible to escape one's personal style.

That said, I think it would be cool if he revisits it years down the line, but I think he's also doing the smart thing now by just going what speaks to him instead of rehashing cause 20% of people are yelling at him to do the same thing. The best thing is for an artist to explore what they want to do, otherwise the results will be poor.

Frank-has-an-egg2 karma

Probably way to late to the game but I was wondering if you source the artists and designers for the artwork on your releases or do the musicians pic them? If you pick would you be up for taking a look at my artwork? I think it could be a great fit!

BloodMusic4 karma

As mentioned in another comment, bands bring their own concepts of artists about 80% of times, so sometimes we throw suggestions on the pile. Feel free to post a link to your art here. It would just basically be me checking it out and cataloguing it in min for a later time where it might fit a release if it might be suitable at all. It's always hard to get those to match up but sometimes we have to present multiple options to people till we agree on the right one. But bear in mind we get a lot of art submissions!

Lanttu_2 karma

How well do Spotify and other streaming services pay? How much would someone have to listen to your music there to bring in even fraction of revenue buying single CD or vinyl would bring? How important do you find exposure side of those services?

My understanding is that who you listen on those services doesn't really matter at all, rather how much artist is listened to in a grand scale and then money is given accordingly from the whole pot gathered from all users. Personally I've never liked this idea and have thought that buying even a single release from label or artists themselves makes a bigger impact moneywise that basically all the streaming use would ever do. It's such a minimal split artists get that at the very least I'd like it to go towards those I really care about. This is also a big reason why I've never paid for steaming services and rather spend my money on CDs and vinyls.

All that being said, I think it'd be stupid not to have your (not targeted you as a label but overall) music on streaming services this day and age. Unless some very specific and/or weird circuimstances I don't think anyone is going to ahead and actually buy an album if it's not available in streaming services. At the very least amount people doing that far downweights positive sides of having your music easily available.

BloodMusic3 karma

The industry has splintered in a very bizarre way. So, not only are sales decreasing annually, the services that are gaining in popularity are paying less as an overall, and labels and bands are now expected to have their material available on every single media and platform known to man!

So, it's become more costly and more work than ever to make your material available for less revenue, it's lovely isn't it, haha!

To be honest, some bands on the label do reasonably well on Spotify, but you know that can include hundreds of thousands of plays. If I'm right, you need about 2500 song plays on Spotify on average to equal the revenue of one CD sold directly to customer. There are obviously different metrics, since a CD revenue does not reveal all its costs and many to most CDs are sold in distribution anyway.

So, let's say on average 1500 song plays on Spotify equals a CD sale then?

It's hard for me to complain because I started after the start of the heavy decline of the industry. I have been going the opposite way of the industry this whole time, but as the label gets more and more pro, I start to see what everyone was talking about. Like, oh this is a lot of work now and revenues are thin to build the actual size team one would need to handle this and not have to stress.

That said, I am thankful to Spotify and digital services in any case. They along with all else help keep the label afloat.

Sadly they're useless for quite a few artists though, small metal bands make pretty much nothing from them.

AlicornGamer2 karma

Piratecore. ever done anything with this?

BloodMusic5 karma

Not yet but the whole fall 2020 lineup revolves around it!!

Seriously, who is in this style, is it like Alestorm? I can't wait to sign up the entire genre.

mbartosi2 karma

Hi!

Could you share a story how you came up with Carbon Based Lifeforms on your label? Not really black/death metal :) (I'm awaiting frosted vinyls of their newest releases, as I somehow missed splatters).

BloodMusic7 karma

This is kind of an insane story, but it illuminates just how weird my signing process has been for many projects.

I knew CBL's music from years ago, as I've been into ambient electronic for a long time, helps cool my nerves! Hadn't listened to them in many years. An acquaintance of mine who had been really depressed liked their Facebook page, and it came on my personal wall. I was like "oh!" and went to go check up on them and saw their amazing early trilogy had not been released on vinyl.

I wrote them about releasing it and for some reason no one else had ever thought to do it. It was an easy yes from them. Handling that and keeping it in print was enough for them to approach about working on "Derelicts" together. We worked out a deal that was beneficial to both sides and so we continue on. I think everyone has been happy with the arrangement, they are one of the most drama free projects I have ever worked with, haha. So that is awesome.

I met them a year ago and they are really chill, and I love how "Derelicts" came out. I wish I had something more juicy to report. But my buddy's depression brought us together. And everything's been chill ever since.

Milk-Lizard2 karma

What beer are you sipping on right now?

BloodMusic9 karma

Oh man, I saw your question and flipped out cause I did post that I bought beers just for this and got so wrapped up in answering that I forgot to grab them, haha.

I just this second busted them out to remedy that. I'm starting on Ruosniemen panimon Piirimyyjä APA and moving next onto Iso kallan oatmeal stout

Finnish microbrews.

THANK YOU for the reminder!

exitingxghost2 karma

I've seen you say on Facebook about projects you were excited about or wanted to take on but never came to be - now that time has elapsed, can we know about any project that could have been but for whatever reason did not happen? Love your business, found you with the SYL set and have followed ever since!

BloodMusic6 karma

Thank you! I think the one major project that slipped away that I really wanted to do was a Skyrim mega-box set. I was first on the scene and talked with Bethesda for years about it. I had a contract in front of me, but it included a clause that I needed it to be released within a year. I couldn't manage it due to schedules, and I asked them to extend the timeframe. They said they couldn't but we could handshake agree on that later. I wasn't ready to sign such a large contract (with a big upfront payment) and rely on a handshake later. So I had to drop it, and someone else did it, presumably because I "unlocked" the rights ... but it happens!

There have certainly been other projects that have come and gone. I was the one who unlocked the rights with a lot of work on getting Dawn (early black metal band)'s catalog re-released. Also with In the Woods... early catalog, Arcturus "La Masquerade Infernale." I got those rights unlocked, but they wound up going elsewhere. I also wanted to work with Diabolical Masquerade on some reissues, but the terms (from the label) were totally insane.

We're publishing a game, as mentioned, but it's not the first game I went after. There was one other, and we had some discussions about it, but I wasn't happy with the communication and I walked. It's now the talk of the town and slated to be one of the largest independent games released in the coming year or two ... but I'm not upset with walking. It would've been some very hard years of work.

There have been a lot of these. You could start a whole new label with all the "deals that got away."

ahhhghost2 karma

  1. How often do you refer to other labels or products for inspiration on things like packaging ideas, vinyl color variations, marketing, etc.? I've gotten the sense that everything done through the label is almost purely born from your creativity. But, I'm curious if you've ever liked something that a different label or artist did and used that as a starting point for something you released for the label.

  2. What are your top 3 favorite color configurations that you've done?

BloodMusic4 karma

I buy other records to check them out but to be honest, I stopped looking at other records for pure inspiration many years ago. I think I looked at them more in the beginning just to get the concept of what is possible and to learn more about printing and paper gauges.

Most of my inspiration comes from other sources, a lot from general life, discussion, packaging design on any item at any store, interior design or film. I have a ridiculous amount of interests with a list that's always growing. I love chairs and nice lamps and stuff like that.

I can honestly get hugely inspired by idiotic films that are so bad you want to shut them off. Some badly-rated Kevin James movie or reality TV could give me inspiration for something very artistic, it's so random. I just like to take in everything.

For top three vinyl colors, I listed it in another answer, but they (off the top of my head) were :

SERDCE "Timelessness" | Leprous "Bilateral" splatter | Moonsorrow box set splatter

ahhhghost1 karma

Nice, thanks for the detailed answer. Now I'm just wondering if any of your releases might have been inspired by some part of Paul Blart Mall Cop or something haha.

Those are all gorgeous. I think my personal top 3 favorite that the label has done are:

*Dan Terminus - The Wrath of Code (Splatter)
*Nightbringer - Apocalypse Sun or Hierophany of the Open Grave (Clear with color haze)
*Sigh - Graveward (Blue Transparent Marble)

BloodMusic3 karma

All good choices! I have seen Paul Blart Mall Cop. It was "watchable" if I remember. Honestly, I cannot remember what has inspired anything. I probably watch at least one film per day, sometimes more. But I also am really into the flow of internal spaces, all kinds of things. Probably many times I can't even point to what has been the influence, but there is a design choice behind everything for sure!

EarthCrawler072 karma

Hey J!

Thanks for doing this. I am a huge fan of your work and happy to see how successful this label has become. I discovered the label when you released Portal Of I, and this essentially kick-started my love for collecting vinyl.

Anyhow, with you not accepting any new bands on the label, which was most difficult for you to turn away business with?

Also, aside from BM, what are some of your favorite record labels? (And why if you’re feeling up to going into detail)

BloodMusic6 karma

Early on in the label, I turned away Shape of Despair, because I was overwhelmed with getting used to the label. I regretted that later because their album "Monotony Fields" was amazing!

Lately, I've had to turn down some great bands I was speaking with - Winterhorde (whose last album was fantastic), Voices (who've had a slew of great albums), and a band from France called Mantra whose upcoming release is shaping up really well. I was also speaking with Tchornobog and had to finish up communications as well. I've been written by a few others recently who are cool too, like Mortiis, etc. But we just can't fit anymore on the label.

Oh, and as far as favorite labels. To be honest, I don't have any these days. I suppose that's why people dive headfirst into making something so all-encompassing. I would say I respect what the The Crypt has done. I also greatly respect Terratur Possessions, a Norwegian black metal label run by a friend of mine. I'll be honest that I'm not in love with a lot of the releases of those two, but the passion and dedication and complete disregard for what people will think and creating a personal venture is incredible.

There are labels from decades ago I was extremely keen on like early Candlelight, Revelation Records, Relapse, etc. I still think Relapse is really cool, they're a big label but they do whatever the fuck they want. I respect that a lot. They might be the the only "metal major" who still does that. The rest are only focused on being as commercial as possible.

theNerm3332 karma

Are you looking for artists?

BloodMusic6 karma

Sadly not, we are overloaded in good artists writing us these days, and we actually decided to stop signing anyone. It's a full time job and more just dealing with the ones we've got! I encourage to start your own label!

OuchWhatDoYouDo2 karma

What are your thoughts on The Music Modernization Act? Does it impact your label or artists?

BloodMusic5 karma

To be honest, I only saw some vague headlines about it and my man Kanye hanging out. I think it's an 80+ page document isn't it? From the headlines, my impression was that it had a more positive impact on artists but little for labels. I'm okay with that! I need to know more though, should I read the entire 80 pages now and get back to you with a book report soon?

thebloodgrinder2 karma

Hey man! I’ve been buying religiously from you for years now. You’re responsible for putting out many of my most cherished records, and have introduced me to some of my most cherished bands. I feel like our musical tastes align in a very unique way, and I appreciate all the work you’ve put into the label to bring awesome music to the people.

My questions:

  1. What are some of your favorite small labels?
  2. What other genres of music do you gravitate to?
  3. What are your primary sources for finding new music?
  4. What are some of your favorite lavish vinyl releases?
  5. Seen any good movies lately?

Thanks again man!

BloodMusic2 karma

That's awesome to hear, thank you! I hope you don't mind if I cut and paste a little bit from some other ones that I've answered?

1) "There are no current labels I'm in love with from a music standpoint. There are a couple I respect greatly for their outlook, but their roster isn't really my favorite. I like bands here and there for sure, but my impression on many labels these days is just too much striving to be cool and in the moment. My preference is always to just operate outside of what's timely. Sometimes it works and sometimes it bites me in the end. But the best labels in my opinion have always been the one that were about personal taste and quality with a strong flavor behind it."

2) I've been surprisingly listening to more and more hip hop lately, but I haven't had the time to explore as much as I would want. I've been so disappointed with metal releases this year, I can't tell if it's the output or just me! But I felt like almost everything I heard this year was pretty uninspired and didn't resonate. I can really appreciate almost any genre, and the new mewithoutyou stood out as pretty interesting. It's like emo/posthardcore though so listener beware in case you're allergic to stuff like that, haha. Last year, I think the album that stuck with me most was Jeremy Enigk's "Ghosts" - so good. I listen to it all the time. I guess now that I'm answering this, genre isn't a big deal to me. Maybe that's the real answer.

3) I used to hang around Nuclear War Now! forums because the people are brilliant when it comes to music knowledge, but I think the social IQ there is somewhere around 5, haha. I also just search around on Bandcamp, Sputnik, RateYourMusic, YouTube, etc. I just click on whatever looks interesting, not to sign but as a fan I'm just curious what's going on! A lot of random things just pop on my personal FB wall as well.

4) Probably Sigh "Imaginary Sonicscape" and Esoteric "The Maniacal Vale" - those come to mind first simply cause I love the albums. Running the label has gotten in the way of my collecting, as weird as that sounds. I bought the Neurosis box set, which I'm seriously excited about. Saying that, I still haven't opened it like what ... two years later? But I imagine it's great inside, haha. Do you have any?

5) Oh man, as mentioned elsewhere I watch at least one movie per day. I actually forget what movies I liked right after I watched them, it's a disease, haha. I just watched "Ex Machina" for a third time, it's such an insanely good film. It's not a serious film, but I thought "Game Night" was really well-made and enjoyable. It's been a while, but I really liked "10 Cloverfield Lane." I went to the cinema to see the re-release of "Perfect Blue" recently - man that film was great but not enjoyable. "Monsieur Hulot's Holiday" was pretty good! Just rewatched "Umbrellas of Cherbourg" and thought that was amazing. I've actually been rewatching a lot of films recently. I'm writing a script, and I've been studying various techniques in films I admire, just things about character development, story structure, many minor aspects of story development to make it more well-rounded. It's been a great exercise in revisiting many favorites!

thebloodgrinder2 karma

Awesome man, thanks for responding!

It's funny you mention hip hop, as I've also been listening to way more of it lately too. Since last year, really. Discovered a lot of cool artists I never really bothered with back in high school and been trying to stay up on some new ones. Some highlights include A Tribe Called Quest, Nas, Clipse, Mos Def, J Cole, and of course Kendrick.

I have a few dope box sets, but most of them are from you! Moonsorrow, Psycroptic, and motW being my favorite of yours that I have. Apart from that, my favorite non-Blood box set is probably Porcupine Tree's Anesthetize box set. Incredible live performance during their peak period on a lovely 4-LP set. I also have a sweet GZA Liquid Swords box that doubles as a chess set.

Ex Machina is fucking stupendous. Did you see Annihilation, the director's second movie? Also really great. I think I liked Ex Machina more, but Annihilation is very imaginative and scores lots of points for that alone. I STRONGLY recommend Mandy if you haven't seen that already!

BloodMusic2 karma

Oh crap, I'm a huge longtime fan of "Liquid Swords," I probably need to track that down!

I did watch Annihilation, but it didn't speak to me sadly. I was disappointed cause Ex Machina is one of the most skillfully written and produced films in the last decade. There is so much brilliance in its restraint. I love minimalism when it's done well, it's the most difficult thing to pull off, and I'd say that's probably the best minimalist film ever made.

DaCh33f2 karma

Haven't bought from you since you stopped making tapes, any chance we'll ever see you do any other albums on em?

BloodMusic2 karma

Hey there, I answered this earlier:

"I really don't know about cassettes unfortunately, with the way we had to modify our shipping system, I think if we release cassettes, we may lose money - seriously! They are more expensive to press than CDs and we have to charge less than CDs. Shipping costs already eat into our profits on CDs, so with cassettes, it could be money-losing for us."

DecibelGrinder2 karma

I never realized so many of my favorite artists were under one label until I read through your post. I appreciate the work you do immensely and didn't even know it until a few minutes ago.

How do your find new talent and bands to work with as the music industry continues to exponentially grow so quickly? It often feels like niche genres get drowned out as providers like Spotify curate who we hear, is it a matter of already having a foot in the door and being a member of the community; or just a matter of determination finding good music?

BloodMusic3 karma

Awesome thank you!

As I mentioned in another comment: "This has been asked a lot since beginning the label. If I had to boil it down, the simple answer is just being a music fan. At various times, I've followed forums and check out things that sound interesting, follow user ratings sites and do the same, listen to stuff on YouTube, Spotify, SoundCloud, and auto play brings me away to some dark corners of the web."

Frankly, I just keep an open ear. I don't actively go looking for new stuff ever, but listen as a music fan would listen and I happen upon a lot of great stuff. This obviously gets easier as well as the label has gotten some recognition that bands write in or artists on the label may have friends doing something interesting.

But the simple truth is I just found most stuff stumbling around from recommendations (human and algorithm-based). A&R in and of itself is not a science though. Just cause a band has a huge social media following does not mean anything and vice versa. The best thing for me was just to trust (and hone) my instincts as a programmer on what I really enjoyed and what I thought would work on the label. If I think I'd be happy to listen to an album 50 times, then that's a pretty strong statement, and there must be other people who'd be into the same!

megablasteroid2 karma

Is there any hope for a Perturbator live album (vinyl or DVD/Bluray/VHS)? Will cassette releases make a comeback ever?

BloodMusic2 karma

Your wish is my command! Have you heard the entire Perturbator Roadburn set?

I think we discussed it briefly and decided not to go physical on it. It's cool and all, but at least my perspective is that it really works in a studio setting and a live setting. But I'm not sure if it's the kind of music one plays live then releases as a live album. I don't know, maybe I'm an idiot though, haha.

I really don't know about cassettes unfortunately, with the way we had to modify our shipping system, I think if we release cassettes, we may lose money - seriously! They are more expensive to press than CDs and we have to charge less than CDs. Shipping costs already eat into our profits on CDs, so with cassettes, it could be money-losing for us.

DynamicHunter1 karma

What do you think of Strange Music as a Label?

BloodMusic2 karma

I have not followed it! Can you drop me links to a couple key releases?

DynamicHunter2 karma

Yeah! They have artists who are rappers, raggae artists, singers, etc.

Rap/Raggae collab of label owner and group in label

Collab of Several members of the Label and Kendrick Lamar

Most Popular music video on their page (rap)

An amazing artist named Krizz Kaliko

These are youtube links and all music videos, but they post most of their songs in audio on Youtube as well

BloodMusic2 karma

In all honesty, not bad but probably none of which I would listen to on a regular basis. Even though I'm not much of a reggae fan, I found the ¡MAYDAY! track most interesting!

StopTrackingMe691 karma

What's the story behind the extended version of Love on your pressings of SYL's Alien? 👽

BloodMusic2 karma

Oh man, it's been a while but if memory serves, it was on the original Japanese release of "Alien," alongside "Zodiac" (which is an amazing cover btw - that ending gives me goosebumps every time)! 👽

GaryOak691 karma

What's your approach to distribution as a small label with an international market? I work at an American distributor so I have an inside view of certain deals, as well as the order process for stores and other distros. I've seen some Blood records at record stores around my city (the Kauan back catalog made its way here) and was wondering who you distribute through for international physical placement, and how that deal works out for warehousing given BM's small pressing quantities and large mail-order sales base. Definitely not asking specific numbers and contract details if you're not able/wanting to divulge. Love the label, it together with Profound Lore are the two metal labels I check out pretty much everything from.

BloodMusic1 karma

Hey! Any chance to ask a bit more specifically because I'm at a bit of a loss on this one (sorry). Of course, the more distributors we picked up, the higher quantities we've had to press. Some albums to our benefit and others to our detriment, but distribution building is absolutely a process. I began first in the UK market, and numbers were tiny there and now they're pretty good! Same with USA too. It took many years in both markets to become known and make it worthwhile.

Having the US shop also surely helped a lot with the US distribution because I think small foreign labels don't do as well in US without having some kind of basis there. It was clear to me early on that USA was a place that would have interest in what I'm doing because I was shipping many records there, but the costs were just too high for customers!

GaryOak692 karma

It's all good. I guess the core was what role does distribution play in release strategies? Like, on my end in distribution, the labels give us release dates and physical stock, and we allocate those to potential buyers (either other distributors or stores) in each market. We've done a bit for releases with pressing numbers between 300-500 copies but those have never had as noticeable an impact with direct-to-consumer mail order as BM seems to have. So with each release do you send a percentage to distribution for potential store placement? Do you have a say in the sales side there? I know this is an inside look but heavy music has such a different market climate for physical media than other genres and I've always been interested.

BloodMusic3 karma

Well we have had to increase quantities the more distributors we've brought on, so in that sense it heavily factors into release plans, and then we try to promote in the markets where we think the artist will have the strongest fanbase.

We've gotten yelled at before a few times for keeping colors limited to our own webshop, but I really think it would be damaging to our direct sales to make it so there's almost nothing exclusive to our store.

We rely heavily on direct sales to keep the label running but made the distribution available to spread as many copies out there as possible, as that is what pretty much every band wants. I would say the performance relies very heavily on the market and the artist/album. We have sold literally thousands of copies of some titles through a single distributor, versus there have been other titles that have in total sold maybe 20 total copies at all distributors combined.

The amount of say we have also depends on which distributor, the ones we have higher performance at give us more leeway in trying to push things, but we rely heavily on their connections to stores and their expertise. I never tell a distributor "go push this!" unless I really think it has performance potential, since there's no point in me lying to them as it'll bite us later. And some bands just rise in distribution as more customers demand it at shops and through Amazon, etc.

Once in a while we've paid to be featured on the shelves at the large retail shops in a certain area but only a few times.

Distribution is its own beast entirely and a process to build. I have a reasonable handle on the label end of the UK and US market, but we're just learning about the others as they are brand new to us as of a year ago (France, Spain, Australia, Nordics, etc.).

I would say distribution is one of the most powerful tools a label can offer that few bands can do themselves alone.

thebrobotic1 karma

How did Dan Terminus’ first US tour go? I hope he comes back! I had been waiting for him to visit Seattle.

Thanks for all you do. Blood Music is hands down my favorite label. Every artist is fantastic and I try to buy records from the site in bulk as often as money allows.

Also, was that you who was doing merch for Dan Terminus on his US tour?

BloodMusic6 karma

From what I heard there was some last minute fear about not selling enough tickets to the tour but in the end, enough people showed up to keep everyone happy, so we were very happy to hear about that! It's extremely hard and expensive to get performance visas in USA these days, so it needed to go as well as possible!

That was not me, I have never been on tour with a band, though it gets asked semi-frequently. :) I don't have time to go on tour sadly. I'm not sure who was selling, but it could have been Perturbator's manager who is also in the band OddZoo. I believe he was on tour with Dan!

I'm glad to hear it went well, Dan is one of the strangest and funniest creatures on this planet.

MarkEFeetus1 karma

What is your favorite color?

BloodMusic4 karma

Instead of giving a funny answer here, I'm just going to be honest and say blue. I've always been enamored by the color blue in a way no other color has ever captured me. There is so much expression that can be done in the various shades of blue!

_danashcroft1 karma

Anyone else darkwave style I should check out apart from what's listed above? Great releases btw, you should be proud

BloodMusic5 karma

I'm pretty partial to artists on the label. So you can check the below :

Hollywood Burns

MASTER BOOT RECORD

Dynatron

GosT

Tommy '86

_danashcroft1 karma

Awesome thank you! I love gost already, looking forward to picking up some vinyl soon

BloodMusic2 karma

Thank you!

darkslayer15921 karma

Hello I have a few questions

  1. Now that you have been running the label for over five years and have completed so many projects, Is there any time period or specific releases you get nostalgic looking back at?

  2. Have you had any challenges in setting up the promotional work flow when it comes to promoting artists on your label? Do you have any advice from your experience in promotion you could offer to other individuals interested in starting their own label? Such as finding good publicists, coordinating between multiple parties, etc.

  3. if you could go back in time and change anything in the way you ran Blood Music would you, and if so what would you change?

  1. What is your favorite record label other than yourself, whether they are releasing new material you love or reissues of older albums you love?

Looking forward to Blood music 2019 and many more years to come!

BloodMusic3 karma

Good questions!

1) It's coming up on eight years fairly soon, so there is surprisingly the possibility of nostalgia. I would say the moments that tend to be most nostalgic in life are often the ones that were the most terrible when they were happening (+ distance of course). The first release - the maudlin of the Well box set - having to carry hundreds of kilos of records up four flights of stairs. That was miserable, but what a memory! Part of me wishes to do that all over again, but no idea why. I think the nostalgia also comes from firsts. Anything I did that was a major first comes with fuzzy feelings, the first triple gatefold release, the terrible load in of the Strapping Young Lad box sets, when they came on a truck with no loading ramp on the back (so like .... almost 1000 boxes of stuff had to be carried one by one off a truck). I would never actually want to do that stuff again, but man I miss that experience of awe.

As far as "time period" though, I think as a whole, this year has been overall the best in terms of variety of new work coming out.

2) This is a hard and large question. As the label has grown, so has the requirement of publicity. In the beginning, I did it all myself with Facebook. Then I got some minor help with some publicists, now it's ballooned to some releases having as many as 3 publicists working it. And outside PR doesn't always work! You can be spending thousands in PR and getting nothing in return. Versus I ran publicity myself on Hollywood Burns and GosT's albums earlier this year and PR went great! It's not always like that, but it's all over the map. PR is expensive and nothing is guaranteed.

And frankly, Facebook used to be an awesome platform but now it's to the point of being almost terrible. As I posted recently, our posts used to hit 30%+ of our followers, now they hit about 3-6% average, it's awful.

The biggest PR tip I can give is have tons of money. If you spend tons on hooked up publicists and ads, you will probably get coverage. But it's not cost effective obviously. But that's how the major players are doing it. It's a pay to play system. Nothing is fair in this world, sadly.

3) That's hard to say. I of course wouldn't have wanted to get as burnt out as I've gotten at various points. There are definitely many experiences in there that were unpleasant. There have been internal "fights" with bands that have lasted a year, but now everything is cool. I could've done without the fights! But that we always found higher ground is great. It's really hard to have regrets because if you change one part, you change everything. I can't really take anything back other than I wish I hadn't worked that hard, yet at the same time, I'm so proud of all the things the label has pulled off. I think we should just let it exist as it has ... what's been done is done and the journey has been hellishly interesting.

4) I mentioned in another comment that there are no current labels I'm in love with from a music standpoint. There are a couple I respect greatly for their outlook, but their roster isn't really my favorite. I like bands here and there for sure, but my impression on many labels these days is just too much striving to be cool and in the moment. My preference is always to just operate outside of what's timely. Sometimes it works and sometimes it bites me in the end. But the best labels in my opinion have always been the one that were about personal taste and quality with a strong flavor behind it.

There are too many labels releasing watered down stuff these days just to fit their roster requirements.

wannabechelsey1 karma

Would you sign a metal band, but it's guinea pigs...? Oh and the vocalist is a Husky.

BloodMusic2 karma

Yes! Are they actually playing those instruments? I'm sold.

[deleted]1 karma

[deleted]

BloodMusic6 karma

For anyone not aware, I ran the label's warehouse by myself for the first 6 years. When I say bedroom label, I mean that 90%+ of it has been operationally ran basically out of bed and off my couch.

The warehouse in Finland was closed a year and a half ago, as I ran out of energy to run it, and anything that remained there has been moved to a "permanent" storage and locked up since then.

I flew my two guys out here a couple weeks ago and we boxed up thousands of leftover records to send out.

To answer your question - we will be releasing the records in stages, it was too many different titles / colors to release all at once. We are trying to get them live by the end of this week, but it involves reprogramming the shop for every single color configuration.

My hope is Friday, but I can't be 100% sure until we're sure the shop is ready to go.

To answer your question further, I think there were some Kalmah in there. Moonsorrow possibly but not on this round.

osuwi1 karma

What is the process of finding an artist to sign? What are things that makes an artist stick out to you?

Thanks,

Osuwi

BloodMusic3 karma

This has been asked a lot since beginning the label. If I had to boil it down, the simple answer is just being a music fan. At various times, I've followed forums and check out things that sound interesting, follow user ratings sites and do the same, listen to stuff on YouTube, Spotify, SoundCloud, and auto play brings me away to some dark corners of the web.

As the signings became many, I settled on the concept that in order to sign a project, it had to really move me the first time I heard it. And if I heard it a few more times and that interest never waned, that was someone worth approaching.

When I release albums, I'd venture to guess I listen to them at least 50 times along the way, so it's senseless for me to work with anything less. I'd rather work with a band I love that sells less records than a band that sells a ton of records that sucks. You couldn't pay me enough to listen to a terrible album 50 times in a row, haha.

malpheres1 karma

Hey man, thanks for doing this! Is there any bad blood between you and Gost since he recently signed with a new label? Thanks for introducing me to a bunch of really awesome new music!

BloodMusic6 karma

There is absolutely no bad blood between us! I'm probably just as interested as all the fans are to see how that's going to work out. The metal majors have been sniffing around for a looong time trying to sign several projects off the label, very specifically the darksynth stuff. I think a lot of fans were shocked.

Simply put, we can't offer the kind of financing that a major label can. Century Media is owned by Sony. Pretty sure they can just issue new shares on one of multiple stock markets if they wanna raise money. Yeah, we don't have that option ... so it's not possible to compete.

Sometimes artists have to do what they have to do. How could I be mad about that? It was a personal choice he had to make, and we did many solid albums together!

HeyHoLetsGo6151 karma

When it comes to art on a release, do you have any artists that you recommend or do you leave it up to the band?

Also, can you provide those artists, if so?

BloodMusic3 karma

I would say in about 80% of cases, the musicians bring their own concepts of artists, but in some cases we throw ideas onto the pile. Usually a musician will latch onto a visual artist and do multiple releases with them, so once they work with someone, it's rare they want to switch for the next album.

In the cases where it's needed, we'll try to connect them with ideas or artists, there are so many great fine artists at the moment, and we all individually follow many on social media ... so we just start throwing concepts down when needed that may fit the release until something clicks with everyone.