Bloodshot Records Under New Ownership After Co-Founder Departs
UPDATE 10/23: Bloodshot Records will be acquired by investment fund Exceleration Music, as Pitchfork reports. The acquisition comes after one of the label’s co-founders Rob Miller said that he would no longer be a part of the label. Here’s a statement from Exceleration partner Dave Hansen:
Bloodshot is a vitally important part of American music history, a genre-defining label founded on passion and vision, dedicated to bringing a unique set of artists from its musical orbit to the world. It represents exactly the kind of company that fits Exceleration’s founding ethos, which is to preserve and enhance the legacies of extraordinary independent companies and artists. We are honored to have the chance to work with the music from Bloodshot’s artists, to make sure the future interests of those artists are protected. We look forward to working to keep the Bloodshot history alive and relevant for many years to come.
Bloodshot Records, the influential Chicago-based alt-country indie label that started up in 1993, is shutting down. In a statement on the label’s website, co-founder Rob Miller writes, “It is time for this phase of Bloodshot Records to come to an end. I will no longer be a part of the label I started over 25 years ago as an impossibly ill-conceived hobby. It’s not the path myself, the staff or the artists wanted, but few get to write their final chapter.” A notice across the top of the site clarifies that the Bloodshot office “is PERMANENTLY closed.”
Miller co-founded Bloodshot with Nan Warshaw and Eric Babcock, and the label’s first release was 1994’s For A Life of Sin: A Compilation Of Insurgent Chicago Country, which featured artists like Robbie Fulks and the Bottle Rockets. Over the years, Bloodshot released much-loved albums from artists like Neko Case, Old 97’s, Justin Townes Earle, the Mekons, and the Sadies. Ryan Adams’ solo debut Heartbreaker came out on Bloodshot in 2000, and it sold in huge numbers for the label over the years.
As Variety reports, things at Bloodshot have been chaotic for the past few years. In 2019, Lydia Loveless, who signed to Bloodshot at 19, claimed that Mark Panick, domestic partner of label co-founder Nan Warshaw, had sexually harassed her for years. In a statement in response, Nan Warshaw apologized and wrote, “For the moment I’m going to step away from Bloodshot.”
Last year, the Chicago Reader published a feature about the ongoing problems at Bloodshot after the Loveless allegations. Label employees were upset that Rob Miller didn’t distance himself from Ryan Adams forcefully enough when The New York Times published a feature about the multiple accounts of Adams’ sexual misconduct. Nan Warshaw eventually resigned from the label, and she’s made bitter statements about her split with Miller. After Warshaw’s resignation, employees looked at the label’s finances and figured out that it owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid royalties to artists.
You can read Miller’s statement here.