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Label Tells Band: “Stop Making Music. We Will Never Release You From Your Contract”

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Lead singer and guitarist, Jari Mäenpää, of the Finnish, prog-metal band Wintersun took to his band’s Facebook Page, with over 300,000 Likes, to explain why they can’t create their next album, why crowd funding won’t work for them, why it took them nearly 10 years to release their second record and why they may never be able to release their third.

In his broken English, Mäenpää posted on Wintersun’s Facebook Page:

“I’ve been thinking about this Kickstarter/Pledge crowd funding thing for a while and I’m very confident now that there is enough of you guys that would help us raise the money for the Wintersun studio! This would give me the freedom to make music efficiently and nonstop. It would eliminate lot of the problems I’ve struggled with all my life and still continue to struggle everyday”

Mäenpää says that he’d like to build his own studio to properly record and mix his new albums. He says that he has never gotten “satisfactory results” from 3rd party studios “for the insane prices they charge.”

He goes on to say that his Los Angeles based label, Nuclear Blast, are “totally freaking out” about the prospects of crowd funding. Even if Wintersun did raise the amount they’d like to reach, Mäenpää protests that the label would take half, the Finnish government would take 40%, leaving Wintersun with virtually nothing. Mäenpää says:

“It’s really like this, because they [Nuclear Blast] can’t or won’t loan me enough money to build a studio and fund an album, they don’t want other people (the fans) to fund it either… unless they get a crazy big cut of the funding (for doing absolutely nothing)”

He continues:

“They actually told me point blank that I should just stop making music and they will never release Wintersun from the contract.”

It seems Mäenpää and band signed a pretty crappy deal. Why any band would sign with a record company that can’t even provide a big enough advance to record an album is beyond me. But then again, it seems they signed this deal back in 2004 when iTunes hadn’t even made it to Finland. Times were different.

Nuclear Blast is one of the premier metal record labels in the world whose acts include Slayer, Meshuggah, Nightwish, Suicide Silence, Sepultira, All Shall Perish, Symphony X and many, many more.

Well Jari… (can I call you Jari? I can’t figure out how to pronounce your last name) seems to me you need to hire a lawyer to get you out of your record contract. Start a crowd funding campaign with your 300,000 Facebook fans, pay your label back for the (shitty) advance they gave you for the new record, and make the record you are envisioning in your heart. Best of luck!

Photo is a press photo of Wintersun from their Facebook Page.

Ari Herstand is a Los Angeles based singer/songwriter and the creator of the music biz advice blog Ari’s Take. Follow him on Twitter: @aristake

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Comments (16)
  1. soopermouse

    he wants the label to give him money to build a studio? Really? The same label that waited for him 8 years to make a new album?


    Reply
    1. DN

      Seems like there is a lot of facts and “the other side of this story” missing to give any real opinion on the matter. Your comment verifying that the most.


      Reply
  2. Piero

    *Advance* money from a record label? Nowadays? Hahahahaha


    Reply
    1. Willis

      It still happens more frequently than you would guess.


      Reply
  3. Piero

    *Advance* money from a record label? Nowadays? Hahahahaha


    Reply
  4. Michael

    I agree with you, Ari, that they should hire a lawyer to help then get out from under their contract. Depending on how the contract is written, the lable may actually be in breach if it refuses to release their music and If the lable “will never release Wintersun from the contract.” I don’t know the whole story, but I’m guessing that (as usual) there may be a lot more to this story. I can’t help but wonder just why it took 8 years between albums. I think it was Jimi Hendrix who satisfied his obligations under a lable contract by recording Band of Gypsies at the Fillmore. The point being that there is usually more than one way to skin a cat.


    Reply
  5. David

    There must be some mistake. This isn’t a major label, and it is well known that only major labels are evil. ;)


    Reply
  6. danwriter

    So, there really is a Dethklock.


    Reply
  7. Anonymous

    If he’s planning on primarily using pre orders of his future release for his fund raising campaign, then this 50% is most likely a guess of the labels price point they sell the artists cd’s… for.

    If he is still under contract with NB then what is wrong with NB wanting their agreed upon share of music sales?

    Also, I know nothing about Finnish tax laws, but I’d imagine any money he spent purchasing gear and constructing a studio would be a write off.


    Reply
  8. Anonymous

    Amazing how entitled bands can be. Poor guys. Their label won’t give them enough money to BUILD their own studio… Money which the label almost certainly would never recoup… And their label has the audacity to insist on getting a share of the profits (most likely exactly what was agreed to in the contract.)


    Reply
  9. Anonymous

    I can’t seem to get a penny out of my fans, if I even have any, so if this guy/band has that amount of hardcore fans who will fund them a studio and another record, then obviously they are doing something right and making music that people really feel.

    That would mean either the label is sleeping on the serious demand they have and the rabid hungry fans eager to consumer more music, or else there is some problem with the money/financing, so it sounds like possible head butting between a couple younger smaller antlered mountain goats fighting for their little patches supreme dominance.

    Some of us have been doing this forever and can’t get fans and can’t get money and then get to see labels and artists acting like douche-bags not even servicing or supplying their fans. Maybe I need to start pissing on my fans face or something as clearly I have zero clue into how this whole fan star relationship works. lol Guess I need to act like some star or something but in reality I guess I just don’t have any fans, which hurts a little, but then I remember, I did this for myself, I never got into it to herd a bunch of people and lift money out of their wallets so actually, I feel better then ever. I’m doing all this on my own dime with no help and no fans, I like it like that. If I want a studio I’m funding it if I can. Seems like super dbagging to ask fans to fund a studio, I just don’t get this weird ethos going around and this new age sharing thing that doesn’t seem much like sharing but hey it seems to be working so the future is upon us. I think I’ll prop my feet up and watch it fly on by.

    This guy holding out his hat for a whole studio and record, I definitely can’t compete with that, so I’ve just got my fingers crossed the right opportunity opens up in a different industry or else I can get some start-up off the ground or get my entrepreneurial ideas to stick and take off. :)


    Reply
  10. ww

    Sounds like your typical naive disenchanted “artist” trying to publicly shame their label for the hole they themselves dug themselves into. Know the game, play the game, and if you find yourself losing the game don’t be a little bitch about it. Figure out how to get out of the game or rewrite the rules. I’d love to hear what the label has to say.

    Also, who in their right mind would ever expect a label to fund the building of a band’s private home studio? Also, if the label’s got you in an exclusivity deal (which they likely do) they’re not going to let you put out new material under the same band name or provide backcatalog items for your private Kickstarter campaign – of which you intend to keep 100% of the proceeds. Come on, this is just basic basic stuff.


    Reply
  11. Matt

    Why are people bashing these guys? They’ve been in the game for a long time… They deserve to be able to make music and enough to support themselves. I don’t think he is being a crybaby because the label won’t fund his studio, I think he is merely stating that he has no other options- the label won’t help, he can’t ask for help due to his contract, and it sounds like his contract is a piece of shit.


    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      Label shills


      Reply
  12. Versus

    We are only hearing one side of the story. Let’s hear the label’s side before forming any judgements.

    For example, I expect the label would give enough of any advance to record an album; a large enough advance to build a studio is another matter, and no label is obligated to offer that!


    Reply
  13. Anonymous

    Never waste an opportunity to fuck over an artist.


    Reply

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