Bloodshot Records, the Chicago-based indie label that released early recordings from such acts as Ryan Adams, Neko Case and Robbie Fulks, has shut down after a turbulent couple of years that included claims of sexual misconduct and unpaid royalties.
“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,” said the label’s co-founder Rob Miller via an announcement on the company’s website Tuesday (Oct. 19).
Additionally, according to Bloodshot Records’ official website, the company’s offices are now permanently closed.
Miller co-founded Bloodshot Records in 1993 alongside Nan Warshaw and Eric Babcock as a home for artists in the alternative country, country-punk and roots genres. The label’s first release was the compilation For A Life of Sin: A Compilation of Insurgent Chicago Country, and the label soon became known for not only its compilations but for releasing music from Adams, Case, Fulks, Banditos, Bobby Bare, Jr. and more.
“That we lasted as long as we did—a roots label, too rock for country, and too country for punk, in Chicago—was nothing short of miraculous,” Miller said in a farewell letter on the site. “It has been humbling privilege to be able to intuitively concoct my own record collection and have so many follow along for the ride. You trusted us, and that always meant the world to me. I personally never took that for granted. Thank you for all the support and good cheer, for enabling this strange endeavor, for letting us be a part of your lives and communities, and for being—as a friend and former Hideout bartender characterized Bloodshot fans—polite, sloppy, and good tippers.”
Miller’s letter also suggests that the Bloodshot name could remain active, stating, “Finally, whatever happens to the Bloodshot name moving forward, whatever form the company takes, and wherever the artists go, it is, as always, the music that remains important.”
Over the past two years, the company has gone through significant turmoil, as co-founder Warshaw resigned in March 2019 after Bloodshot artist Lydia Loveless accused Warshaw’s partner of sexual misconduct. At the time, there were plans for Miller to acquire Warshaw’s 50% share in the company.
In July 2020, workers at Bloodshot issued a letter to artists on the company’s roster with a warning alleging that Warshaw was looking at potential third-party buyers. The letter also claimed that Warshaw owed money to some artists, publishers and songwriters and that she had been negligent with royalty accounting. According to a December 2020 article from Chicago Reader, Warshaw responded via a cease and desist letter sent to staffers through attorney Jeff Becker. The Chicago Reader article also states that Warshaw asked Miller to buy out her share of the company in January 2020, though Miller declined the offer, and that Bloodshot Records has been up for sale since last summer.
Miller did not address any ongoing legal matters in his letter but instead advised readers to continue supporting independent businesses of all stripes.
“Support the musicians we associated with in any way you can, as directly as you can. Furthermore, keep supporting all independent, labels, artists and businesses (be they record stores, book stores, presses, breweries, bars, restaurants, apparel shops, bakeries and beyond). They are what keep life interesting. They are what make our communities vibrant and unique. It is through them that we can keep the forces of Bezos-ization and Kardashianing at bay. We would all be poorer without them.”