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Roadrunner Records is a New York based record label which specializes in Heavy Metal and Hard Rock acts. It has been a division of the Warner Music Group since 2006 and, since 2018, is distributed through the Elektra Music Group after previously being distributed by the Atlantic Record Group. It was previously distributed by the Universal Music Group through Island Def Jam Music.

Launched in 1980 by Cees Wessels, the label initially focused on importing North American metal recordings to Europe. It then began to open offices in a number of countries including its headquarters in New York. They saw mainstream success during the mid 90s thanks to Sepultura (their first artist with a top 40 album) and Type O Negative (their first act to have an album reached Gold from the RIAA). They achieved further success in the late 90s and 2000s thanks to Slipknot (the first of their artists with a platinum selling album) and Nickelback amongst numerous other acts.

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The label has since reduced its emphasis on extreme metal acts and has instead focused on signing Alternative Rock and Metalcore acts. This has proved controversial with some of the older signees, many of which have since left the label. In 2012, WMG made a number of cutbacks to the label which saw a number of their foreign offices closing and founder Cees Wessels stepping down from his position as CEO. Many of the acts that were still on the label at that time had left within the next few years.


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Roadrunner performers, past and present, with pages:

Tropes:

  • Greatest Hits Album: Roadrunner has notably released many Greatest Hits albums throughout their timespan, all of which are unsanctioned releases that are not supported by any of the bands that got this treatment. One of these releases, The Best of Type O Negative was the main subject of Type O Negative's departure from the label.
  • Network Decay: The label started off as a well respected extreme metal label that had some of the best albums of the 80s to the mid 90s. They have since signed Post-Grunge and Alternative Rock bands to their label, which also resulted in pretty much every extreme metal band being dropped from the label. Nowadays, Roadrunner Records is considered a complete joke among metalheads, with the label having very few metal bands on their label these days.
  • Supergroup: Roadrunner United was the name of a 52-man project by many (at the time) past and present members of Roadrunner Records. In 2005, the band put out an album called The All-Star Sessions with each of the songs on the album having varying personnel. The project was lead by four captains: Matt Heafy (Trivium), Dino Cazares (Fear Factory), Robb Flynn (Machine Head), and Joey Jordison (Slipknot) with at least one captain playing in each of the songs on the album.
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