IRVING PARK — After more than 25 years, the future of Bloodshot Records is uncertain after co-founder Rob Miller announced he was stepping down from the label amid a public battle with former business partner and co-founder Nan Warshaw.
Miller announced his departure in a Facebook post Monday night where he said the current “phase” of Bloodshot Records was coming 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 what myself, the staff or the artists wanted, but few get to write their final chapter,” Miller wrote. “…I would be deeply remiss if I did not offer praise and everlasting thanks to the former staff of Bloodshot who endured a great deal of undeserved and unrelenting darkness the past two and a half years…I am so proud of the job they did under very difficult circumstances.”
The label’s headquarters at 3039 W. Irving Park Road address is permanently closed, according to Bloodshot’s website.
Miller did not say what would happen to the business moving forward but asked fans of the label to support the musicians they discovered or enjoyed on Bloodshot Records in any way they can.
“It has been a humbling privilege to be able to intuitively concoct a record collection I really loved 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,” Miller said in the post.
Miller and Warshaw did not immediately return requests for comment.
Bloodshot Records was launched out of a Wrigleyville basement in 1993 by Miller, Warshaw and Eric Babcock. The three founders wanted their new label to focus on roots-infused indie rock, punk rock and alternative country and later expanded to include neosoul and garage rock acts.
Babcock left the label in 1997 and went on to found the Nashville, Tennessee-based Catamount Records. Warshaw stepped away from the label in 2019 after musician Lydia Loveless alleged years of harassment by Chicago musician Mark Panick, Warshaw’s domestic partner.
“She stepped down from the label for personal reasons,” Miller previously told Block Club.
In 2020 the staff at Bloodshot issued a public letter saying Miller was unable to buy out Warshaw’s ownership stake at a “fair market value” and that instead the label’s catalogue would be put up for sale to third-party buyers. The letter also accused Warshaw of failing to help artists get royalty payments owed to them.
In response, Warshaw issued a statement saying the allegations were “misleading” and that she was “completely committed” to addressing the royalty issues.
The unresolved legal issues between Miller and Warshaw also led to Bloodshot artists, such as Sarah Shook & The Disarmers, to sign with other labels to release new music.
“Nan Warshaw has Bloodshot in a suffocating legal limbo with no end in sight. We love Rob Miller and the rest of the staff there, they’ve been nothing but good to us and we certainly wish them the best,” the band said in a June Facebook comment announcing they’d signed a new record deal with Thirty Tigers.
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