Comments: 3

Today I wake up, turn my phone on and see this message from Joost Hoogenboom , our merch guy: “Hey! Have you read that Marko Hietala stopped playing in Nightwish? For pretty much the exact reason why you keep telling not to sign for big labels etc. Please stop being right 🙁 “

As every NW fan (since childhood) I was of course totally shocked, but then, after reading the full message which Marko posted… I wasn’t shocked anymore, unfortunately. I was just sad.

After all, in April 2020 a big record label offered Imperial Age to sign away the rights for the upcoming album (which is still in the making) for 20 years. They didn’t even ask for the music – they were sure it would sell really well.

As you all know, they were not alone, and we refused all – despite the fact that ‘getting signed’ had been our biggest dream. Many told us that we are mad.

But now here comes another illustration why having things in your own hands becomes a better idea with every day.

The worst nightmare for the gatekeepers is when no one asks their permission anymore and can totally bypass the gates themselves. Thats why they hate crowdfunding – and why everyone should do more of it. And with the technology that we have today, this has become possible – its called the Direct to Fan system. When there are no middle-people between the band and the fans. And it works BEAUTIFULLY.

The main problem with the music industry is that if the artist does not want to understand business (and in most cases thats true), they get ripped off. I hate business myself, I was just forced to learn it. But now that I have, I can see right through the big money guys and tell when things are fair and when not.

In 2021 we no longer need permission to bond with our fans and they no longer need permission to bond with us. We no longer need to be approved or evaluated in any way. This is amazing and this has not been the case before.

Don’t stick to contracts – stick to your fans. The only difference between you and a bigger band is the amount and the loyalty of fans, not some fancy brands behind you.

I strongly encourage all colleagues to level up their independency and take matters into their own hands.

This is the future. This is the way.




  • Paul Botterell says:

    Marko’s message really hit home with me personally. I spend a reasonable amount on music every month and have since been keen to keep as much of that money out of the hands of middlemen.
    I appreciate there are legitimate costs in producing a physical album, beyond the band’s input, and that is reasonable. I don’t like the level of control labels can have over their signed artists though.
    Here in the UK, Taylor Swift (OK she’s a pop artist, not metal) appears to have lost control of all of her music and is now re-recording it. The rights to her songs have been sold several times.

    As a result of this I have been trying to buy direct from band’s websites and go as directly as possible. While I prefer to have a physical product, paid for digital downloads allow me to cross borders without taxation. (even more middlemen)

    Keep doing what you do.
    All the best from the UK

  • DougK says:

    I was saddened myself. It’s not just a bass player, who’s going to sing all those songs now?

    The issue isn’t only with music. As a storyteller with two novels I want to publish, this makes me stop and think. The question has been, do I seek a traditional publisher or self-publish? I’m thinking about Steve Jobs’ remark, about how it’s better to be a pirate than join the Navy.

  • Zoltan Markus says:

    Well said, and Marko Hietala message was also very clear.
    Such ppl own the rights who even do not listen, or hate this kind of music, just because they have money (from oil or any other (dark?) business)?
    After that they think they own you, or your soul.

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