Killing The Messenger: How Exotype’s Departure From Rise Records Shows Any Business Decision Can Turn Into a Virtual ‘Witch Hunt’

In the up-and-comer corner of the music industry, business relationships tend to solidify and fail with an increasingly quick turnover rate. Earlier this week, Orlando-based electronica/metalcore fusion outfit Exotype announced its sudden departure from the label they had very recently signed to, Rise Records (a subsidiary of BMG’s vast entertainment network). On a normal day, a relatively unpopular band leaving a label would be something that would go largely unnoticed by the general public. The events that followed Exotype’s departure would lead me to write my first article for Medium.

The following is the full transcript of the statement from Exotype vocalist Steven McCorry — as to avoid the classic rhetorical cop-out of “being taken out of context”, and mitigate the torrential shit-storm that will probably follow the publishing of this article.

“Attention bands, and musicians alike! Lets talk a little bit about the music industry, shall we? Let’s talk about what can happen when you dedicate your time, energy, career, and life to your music and art.
Rewind to 2014. Our single “Nanovirus” gains the attention of “record label” Rise Records. Our excitement, and pace becomes a blur. Emails are flying back and forth, good vibes and high morale all around. We sign the contract, and we’re assigned a dream team of individuals who will make decisions and shape the direction of our careers and future. We’re offered an amazing tour with The Amity Affliction, and we’re playing to sold out crowds every night. We record what we believe to be a kick ass record with super producer Joey Sturgis, and are gaining some good momentum. Then it all goes down hill.
Phase one of their plan to control and manipulate us comes in the form of our logo and branding. They didn’t like it, and wanted us to change it. We held our ground, especially after some of our members got the logo tattooed on our hands. Its a brand we believe in, and something we put a lot of time and effort into developing. When our contract and negotiations were taking place, there was a lot of talk for a radio program for us. Yet, Wide Awake is the first single we were forced to release? If you’ve heard Wide Awake, it’s dreadfully apparent that it wouldn’t be on the radio anytime soon, but we listened. On the aforementioned Amity Affliction tour, the tour coincided with our first week of album release. Yet it’s strange, we didn’t have any pressed CD’s to sell whatsoever on the tour.
By reasonably calculating the tour attendees with the amount of fabric merch we sold, we estimate our first week sales would have been upwards of 1000 MORE than we sold. We never got another leveraged tour from Rise Records as a result of our lower than usual first week sales, as a result of bad planning and execution on behalf of Rise Records.
Lets talk about how Rise Records abandoned us, as well as the reason we are no longer on the label. On that very same Amity Affliction tour, we employed a tour manager. After picking him up in texas and playing a few dates, we receive a text from Craig Ericson stating that said tour manager is “cancer” and to “leave him on the side of the road”.
Ummmm no, sorry. That’s a human being. Come to find out, Craig had some personal beef YEARS back with this individual that has NOTHING to do with Exotype. We told him that we would no longer employ him on the tour and that he needn’t worry about it any longer. Plus, with a 150 dollar per night guaruntee we could barely afford to eat, much less pay for a plane ticket to send the guy home, so he remained on the road as a passenger with us. People talk, and word got back to craig that we didnt leave him in the desert of Arizona at a gas station, and what followed could best be described as a grown man having a temper tantrum.
He pulled us off upcoming tour plans, including warped tour and said things such as “guess you want to ruin your relationship with your label, time to learn your lesson”.
From then on, Rise Records refused to repost any updates from our band. Nothing from Facebook or any other social media [platforms]. They assigned us a day to day manager to slowly feather us into the dirt. We were offered no more tour support, and were completely abandoned. As a result of not having our label back us any longer, we lost our agent, as well as our management, and were left to die. We offered out of the kindness of our hearts to fund and execute a music video for our song STAND UP, which Rise agreed to repost on social media and push, as our last offering on Rise Records.
AP [Alternative Press] released it exclusively, and Rise reposted it from their Facebook page. Only, there was a little gear icon next to the post instead of the normal “world” icon. They reposted it so only we could see it. To shut us up. They PURPOSEFULLY went out of their way to ensure that only we saw it, and no one else.
Keep in mind, this is a video we DEDICATED TO THE VICTIMS OF THE PULSE SHOOTING in our hometown of Orlando. It’s a video we put a lot of money and effort into making, to raise awareness of the horrible atrocities that took place, and to inspire people to stand up for themselves and what they believe in. Rise chose to let personal interfere with business, and rob the music community of that video just to spite us. Frankly, that’s disgusting.
We are going harder than ever now, because that’s all we know. We have a single coming out shortly, co produced by Joey Sturgis and Matt Johnson, with subsequent visual media to follow. We have an agent, and we have a manager. We aren’t going anywhere and we will continue to have a voice. We aren’t afraid to speak, and we aren’t afraid to Stand Up for what we believe in.
Fuck Rise Records.”

What follows is a three-part analysis of the entire Exotype vs. Rise Records debacle: firstly, how Exotype’s poor branding contributed to their loss of momentum as an artist, secondly how Exotype’s lack of business acumen nearly ruined a tour they were supporting on, and lastly how Exotype is clearly using the LGBTQA+ community as a weapon to further their own agenda of rekindling the fire that once warmed their now frosty-cold project.


Let’s break this statement down line by line and approach it from a rational, business-oriented perspective.

Phase one of their plan to control and manipulate us comes in the form of our logo and branding. They didn’t like it, and wanted us to change it.

When I joined the indie bass music label Uplink Audio around this time last year, the first motion made by my management and the label heads was a professional re-branding by the label’s dedicated artist. The reason why labels tend to re-brand new artists they bring on board is to create a cohesive and readily identifiable collective brand image that spans across all of their acts.

Its a brand we believe in, and something we put a lot of time and effort into developing.

Now, here’s where McCorry’s statement beings to snowball downhill. Exotype came about around 2012, the undisputed peak of heavy bass music’s mainstream popularity. At the same time, I had been making bass music for two and a half years, was a graphic designer for several underground bass music acts, and followed the band from the moment they popped up on social media. Immediately after the band’s initial media ‘push’, the consensus in the underground bass music community was split 50/50 — that Exotype’s brand image was a contrived attempt at using the hype surrounding dubstep to catapult a metalcore project, or alternatively that the idea of blending metalcore and dubstep was ‘pretty cool’.

The following infographic, however, invalidates McCorry’s statement that the band’s logo and branding took “a long time and effort [to develop]”, seeing as I found the typeset of their logo — existent far before Exotype came into existence — on a free font sharing website.

An infographic showing how little effort actually went into Exotype’s branding.

…Not to mention the fact that Exotype’s logo nearly exactly copied most of the artist logos of heavyweight indie bass label Firepower Records (and its founder, Datsik) which was undergoing its biggest period of growth at the time.

“better than foughtknight.ttf at least … so true tho [sic] everyone and their cousin who made logos for heavy artists or made it themselves used those two fonts”
Zach David / Duckroll, graphic designer & producer

We’re offered an amazing tour with The Amity Affliction, and we’re playing to sold out crowds every night. We record what we believe to be a kick ass record with super producer Joey Sturgis, and are gaining some good momentum.

Quite frankly, the reason why Exotype was playing to “sold out crowds every night” was because they were supporting The Amity Affliction, a band currently six times more popular than them. Furthermore, McCorry telling his fans that Rise hooked up his band with a support slot on an entire tour with one of the most commercially successful post-hardcore bands in the entire world actually provides evidence against the argument that Rise Records consists of scummy scumbags. Not to mention that Rise helped Exotype gain contact with esteemed producer Joey Sturgis, who had produced for bands like Asking Alexandria and The Devil Wears Prada.

On the aforementioned Amity Affliction tour, the tour coincided with our first week of album release. Yet it’s strange, we didn’t have any pressed CD’s to sell whatsoever on the tour.

That’s because new bands with small fan bases aren’t worth the cost of manufacturing physical CD’s on their very first major tour. If the profit margin is somewhere within the range of a few hundred dollars, any reputable record label isn’t going to be interested in putting the effort in to make it happen because such a marginal profit is nearly meaningless in the long run. There are simply bigger fish to fry in the music industry, and the first responsibility of a record label that signs an up and coming act is to build brand presence. Physical copies of music, let alone the first signed release of a brand new outfit obviously should not be where a record label invests its time in right off the bat. Another producer once said it best — singles and digital downloads are to build your fan base; albums and physical copies are to sell to the fan base you’ve already established. It’s not rocket science.

Lets talk about how Rise Records abandoned us, as well as the reason we are no longer on the label. On that very same Amity Affliction tour, we employed a tour manager. After picking him up in texas and playing a few dates, we receive a text from Craig Ericson stating that said tour manager is “cancer” and to “leave him on the side of the road”.

The magical thing about business is that you can pick and choose who you want to work with. This is directly related to the idea of free enterprise. Nobody is forced to allow someone else to work with them, especially a third party tour manager on a tour that was created and funded by Rise Records. Here it seems McCorry is unable to grasp the fact that this tour is The Amity Affliction’s tour, and not their own. Not only would it be disrespectful to hire your own tour manager in the middle of a tour that already has a tour manager regardless of who the TM is, it speaks to Exotype’s lack of experience in the music business industry. As such, whatever previous ‘beef’ that exists between Rise founder Craig Ericson and the tour manager Exotype hired is irrelevant in the context of this decision.

Ummmm no, sorry. That’s a human being. Come to find out, Craig had some personal beef YEARS back with this individual that has NOTHING to do with Exotype. We told him that we would no longer employ him on the tour and that he needn’t worry about it any longer. Plus, with a 150 dollar per night guaruntee we could barely afford to eat, much less pay for a plane ticket to send the guy home, so he remained on the road as a passenger with us. People talk, and word got back to craig that we didnt leave him in the desert of Arizona at a gas station, and what followed could best be described as a grown man having a temper tantrum.
He pulled us off upcoming tour plans, including warped tour and said things such as “guess you want to ruin your relationship with your label, time to learn your lesson”.

So let’s break this down: from what I’ve gathered, Exotype hires an additional tour manager, Rise Records says to drop the tour manager. Despite the fact that dropping the newly hired and absolutely superfluous TM would save them a considerable amount of money, Exotype lies to Rise Records and continues to bring their own tour manager with them on their first (but really, just The Amity Affliction’s) tour.

Let’s look at it from the other side of things. If I were a label manager, I would go absolute nutso bonkers if the act I just signed consecutively didn’t sell records well, hired an additional tour manager in the middle of a tour I didn’t want to work with, lied to me about firing the tour manager, and continued to act unprofessionally in an incubation period where artists should ask “how high?” when a label tells them to jump.

We were offered no more tour support, and were completely abandoned.

Because you hired a tour manager on top of the existing tour manager in the middle of your first tour, as support of a bigger act, on a new label. In terms of professionalism, this is like getting a job at McDonalds, shitting your pants, and throwing it at the customers as soon as you walk into your first shift.


The most upsetting thing about the entire situation between Rise and Exotype is the fact that Exotype is clearly using the recent tragedy at Pulse Nightclub to provide a “signal boost” for a song that is nearly two and a half years old.

We offered out of the kindness of our hearts to fund and execute a music video for our song STAND UP, which Rise agreed to repost on social media and push, as our last offering on Rise Records.
AP [Alternative Press] released it exclusively, and Rise reposted it from their Facebook page. Only, there was a little gear icon next to the post instead of the normal “world” icon. They reposted it so only we could see it. To shut us up. They PURPOSEFULLY went out of their way to ensure that only we saw it, and no one else.
Keep in mind, this is a video we DEDICATED TO THE VICTIMS OF THE PULSE SHOOTING in our hometown of Orlando. It’s a video we put a lot of money and effort into making, to raise awareness of the horrible atrocities that took place, and to inspire people to stand up for themselves and what they believe in. Rise chose to let personal interfere with business, and rob the music community of that video just to spite us. Frankly, that’s disgusting.

In this section of the statement, McCorry frames Rise Records as being potentially homophobic or insensitive for refusing to promote their video for Stand Up, the first track off their self-titled Exotype album… which was released in 2014.

Not only that, but McCorry lies again in his statement:

They reposted it so only we could see it. To shut us up. They PURPOSEFULLY went out of their way to ensure that only we saw it, and no one else.

…but directly contradicts himself in the text messages to the label owner and executives, where he clearly states the video was targeted for Florida only. Which, from a content distribution perspective, makes great sense. Considering Facebook posts are more effective and reach more people when they are targeted to a content sphere that provides more post engagement — targeting anything related to the Pulse tragedy to only Floridians would create more post engagement.

Screenshots provided by Steven McCorry after the statement had been released.

In the screenshot, Craig confirms a few assertions that I made previously — that Exotype annoyingly hired an additional tour manager “Poopie” and lied about it, failed to continue to gain momentum in the upstream-swim of promoting metalcore/dubstep fusion when both genres have been declining in popularity, and then threw Rise Records under the bus when their project was losing steam.

The trend of dubstep music’s popularity peaked around 2012, and has been declining steadily ever since.

The failure of other journalistic outlets to investigate and analyze the evidence provided by McCorry shows that the bar for entertainment media must be raised much higher than it currently stands.

Rise chose to let personal interfere with business, and rob the music community of that video just to spite us. Frankly, that’s disgusting.

Actually, it seems that Exotype themselves have “[robbed] the music community of that video” because upon looking for it 17 minutes ago, they have made the video private on their own YouTube account.

via Alternative Press
It’s a video we put a lot of money and effort into making, to raise awareness of the horrible atrocities that took place.

Who isn’t aware that the Pulse shooting happened? What does this even mean? If Exotype wanted to really make a difference, they would have supported the LGBTQA+ community before the Pulse shooting.

Columbia Records artists and femme-fatale superstars Krewella, for instance, have been supporting the community for years in more ways than just a music video.

via Huffington Post

Not just that, but Yasmine and Jahan actually married a lesbian couple a day before the tragedy at Pulse during a performance at the L.A. Pride festival.

via NowThis Entertainment

This comes to show that Exotype is most likely grabbing for straws in whichever way they can after their departure from Rise Records. This follows a trend of (usually straight men) using the LGBTQA+ community as an ideological weapon to further their own agendas. Furthermore, the music video does little to help actual victims of the tragedy. There is no donation link, no claim that proceeds from the (now-private) video’s ad revenue goes to the families of those directly affected by the tragedy, and absolutely no correlation between the lyrics of Stand Up and the recent events which transpired in Orlando, Florida.

What deeply thought provoking lyricism, by the way.

When I first started working with my manager, Lee Glaister, he gave me a bit of advice that I’ve repeated in my head ever since: be careful of the toes you step on, because they might be attached to the ass you have to kiss later.

After examining the evidence, I am completely confident that in disseminating this article that I will never have to kiss Exotype’s ass.

It would be in the public’s best interest to follow my lead.


Justin Andrew is a Political Science B.A. graduate of the University of Tennessee, pursuing a Master’s of Science in Audio Engineering Technology at Belmont University, and the project creator behind False Panic, which has attained releases on Uplink Audio, Sony/Columbia Records, and more.

Follow @falsepanic on all social media for updates.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.