About my retirement from music business

As I am writing this on Friday morning sipping my coffee, many thoughts and feelings enter my mind.
Ever since I published the blog about retiring from music business, many people have contacted me and asked me not to do so. That is why I decided to clarify some things and write some more about it.

First of all, if someone got the picture that I am blaming the fans about the current situation in music business, I am really sorry. That is not at all how I think. I cherish and thank each and everyone that have given me and my music the amazing support in good and bad times.

Secondly there have been some criticism about my decision, even some people have called me a coward.
I know it is hard to understand what is really going on in the business at the moment. I mean globally in the whole world. Not just in your city.
The signs have been there already about 10 years and of course this was expected. People don’t buy records anymore.
Before you rush to say: “but I do”, let me tell you that I have a better vantage point to the whole music business globally to say this. There are reasons for me to act the way I do. This is not even about the quality of music in the vein of if I make bad records and people don’t want to buy them. It really is true that the records sales are down and are going down and more and more changes will happen and they will not be for the better. The remaining record companies are extremely careful what kind of bands and music they will sign and if they sign, they will control the music and the style very aggressively.This will result to a controlled and boring system musically and ultimately could even kill the music as a physical or digital format. In the times of Bach and Beethoven there were no records. The music was only heard live. But also live music suffers from declining sales because people dont have the money to see all those 30 bands in a month that come to the city.

All this made me to think really hard about my future and the next 10-15 years. Having worked extensively in the last 20 years I simply think it is time to evaluate what it is that I have left to say. I always said that I will play as long as people want to listen. But one thing has dawned me in the last few months: it doesn’t matter to me if people want to listen to my music anymore. This means the ultimate freedom musically.

Another thing is that although I have written about retirement from music business. But I have’t written about retiring from music. I believe music is a gift. And this gift must be used. But sometimes it is not easy. I believe that my 22 years in
Stratovarius and 5 CD’s I have released after that, the music seminars I have held all over the world, the productions and all that goes with it are a lot. How much can you give after you have given it all?

Anyway, I haven’t given up music. I look at the scene and understand that I have nothing to do with what used to be so important to me for example when I was 30 years old. I believe in evolution in music and musical career. Evolution as a whole. Not picking a random record and say: “that sucks”. The whole body of work. I think that every record I ever made, has its place in the discography of my life. As I grow older, soon being 46, I can envision my music evolving towards goals and themes that are closer to my soul than the music I wrote when I was 32. I don’t believe in singing about Legions of the Twilight when I am 50, but that’s just me. I think I have a lot of music developing in me but what kind of music it is, not even I know. The future will tell but I think you will hear from me still one day. My intuition is telling me this.

All the best, Timo

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45 responses to “About my retirement from music business

  1. Well, the thing about record companies is, they are not needed anymore. There’s inetrnet that allows arists to access fans directly. Being unsigned is getting more and more popular. But of course, I respect your choices whatever they are.

      • I guess that’s kind of true, unsigned artists I know of are also either YouTube partners or make video game music and so on. So I would say while it’s definitely possible to live of just that, it must be very hard. I’m just saying, if you decide to write music again, give BandCamp (or even iTunes, even though I hate them) a shot. Better than making no money at all.

  2. Timo, you do what’s need to be done. We are just creeping humans faking like fans, some of us really don’t accept your decision, but I think all fans must undestand their ídols and embrace their chooses. Then, good luck for your in your next plans.

  3. mr timo, you was a very important influence for me in your strato time, i also like simfonia, and i play the guitar and have a band too. its true the market has change a lot, no more CD, only share the music in internet and expect to be pay for a concert, more tough.
    you have my support, but if you’re out of music business, but not of music, i really appreciate if you put online your newest creations.

    the best of my energy for you in this new era

    Matias
    south america, chile

  4. This past weekend a friend and I put Destiny album and we had a blast, your music is beauty, powerfull, amazing, it really touch us deeply, We were pleased by listening SOS, Destiny and others …

    Please, don’t let the beauty of your music dies …

  5. I respect your decision Timo, and totally understand the motives (I’m a musician and a sound engineer) and I have see how the music industry has changed, when I started to record bands, many of them want to record their albums, and invest a lot of money on equipment and stuff… but now almost no bands wants to record albums in a “professional studio” (because they cant sell the copies) they prefer to record in their own home studios and share the music free on the internet or sell it through bandcamp or itunes. even with my own musical project I have done the same… all recorded in my home studio and trying no to spend much money… because probably I would not make much of it… but like you’ve said … music it’s a gift and must be used! whatever you’ll do Timo your true fans will support you! (sorry the bad english jejee)

  6. A couple of months ago Pearl Jam played here. The ticket had the Ticketmaster logo printed in it. I smiled and said to myself “you tried guys”. Earning your life is not only about paying your bills or do what you want in a garage. It’s a lot more than that. Timo will find his own way to do what he wants, as always. I’m sure of it. Enjoy his pictures and his words now. Preciate them. Time and life will tell what’s next. Thank you.

  7. As a long time fan of your music and as a musician myself I support you, I can perfectly understand the hard work as a musician touring and taking lots of financial risk just to do what you love, you can do it as a young man with nothing to lose but not all your life.

    I hope that your life change goes for better and a big thank you for all this 20 years of great music.

  8. not only in stratovarius but in revolution reanissance you have given us so much beautiful music, thanks for your music, and wish you the best in your future as a musican or any other thing you want to be lm/

  9. Well In my opinion You are right in some points, like people is not buying records any more, but that hasn’t got a meaning that we are tired of your music. I think it is because the accessibility we are having now thanks to the INTERNET, But probably there are other ways to be in contact with music like in forums, festivals, etc. If economically you are considering the option of stopping, it is alright, I mean you have to take care of your pocket!!! But I think we fans must respect your decision, it is all up to you, but do not go away to much time in order to give you the place you deserve, and yes we fan will always be happy to listen to your music, Tolkki in the Strato era has been, and always be the best. I started singing thanks to Stratovarius, Hold on to your dreams, what a song!!!

    Saludos from Ecuador…. Keep rocking!!!

  10. Timo Tolkki: “Key to the universe is LOVE”, I do agree and believe in you! as long as you still have got a big Love to music, you will carry on in this universe with your masterpieces in music! all the best wishes! Andi from South Australia!

  11. Hi, Timo.

    I totally understand. I wish you the best in your life.

    As Matias Mixolidio said, if you create new music, please share it with us.

    Rafael.
    Caracas, Venezuela

  12. Hi, Timo
    I play guitar and am a big fan of you.
    I had a dream, today. You showed up in my dream.

    You smiled at me and I became happy.
    Not only your music but also your existence itself make us happy.

    I understand your decision. But when you have a chance to compose new songs, no matter if it is just for your private.

    Please kindly share with us on youtube,facebook or wherever possible.
    I really miss you.

    Regards.
    Koichiro Kume from Japan

  13. Timo.

    Even though I have never met you, I owned your Symfonia Cd, 3 Revolution Renaissance Cds. I beleive that music is a pleasure and I admire anyone that can write and perform. Downloading is wrong and it saddens me the state of music right now. I remember the days in the bars back in the 70’s when bands like Helix would play and people would bang there beer bottles on the tables for and encore. That was rock and roll. No matter what you decide to do with the rest of your life, I just want to say thank you for the great music that you have provided me with.

  14. I always analized yor music as a brilliant demostration of what melody is all about, I would love to hear some orchestral work, becouse I loved Saana melodies, but I envisioned that piece of work with full orchestra, that will be the masterpiece of melodies!!

  15. I’ll never stop buying cds, dvds and blu-rays from my favorite bands. I will sing Stratovarius songs even when I reach 50 years old, or even older. Heavy Metal (and music in general) is my passion and I’ll never abandon it.
    I will miss your great work Timo.

  16. I absolutely can get what you mean. I have seen many of my favourite bands dying because they just don`t have resources enough to record again, and even if they do, they know it will not be sold, so they don’t wanna try. That’s a sad situation, it’s hard to put a reason in everything and so it is to realize what to do next. anyway, all we can do is support good music anywhere and wait for a good change in music business – as patiently as we are awaiting for changes in human conscience about what they really know or do.

    I am a fan of your music since ’98 or something. I know you have heard a lot about how it changed the life of a lot of people around the world, and I hope you know what it means, because it did to my life too. Nowadays I’m also older, and I can look back and see what music can do with a personality. So when people say “don’t give up”, they do it from the deep of their hearts.

    I know it’s easier to say beautiful things from our side to your side, which is cloudy and dark about the present and future, but that’s all we can do. So, timo, DON’T GIVE UP!

  17. why dont you take a job like studio guitar player or something else? you can still live with the music, teaching or only performing (not composing). I am studing Classical Guitar in Mexico, where the oportunity for the musicians is worse than in your country, and everywhere are job for us. You are a great player, and it will be easy for you if you want it…

  18. hello my friend,

    surelly times are changing and you better then anyone else knows this. I just hope that we all do not loose a brilliant musician and composer because of this…

    a friend you know you will always have here or whereever the industrie takes us ….

    cheers, all the best,

  19. Hello Friend

    Hopefully I do know that I’ve read this is a relief for me.

    Well I understand your decision because although I’m not a musician as I can tell you, times are changing much at all, not only in music, and if before it was an achievement to live music as you, now is a miracle or something amazing, technology and the Internet allows anyone taking and to record an album a tool even if not in quality, or is not a professional musician, and uploaded to the Internet videos and more videos of it, and so it is downloaded that music with as many pages there from YouTube or other websites which is obvious that no one buys records and, within 5 years or less desapaecera disk, other types of sales will come from music or buy one disc with the generations to come, some still have the fasinacion of buying records and collect them all, but the new generations will come to new adaptations.

    And what is and has been the record companies only want to sell music using music at will, taking a song and some cast-sticky, and that it is popular music, facing the other side of rock or metal music is less, if from the early years the rock has never sold as other music has become less and less.

    I am sad to learn and write this as I am a man of 19 who want to start as a musician and being your one big inspiration for me in msical and even in my life which agradesco you very much, and now maybe I’m confused do not let the music but I will not have as big as your inspirations and other musicians before, and if so is the next generation of musicians will be so much less opportunity will have therefore to be living the music because I do not improve with age , and assume instead that will make others be inspired to make a band to be musicians etc., lose that and more.

    Timo and I understand I understand your reasons, you left I did not like the music but I understand why you are not any, you are just someone who is taking a personal decision, period.

    I still hear your music and maybe someday if the state of music improves or you decide to record something new creme be and we will be happy!

    Thanks for your time if you’ve read.

    From Mexico!

  20. Timo Tolkki .. his music inspired me and I am sure many more will never stop making music so wonderful I wish him well and support his decision thanks for everything!

  21. Dear Timo,

    I honestly have to say that after the whole Stratovarius-thing blew up like a bomb, I didn’t give a penny for the band, nor its past and future members. Then I found out about your book Loneliness of a Thousand Years and ordered it (and read it, of course). That made clear a lot about your personality, your vision on life and things like that. I can honestly say that after reading the book, I understand a lot more about any decision you have made in the past.
    I’ve been through a lot of hard times myself, my father being seriously ill for the past 7 years now (he’s 61) and last week he underwent a surgery to have a tumor removed from the salivary gland.
    I’ve written a lot of poetry in the past, and nowadays I am working on my second novel. As a matter of fact: I don’t give a damn who reads my work and who doesn’t. If you like it, thanks for the compliment. If you don’t like it, too bad but don’t bother me with it.

    I can see how your retirement is in a way a scream for freedom, from your childhood on, a way to be the man you want to be and not the one everybody else wants you to be. For just stepping back from everything and starting to live the life you want to lead, I think that’s something to be very proud of.
    Please know that I will keep on listening to your music (especially Hymn to Life, these days) and that I respect your decision to take a step back and I hope one day you will find yourself again.

    I wish you all the best for the year 2012.

    Greetings from Holland

    David

  22. Dear Timo Tolkki

    I totally respect Your choice. It was bravely done, I think, to explain us motives of Your decision. Clarification was required as we didin’t know if we could expect more from You. Thank You for all this years of creating masterpieces, that enlighted my life.
    I wish You will be happy on the new path of Your life and remember sometimes, that there are many of us, who still inserts a CD and says: “Be quiet. Timo Tolki is playing.”

    Greetings from Poland
    Jakub

  23. everyone says “In Paradisum Symfonia sounds like as Stratovarius .” I say, of course!! Timo Tolkki’s Stratovarius
    STRATOVARIUS = TOLKKI
    TOLKKI = STRATOVARIUS
    Thanks tolkki for your music….
    TOLKKI FOREVER!!

  24. Hello timo: I think Symfonia, In Paradisum is the successor of the disc elements, is great, my team of music exploded. I listen and I listen Symfonia and think is STRATOVARIUS. Instead I hear “Stratovarius” (Kotipelto) and change the soul, is rubbish! Timo Tolkki continues with your MUSIC PLEASE! YOU ARE A GENIUS!
    –GREETINGS FROM URUGUAY—
    \m/ (º.º) \m/

  25. Timo , congrulations for everything !!!!!!! You made the right decision , But ,don´t forget , if you return someday , I will be happy in enjoying your new works,not only me , but everyone will!!!!!!
    Greetings from Brazil!!!!!

  26. Hey Timo,

    you have achieved much more in your musical career than i have.
    However: I agree with your every single word, be it music industry, age, evolution.

    Owning and knowing no more than 2 Stratovarious-Albums, Episode and Visions, I’ve read your post by pure accident (“Fan” would be the wrong term for me, “musical admirer” is more suitable). Your post is truly touching me and i wish you all the best for your creative future. Being strong believers in the concept of evolution, I think we agree that the personal best is yet to come.

    Cheers!
    A metal singer from Germany

  27. Dear Timo:That I can say to a decision so personal and so sincere? absolutely nothing. Just thanks for a lot good music in all these years.You have been and will be a great inspiration for me.
    a big hug!

    Hernan from Buenos Aires

  28. Hi Timo, or I must say mister Timo Tolkki, sorry but I don’t know how to direction my words to you, Timo is ok? (I can`t belive you will read this.. you will right? hahaha) my name is Martin (31 years old), I’m from Tandil, Argentina, so be pacient with my english.
    I heard music since I had 8 years old. Metal music strikes me at that age, It was the kind of music that have the elements I considered real. I started to learn english to understand what those words mean because obviously all the metal music was in foreign tongues.times passed I grew up into a dirty teenager. Then, a friend introduces me to a new band, (“Strato” we called that band), it blows my fucking head, the sweetness of the melodies, the metric of the songs, the deep of the words. The message was sublime. It was for me a second reborn. This is the music I love, and what I been looking for all my life. The things you said, the notes you play, they were the perfect shape in words and music to feelings within. Helps me a lot to endurance existence. I was not longer alone, they were people that see and feels things in the same way I do. That enjoy the beauty of nature, apreciate the masive value of innocence, see things in the real simple way, with no veils, no lies. Warrios of the light against the dark forces. Humans that took his place with courage in the fights for a better place. Humans with the same problems like me taking an stance and bringing hope and strenght to the world. thanks to this I started once again in my efforts to understand this place we all live, I put hands everywhere it was knowledge, energy and soul. For this I have no words to describe my gratitude, Thank you with all my heart.
    In that time I started to heard some similar bands, (your followers..) but I don’t find much, some songs here and some albums there, even the fact that exist thousands of them. One more time, the time do his thing And in some moment a few years ago I realized that all the music around the world sound empty, like lifeless. This is my personal opinion of course, but the feeling was mising, something was not right. What the fuck happend !!! I was angry and disapointed, sad. I cannot fix that, no one could I though..
    My fauvorite bands (Strato, sonata, edguy, nightwish..) started to falling apart. Some bite the dust and some are still crumble and rumble, but still something was not there anymore…
    The joy of music started to fade, I found nothing that pleasess me, my life sucks and in addition to this the dude that awake my passion for music was gonne, where the fuck is He !!!!!!!!!!! (I thought…)
    Last year that big guy returns !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    With an incredibly beatifull set of songs and new crew of steel giants, fresh melodies, fresh message, I cannot belive my ears belive me. It was a powerfull inyection of massive energy to the core of the self, brand new wings, brand new eyes, leaving behind for a brief time those damn filthy and heavy chains that ties me to modernity, society, psycology, economy, technologhy and all the other stupid stuff that put a Stop sign to those being forms that don’t want to live in a “normal state of conformity”.
    I saw the interview when you say that you understand your role in this world. I get that like a brave statement. You bring hope and joy to many ppl that you will never meet, we cannot pay that but our way to response your efforts is fight every day for a better world and to be better humans beings, to walk into the path of nature, protecting innocence and goodness and smashing evil. And of course go to next gig !!! hahaha. this is your legacy, it’s not a tiny thing, it’s huge dude !!!!!!!!! (smiles !!!)
    Well, I wrote too much I think… But I had to say that things, it’s a strange conection between latin america and scandinavia, we understand you perfectly and I might think that you too.
    Anyway, Thanks for all Timo, send you a big hug from the rocky hills of the great pampa.

    Cheers.

    Martin Olivera

    Pd: Come by the hills.

  29. I am very sad of this news but, also happy that you will be enjoying life. Take care and hopefully we get to hear from you in the future :). Oh, and to those people who are telling you bad things, fuck em’!

  30. Hi Mr. Timmo Tolkki. My name is Juan S. and I’m a pshychologist and a guitar player. I love both of my occupations as you may love to do music. Being really sincere i’d love to keep listening to your music because it makes me feel amazing. I like to thank you because of all of that amazing and unforgetable moments I’ve ever experienced listening to stratovarius, revolution and symfonia. I hope that music bussiness can change to a diferent way that helps you to create and sale your excelent compositions. Hugs from Mexico, STAY METAL!!!!

  31. Terve Timo, long time didnt know about you!
    The best thing about getting older is that you are each day more and more sincere with yourself, more introspective and people has less and less influence on you. Remember those winding days of Hymn to Life? That was a big step. You break your chains to a unic music style to make whatever your artist heart need to play. I had the hope that was the begin of a new and fructuous long musical cicle for you. But that times were no goods in any sense and the circunstances along time did not helped you at all. Despite of that, you created some interesting pieces of music.

    One way or another, many people is going to be annoyed no matter what you do. So, ignore it. If you have something to bring to mankind in shape of music, photography, words or ginger cookies, bring it. There always be someone who will be grateful to get it 🙂

    Blue
    Getting older, getting better.
    PS: see you verrry well in that pic.

  32. Pingback: Timo Tolkki: novos esclarecimentos sobre “aposentadoria” « Love is the key to believe…….

  33. If anyone asked me about my favorite artist, the first names to come to my mind would be Rage, Jorn Lande, Ronnie Dio, perhaps Amorphis as well. It would not be Timo Tolkki, not even Stratovarius. But thinking about my “purchase” history … I have bought Hymn to life, I bought all the 3 RR albums, I bought In Paradisum, and also I bought some Stratovarius albums; I have not bought as many albums from my “favourites” as from you Mr. Timo. There is something strong in your creativity. Congratulations to not letting anyone influence your music. Just send me a link when there’s something next to buy (directly from you, without record companies). All the best!

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