In an age of 360-degree deals that wrap publishing and merchandising into major labels deals, Band Of Skulls recently discussed their rather unusual semi-independent financing strategy.
With third album ‘Himalayan’ set for release at the end of March the band’s been going from strength to strength with much critical acclaim.
The album is licensed to Ignition in the UK directly from the band, who’ve managed to retain ownership over the recordings and master copyrights.
It’s an independently spirited move that will mean the album is issued by Kobalt Label Services in North America and PIAS/Co-Op for the rest of the world.
Himalayan has been funded through an investment from ATC Management, Phi Group and Shangri-La, which split the profits 50/50 between the group and their backers.
The band’s manager Mick Paterson said: The budget for Himalayan was fairly substantial… in terms of level of investment I would say it was probably more than we would have got in most situations and the band got an advance as well.”
Using this financing model has also allowed the band complete creative control over the end product and a vast budget to record the album.
“If Kobalt can take something and break it through the label services side then it will validate their system,” Paterson explained, “they’ve done great with Nick Cave and the Pet Shop Boys but they’re both established acts.”
“If the label services thing has really got legs, if it’s really going to work long-term, then they’ve got to work with bands like this and take it from 50,000 to 200,000 sales. Then they can say: ‘We’re doing a proper job.’”
This new kind of semi-independent deal could be one of many if the investment pays off with many artists frustrated at the level of publishing rights, merchandising and percentages of single sales that labels ask for in an almost entirely digital music market.
Band Of Skulls has previously used this deal format on their last album Vagrant, but opted not to continue a similar relationship that they had with Sweet Sour.
“When we were putting Sweet Sour out through Vagrant we weren’t really pleased; we felt it was under-resourced,” Paterson continued.
“This time the partners [used] some of the money out of their side of the partnership to spend on marketing and tour support. They’ve always tour supported everything when it’s been needed, which you don’t get out of many labels these days. It’s enabled the band to build up a really good touring profile.”
“The end result is that the band makes money touring now so the partners make money. They invested because they could see there was a pay-off.”