As more artists look beyond traditional labels to get their music into the hands of fans, new players are emerging in the ‘music services’ space to help them. One of those, Kobalt, is making waves today with its deal with Prince.
Yes, that Prince. He’s announced plans to partner with Kobalt Music Group to release his own material, as well as that of new artists, using Kobalt’s label services for marketing and distribution.
Prince, meanwhile, will be handling the artist development and recording for the new artists signed through the deal.
Prince is the most high-profile artist yet to throw in his lot with Kobalt’s Label Services division. Earlier this year, it ran a widely-acclaimed distribution campaign for Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds’ ‘Push The Sky Away’, before signing up the Pet Shop Boys’ next album.
“This new venture gives Prince the flexibility and freedom he’s always sought in a label partner,” says Kobalt president Richard Sanders in a statement.
“We’re providing a high level of diverse services that will be particularly customized to his vision for each release, allowing the world to experience more music from Prince and his creative community.”
Kobalt launched its Artist and Label Services division in January 2012 after acquiring digital distributor AWAL, saying at the time that it was a response to “a major shift in where we see the market is heading”.
Prince should make for an interesting client: he’s been one of the pioneers in finding new ways to distribute his music to fans, yet has also been embroiled in a number of controversies around digital services – most recently involving takedown notices sent to Twitter for clips of his SXSW gig posted using its Vine app.