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LABEL BOSS LAURENCE BELL HAS NO INTEREST IN SELLING TO MAJOR LABEL
Domino: indie ’til we die
LABELS n BY TIM INGHAM
Domino Records won’t be going the way of Island, Sanctuary or V2 anytime soon: the boss of the Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand and Wild Beasts house has told Music Week that his label is proudly “not for sale” to a major label.
Autonomy: Certain artists are attracted to Domino specifically for that measure of independence
Laurence Bell, who will receive the Pioneer Award at the inaugural AIM Independent Music Awards on November 9, said that the financial “rough and tumble” that comes with staying independent was “all part of the fun”.
The label is currently flying high on the success of Arctic Monkeys’ wellreceived 2011 LP Suck It And See, while this week sees the release of its hotlytipped Real Estate album, Days.
‘Not for sale’: Domino boss Laurence Bell
“I think we’d lose a lot of our charm if we were swallowed up,” said
Bell. “If you look back at the great independent companies that have been acquired, it doesn’t look like a good option to me. We’re definitely happy [as we are]. This place isn’t for sale.”
Bell believes that Domino’s indie status – and spirit – is a key reason why bands like Arctic Monkeys choose the label over richer, more globally sprawling rivals. “We’re a company that stands for something, however intangible,” he said. “If an artist like Franz Ferdinand or Arctic Monkeys want a certain kind of career, a certain kind of autonomy, we’re a good fit for them.”
When asked if the fiscal security that acquisition would bring was tempting, Bell replied: “I like risk. I don’t care about security. We like flying by the seat of our pants, by the skin of our teeth. We’ve got four walls around us, we own our building. The rough and tumble is part of the fun of being in the record business. It’s exciting, and what being independent is all about.”
He added: “Not every artist wants to work with a multinational corporation, or somewhere that operates to the agendas that those companies do. All our artists need to know is that we can do a great job for them, and that we have the reach and clout they require.
“We’re not all about profit – that’s a pretty big difference [compared to the majors] – and we’re not all about three-monthly profits, either.
“Hopefully Domino Records is a home for great art. That’s what we’re trying to be.”
Sony and Warner sign to another Spotify rival
It’s not been the best few days for Spotify: first details of Google’s proposed streaming/download hybrid service leaked in the US, and now Music Week can reveal that two majors have signed worldwide deals with yet another rival platform.
And that’s not all: Boinc, partowned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, is also understood to be in advanced talks with EMI and Universal for global licensing deals – as well as PRS for Music over a UK agreement.
Sony and Warner have signed over access to their catalogues’ recording rights to the New York-based company, formerly known as Beyond Oblivion. PRS, Universal or EMI would not comment on their separate discussions.
Boinc carries no download charges, monthly subscription fees or ads. It will be built into a range of
PCs, smartphones and other music listening devices and will also be available as a paid-for application on iPhone and Android smartphones.
“We hope that we will be able to announce global deals with EMI and Universal within the next two to three weeks,” said Boinc founder Adam Kidron, who added the company was also in advanced talks with a number of independent labels.
The service will pay 70% of its annual revenues to rights holders, as well as a royalty fee each time their music is played. Kidron claimed it would even pay royalties for illegally downloaded tracks, ripped to Boinc, if the service could identify the work.
News Corp invested $9.2m (£5.6m) for a 23% stake in Boinc in April 2010 and a further $2m in March, as part of a $77m funding round led by the charity foundation, the Wellcome Trust.
BBC OPENS DOOR TO TALENT DATABASE
THE BBC IS OPENING up its Introducing Uploader system to labels, as it aims to significantly grow the initiative this year.
Initially the four major labels and a number of indies will have access to the Uploader, allowing them to check out music from the 58,000-plus acts that have submitted their music to BBC Introducing to date.
In the initial stages, A&R teams at the four majors as well as a number of indies will be able to access the entire Introducing system, including specific genres of music, recently broadcast tracks and songs being considered for the Introducing slot on the Radio 1 playlist.
“I have been consulting with the music industry every six months since the launch of BBC Introducing [in 2007],” said editor Jason Carter. “Apart from being a good potential platform for new artists, the industry would like their A&R teams to have access to the system.”
More than 66,000 tracks have been submitted since the Uploader was launched two years ago, with around 600 new signups a week.
Carter said opening up the Uploader tool to labels would be one of several initiatives over the next 12 to 18 months to grow Introducing. These will include a TV slot in the autumn, with an existing BBC music programme featuring one Introducing artist per show. Carter said he would also be exploring other ways to showcase Introducing on BBC TV and wanted to expand the scheme to cover more genres of music.