Brian Message, the co-manager of a little UK band called Radiohead, is the man who once advised the group to break up, and masterminded their still-controversial “pay what you want” model for the release of 2007’s In Rainbows. Now, he’s started a new record label.
Message and his company, ATC, have teamed up with UK live venue/artist management company Mama Group, and the Vancouver-based Nettwerk Music Group to launch the new label Polyphonic.
According to The Telegraph, the new company’s goal is to “partner artists and their managers to provide them with capital to operate their businesses without going to a traditional music label.” With first year operation costs of $20 million, the label is dead serious about helping out artists, both new and well-established. Polyphonic will focus on innovative distribution vehicles, with an emphasis on digital releases, and allowing artists to retain copyright of their music.
Mama co-chief exec Adam Driscoll insists, “We will do whatever is most effective to get an artist noticed. Giving an album away for free may get one million people listening to a new artist.” Driscoll explained that newer artists would make 50/50 profits of recording deals, whereas already established acts would receive an even larger percentage.
As of now, no artists have publicly signed to Polyphonic, but with the aforementioned incentives, they’ll probably fling themselves in the direction of the Polyphonic office as soon as they hear tell. Radiohead and its management may have just dawned a new age of music distribution. I guess we shouldn’t be all that surprised; innovation has always been their specialty.