Deadmau5 Leaves Major Label, Signs New Agreement For Upcoming Album
Joel Zimmerman, better known by his fans as deadmau5, has made the final move to practice what he preaches. The EDM phenomenon has gone full indie status, signing a new label services agreement with Kobalt and ending his tattered relationship with Universal, one of the big fours.
While Zimmerman will maintain full ownership and control of his rights for his forthcoming 2016 album, Kobalt Label Services will handle the synch licensing, the domestic and international marketing and the digital and physical distribution.
Zimmerman also penned a worldwide publishing agreement with Kobalt as well as a deal with mau5trap. Kobalt will be supporting mau5trap releases by providing distribution, licensing and other label services.
"The label does what’s good for the label. Always It’s instilled in the industry that that’s the only way to do it. Well, not anymore," Zimmerman said in an exclusive interview with Billboard regarding his new record deal.
After leaving Ultra Records' North American system in 2013, he released his 2014 double-album while(1<2) through Capitol’s Astralwerks under Universal, which he already had a worldwide contract with. The lack of transparency is what Zimmerman noted as the main reason that he's been turned off from working with major labels.
"I am very strict on what products I want to associate myself with, and I felt that some things were just to make a buck. Then, we’d only get a little trickle, and I’d be like, ‘Wait, I look this stupid for only that much? Why am I looking stupid in the first place?’'" He told Billboard.
Zimmerman will regain full control of his back catalogue when licenses expire from Ultra in 2027 and Universal in 2029.
President of Three Six Zero Group and deadmau5's manager, Dean Wilson, introduced Zimmerman to Kobalt. While the new deal does not come with a pretty artist advance, his attorney Dina LaPolt and the president of Kobalt Richard Sanders are confident that independent label's cross-platform flexibility will better align with the tech-savvy EDM pioneer's goals for his new music and for his mau5trap imprint. As LaPolt points out i
"Majors don’t understand technology. They think they do but they don’t. They have so many corporate policies, and they’re up their own asses, that they lose opportunities 24/7." - Dina LaPolt
"The deal was focused mainly around flexibility and affording him the opportunity to release his music in any way shape or form he'd like. How it’s monetized will be up to his direction and his control." - Richard Sanders
Fans can catch the infamous mau5 helmet at Austin City Limits, Treasure Island Music Festival (San Francisco, CA) and HARD Day of the Dead (Southern California) before he finishes off the year with a New Year's Eve show in Chicago, IL.
Check out his latest dabbling session with MakeNoise Shared System...