Deadmau5 Goes Independent As More Artists Decry Major Labels

Massive EDM producer Deadmau5 has made a giant move by ditching major label Universal  for the favour of independent artist publisher Kobalt.

Deadmau5, real name Joel Zimmerman, grew a dislike for Universal Music Group (UMG) due a lack of transparency in the system of major labels, losing control over content and being kept out of the loop. One move in particular caused a twitstorm from the 5-time Grammy Award nominated artist after his music was included on a “Now That’s What I Call EDM” compilation in 2014.

“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,” Deadmau5 says of some of the labels choices. “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?”

As one of the richest DJs in the world, with a reported net worth of $53 million, Deadmau5 has a big presence in the industry and therefore a wide influence.

Deadmau5 publicly spoke out, saying: “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.” With this in mind Deadmau5 opted for Kobalt as his new publishing company.

Kobalt Music Publishing

You may already know of Kobalt, as the largest independent music publisher in the world they feature artists such as Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Skrillex, Lionel Richie, Nick Cave etc. Kobalt promise an alternative to the music business model that has become staple over the past 100 years.

With Kobalt Deadmau5 will keep control over all of his content. The president of Kobalt, Richard Sanders, said: ” 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 monetised will be up to his direction and his control.”

The deals bargaining position was strengthened by the fact that the majority of Deadmau5’s income is generated from live shows and touring rather than record sales.

Kobalt was introduced to Deadmau5 by his manager Dean Wilson of Three Six Zero. This has brought about the potential for a partnership between Kobalt and Three Six Zero, with Wilson saying he “absolutely” sees himself bringing the agency’s other artists to the platform.

He added: “I feel a little bit of guilt that we haven’t. After looking at the back end and meeting everybody… my god, it’s like somebody’s awakened the sleeping side of my brain. It’s like, actually, there’s a different way to put records out.”

Deadmau5 spoke optimistically about his future, saying: “I’ve got $130 million in the bank and whiteboard full of cool ideas for emerging markets and technologies where we’re gonna test the waters and see what happens.”

This is one of many moves towards independence in the music industry with the often unfair treatment of artists coming to a head as the opportunities to go it alone become ever easier. As music production becomes easier and cheaper for independent artists, talks increase on fair treatment of artists and with free digital distribution available through distributors like RouteNote we look to be moving towards the first major reshuffle of power in the music industry since it became an industry.

Google Play Music Family Plan is Here for $14.99 – Same as Apple Music

Google announced a new family plan for Google Play Music. Six family members can now enjoy Google Play Music for $14.99 per month. This is exactly the same price point as Apple Music.

The library may not be as extensive as Rdio or Spotify, but with up to six members per monthly fee, it’s a much better deal if you’ve got more people to share with. Family sharing on Google Play Music will roll out later this year.

Sam Smith’s New James Bond Theme Released

Daniel Craig’s fourth stint as Bond ‘Spectre’ is only a month away from it’s release now and today Sam Smith released his much anticipated song to serve as the theme for the new James Bond film, ‘Writing’s On The Wall’. The song features a dramatic orchestral backing with Smith’s diverse vocals taking the forefront as he sings of giving up for love.

Smith said of the song: “This is one of the highlights of my career. I am honoured to finally announce that I will be singing the next Bond theme song. I am so excited to be a part of this iconic British legacy and join an incredible line up of some of my biggest musical inspirations. I hope you all enjoy the song as much as I enjoyed making it.”

So far the track has divided listeners with some saying it’s dull and moody tone doesn’t elicit the excitement expected from a Bond theme. Others have cited it as an epic and emotional song including comedian Omid Djalili who said: “If you’re not moved by this song you don’t have a pulse.” Adding that it left him “in a broken heap.”

You can listen to the track below and decide for yourself. Let us know in the comments what you think.


RouteNote Partner With LANDR Mastering Software

RouteNote News

We are excited to announce that RouteNote has partnered with LANDR, the online audio mastering tool that will now allow users to access professional audio mastering software for free when uploading a track(s) to RouteNote.

Users of RouteNote are now able to master as many tracks as they like while uploading using the upload tool. All tracks that you master through RouteNote will then be permanently stored in the new “Mastering History” section of your account. You will also be able to access the LANDR tool directly from the tools page.

LANDR is software that uses algorithms to master your tracks to a professional quality without any human interjection. LANDR has been (and is still being) refined over 8 years of university research with the team at LANDR featuring award-winning mixing engineers, top-level DSP programmers, musicians, producers, label owners and even a resident astrophysicist!

LANDR is already a uniquely intelligent and surprisingly high quality system but it is constantly learning and evolving using it’s adaptive engine to listen and react to music using micro-genre detection to make frame-by-frame adjustments using tools such as multi-band compression, EQ, stereo enhancement, limiting and aural excitation.

Sign into and upload a track or head to the tools page to access LANDR and hear your tracks professionally mastered.

SoundCloud’s Top 10 Played Artists This Year

So far 2015 has been an eventful year for the music streaming landscape with two major new services (Tidal and Apple Music), plenty of controversy and record-breaking numbers of streams. With all the news around major industry services it’s easy to forget the most popular service for independent artists; SoundCloud.

SoundCloud hasn’t stayed completely clear of the headlines but seems to still be on track having almost doubled the amount of track plays since last year. Being open to everyone makes SoundCloud one of the greatest online resources for music discovery and for independents artists/labels breaking through.

With all this in mind let’s take a look at the top ten artists on SoundCloud for the past year:

01 – Drake


02 – Major Lazer


03 – G-Eazy


04 – Future


05 – Kygo


06 – PartyNextDoor


07 – Chris Brown


08 – Kid Ink


09 – The Weeknd


10 – Chance The Rapper