Tuesday, August 11, 2009

FootColumn: The Atlantic Signing and what it could mean for lowercase people and Switchfoot

Atlantic Records -- the home to many a major rock star today. Many of music's major acts, like Jason Mraz, Carolina Liar, Ryan Cabrera, and Shinedown make their home with Atlantic Records. Also interesting to note is the fact that the "Christian" rock act, Skillet, is also signed on to Atlantic in a deal similar to the one Switchfoot just announced yesterday.

One thing that is important to note right off the bat is that Switchfoot is STILL independent. Sure, they have signed on with Atlantic (which is a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Records), but if the deal is done accordingly, lowercase people records/Switchfoot still own the rights to their own material. The only difference here is that the band has a MAJOR partner on their team, who will now be in charge of working the record and singles to the huge radio and retail outlets that would have otherwise been inaccessible if they had gone truly independent.

This is one thing that I love about how the Switchfoot boys are handling this whole situation. They retain that artistic freedom that an independent band should have. They are also most likely retaining the rights to the songs they write and record. However, they aren't just going to sit back and fall into musical oblivion, releasing songs that will only be sold to the faithful on their website or at their shows. No, they want these songs that they've poured their heart and soul into to be heard all across the globe, while being "respectful to the people that listen to our music." THAT'S our band, right there; they know that what they have in this record is special, and they want anyone and everyone to hear it and share in the experience, as the "musical co-conspirators." We already saw it when Switchfoot wrote "This Is Home" for Disney that they aren't afraid of being major players in the music industry again. They have managed to regain and retain their musical and artistic independence, all while finding the right deal that will present their music (on the business side of things) in a way that THEY, not some record executive, feel has the most integrity.

So, I thought a good step for those who care and are interested in this kind of thing (I know I am), would be to do a quick overview of what Atlantic Records is and what it represents.

An overview of Atlantic Records

Atlantic Records is a label subsidiary of Warner Music Group, which hosts such acts as Mute Math, Linkin Park, Green Day, Taking Back Sunday, Timbaland, Paramore, and The All-American Rejects.

Atlantic distributed by Atlantic Records Group in the U.S. and WEA internationally. It's acts are seeing big-time international success, so it is insured that Atlantic can distribute records globally pretty well. What more can be said? Switchfoot have signed on to one of the elite record labels in the industry, and one that is respected for giving their artists proper representation.

What about Youtube? (since Atlantic is an Warner-owned company)

Funny what the space of seven months will do, but remember back in January when we discussed Warner Music Group's spat with Youtube?? For a refresher, go here.

The basic gist of the story was that Warner had pulled all its videos off of Youtube because Youtube was refusing to pay their asking price in ads and pay-per-clicks. It felt like a sticky mess.

Yet, here we are, seven months later, and Switchfoot has signed up with a Warner-owned record company. Switchfoot, as we know, is on the brink of conducting a robust Youtube campaign surrounding "Hello Hurricane," thanks to Corey Vidal. I do hope that signing with Atlantic/Warner Music Group doesn't derail those plans one bit. It'll be quite a letdown, after all the progress that has been made.

However, I did notice that Warner Music Group did permit the uploading of one of their own artist's official music videos, the Transformers-inspired "New Divide" by Linkin Park (featured below... bonus coverage. haha)

It has since racked up 10 million plus views. Perhaps, Switchfoot and Atlantic worked out a deal where Switchfoot still owns the right to upload their own videos? In fact, I'm pretty sure that's what they did. A truly independent band like Switchfoot or Radiohead is smart enough to make sure they own their own songs and video content; the only difference is that they license their songs to the major labels to distribute, but the labels don't earn the rights to the actual songs themselves. Greatly handled and executed by Switchfoot right there!

What about ATO Records?

ATO Records... long thought to be the distributing partner for lowercase people records is no longer in the equation. It is a bit sad to see them go, but there's no doubt that Atlantic packs a MUCH bigger punch than ATO does. ATO Records does well for the bands like Fiction Family that aren't looking to dominate the worldwide markets, but are rather trying to hit home with the true music listeners who still go out to the record shop to buy a CD.

Switchfoot's messages and music just cry out for a wider audience; the universal themes of hope, love, and tragedy all melded together into an amalgam of sonic goodness should be given to the entire world to hear, if they are willing. This is probably (not positively), the reasoning that went into Switchfoot's decision to sign with Atlantic over ATO Records.

So THAT'S what Jon Foreman meant when he was working with Rob C.?

And one last little tidbit I'd like to talk about (sorry this ran a bit long): remember when Jon Foreman tweeted this on August 5?:

Just got finished working with rob c. rocking up the prechorus of mess o me. Heading to the wiltern with tim now...

^Well, we were all inclined to believe that he was working with producer Rob Cavallo, and now it all makes sense! (begin speculation) Rob Cavallo is a producer for many of Warner Music Group artists' finest works: Green Day's "Dookie" and "American Idiot"; Goo Goo Dolls' "Dizzy Up the Girl"; Paramore's upcoming "brand new eyes"; and Shinedown's "The Sound of Madness." Since Switchfoot just recently signed their deal with Atlantic/Warner Music Group, Jon and Rob were working on a radio edit of "Mess of Me," so they were beefing up the pre-chorus of the song before shipping it off to Atlantic to begin packaging and prepping the singles for consumption at radio! Ah! Epiphanies! (end speculation)

Exciting, exciting times a head, ladies and gents! Hope you're as stoked and amped as I am.

The End. Thanks for reading.


Jeanna said...

Thanks for posting! I think this will help people understand what's going on... I'll link you up on LOBH

Job said...

thanks Jeanna! :)

Doug said...

Job that was for sure the best blog of your site this date, thanks for enlighting us on this seemingly huge story. I'm more than happy to here that Switchfoot has a huge company to push them more worldwide but also glad to here that Switchfoot owns all the rights of their music. Its every bands dream to do what they have accomplished.When I saw that twitter post before I went to L.A. to see the show I was wondering on the way down ?huh .Im looking foward to this awesome year of Hello Hurricane's success and of'course more Switchfoot concerts.


Job said...

Doug, man that means a lot. Thanks for the kind words.

I do hope that Atlantic will take a seriously invested interest in Switchfoot. It would be a dream to see Switchfoot back to the days when just about everyone knew them. But at this point, they've already achieved a comfort level that even now, continues to push them to perform beyond what they've already accomplished.

HELLO Hurricane. Please hurry. :)

Doug said...

Job Its always good to have a Switchfoot buddy like you around.
Hope to see you at one of the shows. 2010 should be a huge with Switchfoot headlining again the tours. :)

Job said...

Yeah man. we'll see what happens. Bring on the Hello Hurricane world tour?? :D

Bleah Briann said...

I love this blog, thanks for having it!
This may sound weird, but can you follow me? lol
I just don't have many followers sooo...yup. :)

Bleah Briann said...
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