It's a brave new world and you don't need to look far for proof. The record biz is changing faster than an infant's diaper and smart artists are seizing the opportunity. From Radiohead's "pay what you want" In Rainbows release to Umphrey's McGee's Mantis pre-order campaign, the old rules no longer apply as bands experiment with new models.
The latest act to break free of the traditional record label strangle hold is U.K. super-duo Groove Armada. Following more than a decade atop the dance world, Andy Cato and Tom Findlay continue to blaze a new path, but instead of doing it with house beats and euphoric parties, now they're also doing it with rum. Following the fulfillment of their deal with Sony, GA ditched the major labels and inked a one-year deal with Bacardi. As part of the deal, which also includes live touring and DJing, Groove Armada has released a four-song EP through the brand new, innovative BACARDI B-LIVE distribution platform. It's a simple program that allows you to get the album for free, as long as you share it with enough friends. All you have to do is click on this link and, once you've created a profile, the first track will start downloading automatically. Next, start sharing it with your friends through www.bliveshare.com, the more you share the more tracks you unlock. Fans have a few more weeks to spread the tracks before all four songs go on sale through digital stores.
As Groove Armada celebrates their partnership with Bacardi, we caught up with Andy Cato to talk about the Bacardi deal, the two records coming this year, touring the world, getting older and a whole lot more.
JamBase: With the record industry changing so quickly we've seen a lot of innovative promotional and distribution deals. Can you explain how the relationship with Bacardi came about and what you as an artist are hoping to get out of this relationship?
Andy Cato: We decided to leave our major label at the beginning of last year. We'd been with majors for ten years and it was time to move on. But, we had a live show we wanted to keep on the road, and knew that over the next 12 months we'd want to get some new music out there. Bacardi was looking for a band that could rock it live, that appealed in different countries, who were up for putting out some new material and working together on an interesting way to do that. The two went hand in hand, and both parties got what they wanted.
|Andy Cato - Groove Armada|
JamBase: What pros and cons have you experienced in your relationship with Bacardi versus Sony?
Andy Cato: Well, the Bacardi deal was defined on our own terms, the deal with Sony wasn't. It was a continuation of the contract we'd signed with Jive (bought by BMG, who were then bought by Sony). Of course, if you stick to the traditional label route, you don't get the "sell out" accusation. But, if you think about it, this doesn't make a lot of sense. Artists have always needed help from big business to get their music out there and to get on the road. There's nothing more or less corporate about a Bacardi or a Sony dollar.
How have the Bacardi live shows been so far? Has this relationship changed your touring or shows?
We've had some great ones. Mexico was memorable, being in a blow up arena (a first for us) and alongside some true local talent. Athens was another first - the DJ set was hooked up to lasers and visuals. I think every show you do feeds into how you do the next one. Or at least it should if you want to get better.
Can you explain what the Bacardi B-Live Share platform is all about?
We live in a world of free music. Aside from the problem of musicians getting paid, that runs the risk of making music disposable. We wanted to do something that didn't fight against the idea of music being free - there's no point - but tried to put a little love back into the downloading process.
Is the official EP title The Four?
It has no title. The official tune titles are "Go!," "Drop The Tough," "Pull Up (Crank It Up)" and "El Padrino." It's a four track EP, simple.
Continue reading for more on Groove Armada...