The Blue Scholars are staying independent with a vengeance, in part, "through a unique partnership formed with Duck Down Records, and Seattle's Caffe Vita Coffee Co." for their upcoming releases OOF! and Bayani Redux:
"The sales and distribution model developed by the group for their upcoming releases will allow them to maintain complete ownership of their music and total control over how it is marketed, sold, and even given away."
"Instead of signing a standard artist/record label deal, Blue Scholars hired the label Duck Down to run point on marketing for all of their upcoming releases. As a major player in the current and ever-changing record label industry, Duck Down Records saw this deal as an opportunity to get creative and experiment with strategies for record labels to continue evolving as viable businesses…"
"Duck Down's current distribution partner, E1 Entertainment, the largest independent distributor in the United States, will handle distribution of Blue Scholars' physical product. Digital sales and distribution will go through Tunecore. Direct-to-fan marketing and sales will be developed by the members of Blue Scholars themselves, using Topspin web marketing tools…."
"To finance all the upcoming projects, Blue Scholars have formed a strategic brand relationship with Seattle independent coffee company, Caffe Vita. The coffee company will also play a role in the sales and distribution plan by selling upcoming albums in all of their retail outlets and marketing the releases via their online presence."
This is cool on multiple levels of experimentation for pretty much everyone involved. Besides being happy to see Blue Scholars maintain control of their future, it's great to see Duck Down offering services and Caffe Vita offering funding and distribution.
As I pointed out a while back, developments in the music industry such as 360 deals can open up opportunities for small firms to provide services directly or as outsourcers. This has become more obviously the case as indie artists look at the landscape and cut 360 deals with themselves!
On a more recent note, I'm a big advocate of finding alternate distribution routes both to increase sales and to create unique marketing opportunities.
I'm looking forward to seeing what happens.
Official Site: Blue Scholars