The DIY method might be the record-releasing choice of local bands around the country -- after all, the Internet opens all kinds of possibilities for self promotion, recording, and pressing -- but increasingly, Phoenix artists seem to be signing to small labels. And it seems the Valley's Mike Zimmerlich is snagging a few of the most acclaimed up for himself.
Zimmerlich and his label 80/20 Records announced yesterday that they signed the Valley's PALMS, Captain Squeegee and Future Loves Past, all of which will be heading to the studio to record in the next year.
This is the "biggest expansion in the label's history," considering the 80/20 roster previously only held the name of two other bands,Dry River Yacht Club
and 42 Eternal, the now defunct indie rockers who have 80/20 represent their recorded catalog. Still, 80/20 is slowly snagging up the artists they believe can best represent the Phoenix music scene on a national level.
"We chose these particular bands because they all brought something to the table. Musically each band has a unique sound that is unmistakably their own, and they all have the full enthusiasm and support of those in the music community, both fans and in the press," says Jason Shoff, head of A&R at 80/20. "We feel that, with the right push behind them, there's no reason why none of these bands can become successful outside of the Phoenix area. And that goes for [Dry River Yacht Club] as well."
Of course, artists have another incentive by signing with 80/20. As its name suggests, the label gives 80 percent of profits directly to the artist. The figure is in contrast to the standard indie label, which have been known to take between 40 and 50 percent of artist recording and touring profits.
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"I feel that the artists are putting so much of themselves into their music and working so hard to create these works that they deserve the majority it reaps. The reason why we can sustain giving 80 percent royalties to our artists is being efficient within the label," Zimmerlich told Up On the Sun last December. "When you are able to record a quality album using equipment for a few thousand dollars and release it to the world with numerous channels at your fingertips you don't need to spend as much as you had in the past. From the very beginning we decided not to release CDs initially and offer our albums as download only. If the album sells, well then we can determine if physical mediums are necessary. We don't have to risk fronting money for an album that may or may not sell."