The Cool Kids have been stuck in label hell for over a year now trying to get their debut full-length released. Their relationship with previous label, Chicago's Chocolate Industries, went bad, and none of the majors interested in the album could figure out an offer that worked for everyone. In comes Green Label Sound, a Mountain Dew-branded imprint run by PepsiCo, which just offered the Kids what Chuck Inglish called "the best deal in the world."
The deal: Green Label Sound will pay for mastering/production, release the album, When Fish Ride Bicycles through iTunes, do all the PR and promotional legwork you might expect from a traditional label and feature the duo at their SXSW showcase.
And here's the crazy part: They won't take a dime. They're waving label revenue from iTunes sales, so the Cool Kids will get anything Apple doesn't take from sales of their new album. GLS is also not asking the duo to recoup the money the label has spent on them already.
PepsiCo doesn't in any way depend on the bands on GLS to earn revenue for the company -- they have plenty of other, more lucrative, money-makers on hand. This whole venture is strictly a way to help their image; it's more-or-less just an unconventional commercial directed at music fans. So it's actually in their interest to just give the bands whatever they need to get their music out there the way they want it out there because that's what will garner the most goodwill among consumers. If you're a traditional major label, how can you possibly hope to compete with that?
This is a big step for GLS -- until now they've just released singles and remixes and the like from up-and-coming bands like Chromeo and Freelance Whales, always for free and on their web site. With the release of the Cool Kids full-length, they'll have a "storefront" on iTunes, presumably paving the way for more similar offers to other bands.
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Listen to the new Cool Kids single, "Bundle Up," below. It came out today through GLS.