Now, I’m really mixed about Interscope. In the late 90’s/early years of the 21st century, they had some real breakthroughs in music, usually due to artists that really thought outside the box and seized the media and its audience by storm. I’m talking about guys like Dr. Dre, Eminem, and Marilyn Manson: in today’s world, the idea of any of those three guys doing what they did musically and in the media back then and still remaining signed to a major label is a little bit ridiculous. The only artist that really expresses her freedom on that sort of thing while still remaining on Interscope due to her success and ability to have such a dedicated fan following is Lady Gaga: though she really is a child of Marilyn Manson and Madonna. I’m not saying that a label like Interscope is terrible or anything, its just that they’re a little more tame these days.
Now, if the idea of a late 90’s Eminem still trying to work a record deal with Interscope was a little perplexing, the idea of an indie signed warped-tour ex skater rock and roll band who didnt even sell Gold is even more perplexing. I personally am not a huge fan, but a couple friends are diehards of a band known as Escape the Fate, a band who, around 2007, was garnering a little success on their way up. Interscope noticed this, and I would assume they decided to take a chance with them. We’re talking about an artist that was just never really known for its sales charting up anything big. So how did it go?
For a while this band was actually on an even bigger rise than they were before. I’d assume that compared to one of their old friends on the road, Avenged Sevenfold (now extremely happy with their major deal with Warner) they probably thought that going big was the way to go next. Their album released on interscope in 2010 represented that they still had quite a bit of control over their singles and their creativity; however, in 2012 things started getting a little weird.
The band released footage and information that a new album would be released via Interscope Records in October of 2012, but eventually they dropped off the grid for a bit; no posts on Twitter or Facebook or anything. Eventually the band came out and explained their situation, saying that they were “unhappy” with their record label and that they were now beginning to stress on Escape the Fate making a certain product with their album that they no longer agreed with, but really, how could they? They come from a scene that just doesn’t function all too well with majors. The band are now signed to Eleven Seven music.
In the midst of all this going on, frontman Craig Mabbitt announced that he would be doing a side project, known as Dead Rabbitts, that would be released via Interscope records and completely separate from his main project. He announced that it would be produced by his friend, Caleb Shomo. However, once this fallout with his major band occurred, there must have been something in his contract that ruined his plans to release his side project. He too dropped off the grid for a bit, and then later came back with a message for his fans,
When the EP was ready for the world, and I was finally tired of dealing with the #!*$ record labels put me through, I just decided I would bring you the music directly. Cut out the middle man and bring you along for the ride. That’s the plan.
Mabbitt then posted links, ONLY via his PERSONAL social media accounts, to this link to Pledgemusic above. Pledgemusic functions similar to Kickstarter in that it’s a pledge based make-your-claim buying service filled with customized exclusives for fans to get their money’s worth. Mabbitt also worked a deal that if he reached 100% of his target, part of the money accumulated from the pledges will go to a nonprofit known as “To Write Love on her Arms,” which focuses on helping teens struggling with depression. Mabbitt shockingly went up to 95% of his target in less than a month, bringing up high expectations for his new side project to be released.
Now, as I said earlier, I’m not a diehard for this band nor its frontman, but I thought this was really something. A band gone DIY, signed indie and still fairly DIY, signs Major, falls out with major, and goes direct with an album release, and manages to pull it off? Now I know that his pledge goal probably would not be like one if an artist like Rihanna decided to make a pledge, but regardless of numbers, it’s obvious that this guy, throughout his career has focused on building relationships with his fans strong enough for him to pull off something like this. Again, this side project release is strictly DIY, produced by his friends and with Craig as its sole marketer through social media. I am not making a claim that he did this by himself, Interscope probably helped out a lot; but in the end he built off the correct relationships during his journey through all the different record labels and got, what I believe matters most in the long term, the reward that keeps paying: a large and extremely loyal fan base.