Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Indigo Girls Sign With Hollywood Records

I was just reading the latest news on the IG front:

IG's signed a new record deal a few days ago with Hollywood Records. We are really excited to have a fresh start and quite frankly, thankful that anyone in the music industry still cares.

Hollywood is a small label with a limited number of artist releases each year. They have the staff and time to focus on each project and are not put off by our politics or our queerness.

It's been in the works for a while. We went through a long process of weighing our options. I struggled a lot with the corporate ties of Hollywood, they are owned by Disney. But in the end feel good about the decision. Honestly, I was won over by the enthusiasm and willingness to get creative with a contract that offers us things more important than money, i.e. creative freedom and vast opportunities to grow musically. We did weigh this against other offers, including independents, but didn't find the level of enthusiasm or understanding of our music that Hollywood showed. We did consider putting our own label together, but it just wasn't in the cards. In the end, we felt that for the Indigo Girls, this was the best road. The deal also allows us to pursue our solo interests and specifically for me, gives me the space to focus on my indie label-Daemon Records.

This is fascinating to me. The backstory is that Indigo Girls have been with Sony/Epic Records since the late '80s, and fulfilled their final contractual obligation with them a year or so ago. Over the years, IG have become less mainstream - no real "singles" to speak of, although they still pack houses when the tour - and as such, they've become understandably disenfranchised with the whole "major label" thing. They remained mum after parting ways with Sony, but it was assumed that they'd either go with a small indie or start their own label. So this news is surprising.

I'll have to wait and see how it turns out. I hope it rejuvinates them - not that they need rejuvinating - and that Hollywood can somehow bring them back to the forefront a little. Hollywood Records is the American record label for Queen, so I'm relatively familiar with them in that aspect. They had a solid start on the Queen front back in the early '90s, when they released every Queen album on CD, remastered with various bonus tracks and/or remixes. However, since then, obviously the possible output from Queen has been limited, so Hollywood has put out the following Greatest Hits releases:

  • Classic Queen (1992)
  • Greatest Hits (1992)
  • The Queen Collection (combining the above two) (1992)
  • Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 & 2 ) (1995)
  • Queen Rocks (featuring only uptempo songs, save for a new song by the three remaining members, "No One But You") (1997)
  • The Crown Jewels (box set featuring their first 8 albums) (1998)
  • Greatest Hits Vol. 3 (attributed to "Queen +," as it had to really scrounge around to find tracks for this disc, and as such, picked some tracks without Freddie on 'em) (1999)
  • Greatest Hits: We Will Rock You Edition (I could try to explain this one, but it's really difficult. Erlewine gives it his best shot here) (2004)
And just yesterday, Hollywood Record released "Queen: Stone Cold Classics:"

Now this is pathetic. From the press release:

(Burbank, CA) April 11, 2006, The mighty legacy of rock band Queen is brought back to the fore for a fresh hearing in Stone Cold Classics, a new CD collection of 12 of the band's biggest hits and timeless rock classics, with the additional bonus of two new live tracks performed by Queen + Paul Rodgers, recorded during their first tour together.

Stone Cold Classics showcases original versions of a selection of the songs being performed by the eight finalists of the U.S.'s No. 1 rated entertainment television show American Idol during a special Queen edition of the show which airs April 11 and 12 on Fox.
Do you see why I'm a bit worried about Hollywood Records?

As I said before, I recognize that they really don't have much more that they can do with Queen. Freddie Mercury has been dead for almost 15 years (yes, it's been that long). They're currently touring with Paul Rodgers, and, well...Hollywood has already released a live CD/DVD from that venture. But is the solution to keep churning out the same old hits, again and again (with a truly uninspired, half-assed cover, I might add), in the hopes that someone who hasn't bought them already will now be convinced? And while I do think it is possible - that someone who watches "American Idol" will be inspired to find out more about Queen - unless "Stone Cold Classics" is drilled into their heads during the broadcast (and who knows, it might be), how are they going to know which one to buy? If the answer from Hollywood is along the lines of "Who cares? As long as they buy just one," then I'm not convinced it's the right home for Indigo Girls.


At 4/12/2006 12:44 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Coming soon from Hollywood Records!

Classic Indigo Volumes 1-9

The Indigo Girls sing the hits of QUEEN!

QUEEN! sings the hits of THE INDIGO GIRLS!

Really! We'll do anything! Just send us money! Roger Taylor needs a new pair of everything!

At 4/12/2006 12:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm concerned too. i blogged about it a while back...

-- spike from the email list

At 4/12/2006 1:55 PM, Blogger Anne said...

so does this mean we can expect Indigo Night on American Idol in a year or two? SCARED NOW! :)

(I'm reserving judgement at this point, I think. I was initially pretty disturbed by it, but I do think A&E have a reasonable amount of sense where this stuff is concerned -- at least I hope they do. Hopefully all will go well.)

At 4/13/2006 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Jason. Loved the picture you used.

I wouldn't judge Hollywood based on what they've done with a defunct band. Apples and oranges, my friend. They're just trying to cash in on their only asset - Queen's catalog. What else can they do? Think of how many bullshit Who compilations have been released over the years.

I think what's most important is that A&E get to keep their creative freedom and they feel like there are people there who will take an active interest in engaging WITH them and promoting their work.

Love ya.


P.S. This is my very first blog comment. Eat your heart out, Rachel. :-)

At 4/13/2006 3:04 PM, Anonymous Henry Troup said...

Perhaps scarier yet is the Hollywood Records lineup at

Hillary Duff! Regis Philbin!

At 4/13/2006 5:08 PM, Anonymous jefito said...

Yea verily, Hollywood Records sucks with a mighty sucking sound. Always has, always will.

Shit. They should have gone indie. I hope Hollywood ponied up a nice fat advance, at least.


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