Because Music SVP Jane Third says her label’s success with acts including Major Lazer and Christine And The Queens shows that independent labels can still take on the majors when it comes to signing and breaking artists.
In a difficult year for new talent, one of the biggest 2016 breakthroughs came from Christine And The Queens, whose debut album, Chaleur Humaine, was released in France in 2014 and has since gone seven-times platinum there.
Because released the album in the UK in February 2016 and it has now sold 190,951 copies in the UK, peaking at No.2 on the Official Album Chart.
The label has enjoyed even bigger success in the singles chart with Major Lazer, whose Cold Water single deposed Drake’s One Dance from No.1 as the Canadian star’s song closed in on the all-time chart record.
And such success stories form part of Third’s pitch when it comes to signing new acts.
“We invest at a high level, we spend a lot of money and we’ve proved that we can break artists in the charts,” she said, when asked why acts should sign to Because. “We spend a lot of money on image and we’re willing to invest in you in the early stages on expensive videos and creating lots of content. But, more than anything, we don’t sign an artist for what we think we can turn them into, we sign them for precisely what they are.
“We don’t sign artists because we think they might be the next someone else. We look for people who are individuals. And if your first album doesn’t work, you’ll still have a label that completely believes in you for exactly who you are and that doesn’t change. We’ve never dropped an act.”
Third admitted even she had been surprised by the extent of Christine And The Queens’ success.
“I always thought she was a mainstream proposition because when I saw her dance for the first time I was like, She's a star,” she said. “But I didn't think it would translate in the UK. I was really surprised when we started getting into supermarkets and things like that. I had to take a step back and reassess, because it shows you how open-minded the market really is, actually. That's one of the things I say to managers; Stand by your artist's vision, because I genuinely think 50% of the time success happens in spite of the music industry, not because of it.”
You can read our Big Interview with Third in full here and in the new issue of Music Week, out now.