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Future expands publishing options with Blondie release

Future expands publishing options with Blondie release

To date, the company has released three special packs, which pair a new album from an established star - Slash, Motorhead and Whitesnake have been featured - with a bespoke magazine.

The fourth fan pack features new Blondie album Panic Of Girls - on Eleven Seven Music - which goes on sale on May 30. The fan-pack edition will include a magazine, a poster, two additional tracks and Blondie button badges. The standard CD release will follow one month later.

But while previous Future releases have been branded as Classic Rock Presents..., the Blondie album will not be tied to a specific magazine, in a move that expands the range of albums Future can offer.

Classic Rock and Metal Hammer publisher Chris Ingham said interest in the Blondie album was exceptional. "The scale of distribution requests is sobering," he said. "Waitrose ordered Blondie and they said it was their first music product in two years."

Ingham added that dropping the Classic Rock brand "really unlocks the format". "We have the distribution model," he said. "We are a content factory of excellence - we can make what you want and we can get it into 3,000 retailers.

"At a time when there is uncertainty in the high street there is something in our model."

"Where the Future vehicle will work is when you have established acts with a core fanbase," explained Simon Carver, joint managing director of RSK, who works with Eleven Seven and Blondie in Europe.

"This release at once plays to the core fanbase, with a very nice added-value document around the record. And their distribution also takes you to places on the high street where it is very difficult to do something with a record or a CD."

The results of Future's work on its distribution network are already showing: 57% of the sales of the Slash fan-pack album came from non-traditional retailers, such as supermarkets, WH Smith and independent newsagents.

In addition, Future has sold almost 60,000 units of its fan packs at £14.99 a piece, generating close to £900,000 in revenue. Classic Rock Presents Slash is the biggest seller to date, shifting 30,000 units; Motorhead's The World Is Yours has sold 19,000; and Whitesnake's Forevermore, which went on sale on March 25, has already shifted close to 9,000 units.

But the publisher will not abandon the Classic Rock Presents... brand entirely: Ingham said Classic Rock Presents... and Metal Hammer Presents... fan-pack formats will be used alongside unbranded fan packs if they will help increase sales.

Ingham also hoped that the company would be able to produce one a month "when the distribution pipeline and contacts" are in place.

He added the CD plus magazine was "the perfect media" for both lapsed fans of a band and hardcore devotees because it put the new release into a historical context.

"They want to know there are people out there who have the same passion that they do, to know how much of a shit somebody else gives," he said. "A magazine looks like a media by which people give a shit - you can't just toss these off."

Typically, the fan-pack editions come out one month before the album goes on general release, at a higher price to reflect the additional content.

"We act as an amplifier - the best ad that artists can have for their own version to come later," Ingham said. "The albums sit there as a giant ad - there is a new Whitesnake album, there is a new Blondie album."

Future may also look at expanding the model into Europe - to date up to 50% of sales are being shipped to addresses outside of the UK. "We are still finding our way forward," Ingham said. "You can imagine how busy life could get when we take the Classic Rock logo off."

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