deadmau5 shuns major labels, inks deal with Kobalt
Standing tall as one of electronic music’s unprecedented kingpins, deadmau5 has had rich history with labels over the course of his career. In 2007, Joel Zimmerman launched his own imprint Mau5trap. It was there, alongside Ultra Records and Ministry of Sound, that he released his third studio album the following year: Random Album Title. Joel had cemented his shining spot at Ultra from 2008 until 2012, going on to release For lack of a Better Name, 4 x 4 = 12, and Album Title Goes Here within those four years.
In June 2013, deadmau5 notoriously split from Ultra. He was quick to take to Twitter to express his frustrations with the label, with just five months standing in between his announcement regarding a deal he had sealed with Astralwerks Records.
FUCK YOU @ultrarecords IM OUT. :)
— deadmau5 (@deadmau5) June 25, 2013
Astralwerks – home to leading talent like Swedish House Mafia, Kraftwerk, The Chemical Brothers, and Porter Robinson – soon became a label that deadmau5 also grew comfortable calling home. Citing the imprint as “a place that knows what to do with my music,” Zimmerman proceeded to release his most recent full-length project, while (1<2), in June 2014.
Though, it seems that the Canadian producer has had a change of heart since his move in late 2013. In an interview with Billboard, Joel re-asserted his sentiments about how “The label does what’s good for the label. Always.”
In an effort to take a stance against the money-hungry hodgepodge that is the electronic music industry, the 34-year-old is trekking over to Kobalt, an independent rights management and publishing company. He comments on the move: “I am very strict on what products I want to associate myself with, and I felt that some things were just to make a buck. Then, we’d only get a little trickle, and I’d be like, ‘Wait, I look this stupid for only that much? Why am I looking stupid in the first place?’”
Joel’s deal with Kobalt offers advances that are budgeted on a release-by-release basis; the publishing company will also extend its artist development expertise to Mau5trap artists when needed. In marking the the first partnership between Kobalt and Three Six Zero (deadmua5’s management), this begs the question: Could Calvin Harris be next?