Deadmau5 Ditches Major Label, Goes Indie

deadmau5 (photo credit: Danny Mahoney)
Joel Zimmerman, aka Deadmau5, is leaving Universal’s Astralwerks for Kobalt, an independent rights management and publishing company. The Canadian DJ/producer revealed his plans during a recent interview with Billboard.
Zimmerman said he’s bringing his recordings, publishing and Mau5trap label to Kobalt, which counts Skrillex, Trent Reznor, Dave Grohl, and Paul McCartney among its clients.
“The label does what’s good for the label. Always,” Zimmerman told Billboard. “It’s instilled in the industry that that’s the only way to do it. Well, not anymore.”
“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,” he said. “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?’”
In addition to more freedom, Kobalt promises near-real-time review of publishing income and claims to collect 20 to 30 percent more revenue than the majors.
“I’m not saying I’m never gonna get f#cked again,” Zimmerman said. “But I do like the freedom that, if I do f#ck up, it’s my fault rather than the fault of someone who bought that responsibility from me.”
Zimmerman’s decision to leave Universal was reinforced by the fact that most of his income comes from touring. However, he still retains ownership of his back catalogue and will inherit full control from his former labels, Ultra and Universal, when their respective licenses expire in 2027 and 2029.
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