Anniversary: SAOL empowering independent artists for 10 years now!07.11.2018
When ten years ago a jung and wild thrash metal band named CRIPPER prepared for their first release, no one had a clue how much this would change the music biz on the long run. At that time, CRIPPER didn’t have a record deal nor a solution for the tricky, tedious promo work that needed to be done.
|Striker singer Dan Cleary at BYH Festival 2018|
Checking out various promo agencies, it became pretty obvious that public relations and promotion, without any distributional framework at hand, would be a pointless endeavor. The team behind Hannover based CMM GMBH saw this as well but took the band’s chicken-and-egg situation as an opportunity to solve the somewhat universal problem for good. This decision gave birth to SERVICE FOR ARTIST OWNED LABELS or, in short, SAOL, the one-stop solution simply designed to cover both channels: public relation/promotion on one side and manufacturing/distribution/marketing on the other.
For the first time, uprising bands without a record deal should be given a platform with the goal to let them publish their musical vision autonomously but with professional guidance, and the result should be perceived by media just as well as a regular album release. The musical rights, however, should remain in the hands of the artists. Back in 2008, this idea was new but gained traction quickly, leading to a fair amount of similar services throughout the world. In the meantime, SAOL grew beyond its own founding claim and established a solid alternative to classic label deals – and sometimes a stepping stone into one of these.
Ever since, renowned artists as well are walking the SAOL way, just in the opposite direction: They love SAOL as a safe sandbox for extraordinary projects outside the existing record deals with their main acts. Others are joining in if they want to reform themselves as a band and thereby take the first daring steps to become independent artists. No matter if newcomer or long-time public person – for 10 years now, SAOL clients from all over the world are appreciating similar aspects of this label service and the status that comes with it: self determination in every part from distribution and marketing to the nuances of budget management and the shaping of their story through in-house PR. To work on their career in partnership with CMM has paid off for many of them in various ways. And last but not least, there are and have always been diverse independent labels that did not consider SAOL a rival but rather a handy toolbox to use for releasing their content via CMM’s channels and thereby gain distribution and broad media interest.
CRIPPER remained part of the SAOL family for three more releases and could thus constantly increase their popularity and sales figures. Thanks to the CMM network, they toured all of Europe as support act, played at 70000TONS OF METAL and finally spread their wings: They signed a deal with a big record label. Today, after their the band’s unfortunate splitup, former members of the CRIPPER are still close friends of the CMM team and partly even valuable, strong hubs within the company’s creative network.
Cripper and parts of the CMM team in 2008 after the founding of SAOL. In the back: Europe
Another example is the Canadian shred ensemble STRIKER who, coming from a big independent label, have just put out their third (of their discography of six) albums via SAOL after two successful releases and several tours in cooperation with CMM/SAOL so far. Their bold step out of a secure label deal and towards being an independent band empowered STRIKER to reform their music according to their desire and at the same time push their one band label Record Breaking Records forward. The congenial musicians from Edmonton just landed in Europe to play their first ever fully independent dual-headliner tour on this continent, together with their friends from SKULL FIST – meaning that STRIKER are now acting 100 percent in Europe, just as they do in the rest of the world.
Appropriately enough, “Rock Hard Deutschland” salute them with #2 of their latest soundcheck.
“Partnering with CMM has been the best business decision we’ve ever made. Major label connections for independent artists. If you have the vision they have the expertise.”
Tim Brown, STRIKER
Since day one, CMM/SAOL have been nothing but wonderful to us, taking our album release and multi year plans and opening awesome doors overseas that we as a young American band couldn't reach on our own. Aside from being completely savvy about the current state of the industry, they're great people and we feel a genuine investment in our story and art. HIGHLY recommended - a joy to work with!
Adrienne Cowan, SEVEN SPIRES
"I think the idea behind SAOL is extremely good, as it helps on the highly competitive market, to give bands an opportunity to benefit from SAOL's experience and professionalism, and to overcome the first hurdles in the business."
Rudolf Schenker, Scorpions