New Music Company Releasing Julian Lennon's Lucy
On December 15, the company will mark its first release with the four-song EP Lucy, featuring the same-named title track written by James Scott Cook and Julian Lennon. Produced by Todd Meagher, the lead single "Lucy" is Lennon's first single in close to a decade.
Lennon initially planned only to sing background vocals on the song, but before its completion he learned that his childhood friend Lucy Vodden had passed away after a long battle with lupus. With some lyric changes the decision was made for the song to be a duet between Lennon and Cook. By remarkable coincidence, Cook told Lennon that Lucy was also the name of his 92-year-old grandmother who has been living with lupus for years. Seeking to honor the memory of both women, a portion of the proceeds from the single will be donated to two charities, St. Thomas' Lupus Trust (www.lupus.org.uk) and the Lupus Foundation of America (www.lupus.org).
The EP – inside of which buyers will discover a fold-out copy of Julian Lennon's original watercolor drawing of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" – features two versions of "Lucy," the studio track and an acoustic version. There's also Lennon's slow and sentimental song "Beautiful," which will appear on his full-length album Everything Changes, to be released in 2010, and Cook's song "Sober," which will be on his own eponymous album next year. RED Distribution (a division of Sony Music Entertainment) is providing manufacturing, retail distribution and radio promotion for the EP, and the title track will initially be available for download online exclusively at iTunes until the first of the year, which will also make a donation to the lupus charities. VH1, YouTube, MySpace Music and Yahoo Music have all agreed to support the video release.
A portion of the proceeds will be donated to two charities focused on lupus, an autoimmune disease afflicting Cook's Grandmother Lucy, as well as Lennon's late childhood friend Lucy Vodden, a watercolor painting of whom led John Lennon to write "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds."
With the mission of "Turning the music business into the musician's business," theRevolution (www.theRevolution.com) serves as the funding vehicle which endeavors to partner with both emerging and established artists to give them control as well as ownership of their creative output and to help build their fan bases and, ultimately, their brands. Under its singularly structured, transparent 50/50 "artist partnership" model, the artist forms a company and theRevolution funds it, with musical artists owning equity in their own companies.
Through its subsidiary the Artists Alliance and its affiliates, theRevolution provides artists an a la carte menu of integrated services, among them: business/legal affairs; product design, manufacturing and retail/direct distribution; online transactional management; tour/event logistics, sponsor outreach; marketing, promotions and branding; and music publishing/licensing.
"Julian and I have been friends for over 20 years and have partnered on several businesses together, as I have with Michael. Our combined understanding of technology and the music industry, our love of innovation, and our ability to capitalize our own company make this new partnership ideal," explains Texas-based Todd Meagher, a former songwriter for Warner Chappell Music who, as an internet entrepreneur, successfully founded and sold such entities as Credit.com. In 2002 Meagher created the industry's first 50/50, artist-owned model, going on to launch MyStore.com with Michael Birch and Lennon in 2006, in the early days when MySpace did not allow direct sales. As an outgrowth of both businesses, Meagher approached Lennon with the idea of a full-service, artist-focused music services company, and Lennon agreed not only to be a partner, but to be its first artist after a nearly ten-year hiatus from the music industry.
"I think the digital age of music has allowed independent artists to be heard, where maybe they would have not been before due to record labels' pigeonholing of music, musicians and style," explains Lennon. "theRevolution puts artists into business for themselves. It came about because I personally couldn't see a way forward, given the state of the music industry, and wanted to start something new – a new model – which will hopefully continue to grow and be accepted, appreciated and become successful."
That hopefulness is shared by Birch, the media community/Internet marketing guru who co-founded BirthdayAlarm.com, Ringo.com and the social networking site Bebo, which AOL bought for $850 million. An advisor to myriad companies, this past summer Birch helped launch PROfounders Capital, a UK investment fund for entrepreneurs. "Many artists are quite good at promoting themselves, but you need other elements to build a proper business and brand," says Birch. The model of theRevolution is to fully align its interests with those of artists (i.e., one party doesn't make money unless the other does) and, for artists used to turning over the lion share of the revenues from their music to traditional labels, says Birch, the key is education. "We need to build our reputation as a true partner and prove our dedication to building long-term careers."
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