Dandy Warhols launching label


NEW YORK -- The Dandy Warhols have partnered with World's Fair Group to launch their own label, Beat the World, Billboard has learned. A new album is expected out this year. The group was previously signed to Capitol, on which it released four studio albums.

At first, the Dandys landed significant sync licenses for songs like "We Used To Be Friends" and "Boys Better," and their Capitol debut, 1997's "The Dandy Warhols Come Down," has sold 103,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan; 2000 follow-up "Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia" has moved 164,000.

But the streak was about to go south. "We started to get really frustrated with Capitol," guitarist Peter Holmstrom said. "Our records were recouping and making money for them because of all the licensing, but they weren't promoting us or paying attention."

After its last album, 2005's "Odditorium or the Warlords of Mars," moved only 38,000 units, Capitol dropped the band. "We were upset for about a week, and then we were overjoyed," Holmstrom said. A call to a Capitol rep for comment was not returned at press time.

The Warhols didn't consider signing to another major an option. "We had interest, but I didn't seek out any major-label deals this time around," band manager Lee Cohen said. "We were all totally done dealing with major-label incompetence. The last record was literally just dumped in bins at stores and they walked away from it."

Even more infuriating was that, according to Cohen, Capitol owned 50% of the masters in perpetuity. This meant the band had to split any licensing income with a label it felt was doing nothing else for it. Faced with the knowledge that their licensing income had outweighed their sales income, the Dandys wanted to create a deal where they could call the shots and reap the benefits of their placements.

Under their agreement with World's Fair, the Dandys will have a more generous deal when it comes to their synchs. "World's Fair only takes a minor% of the licensing, and their ownership only lasts for three years," Cohen said.

"We've been functioning on our own as a band for a long time," Holmstrom continues. "With World's Fair, they can provide all the business stuff that we need without any of the nonsense of a major. It's great, although it's a little scary, because if we screw this up, we have no one to blame but ourselves."