Angels & Airwaves plans free digital album release

Fri Jan 22, 2010 11:24pm EST
 
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By Mitchell Peters

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Blink-182 guitarist/vocalist Tom DeLonge is taking a break from major-label life with the release of the forthcoming album by his other band, Angels & Airwaves. The group's third studio album, "Love," will arrive February 14 as a free digital download.

DeLonge and Angels & Airwaves manager Rick DeVoe agree that self-releasing the 10-song set is a financial risk, especially with DeLonge spending up to $500,000 of his own money to fund the process. But the artist hopes to recoup through corporate sponsorships, touring, merchandise sales, premium exclusive tracks and videos on the band's Web site and by selling a deluxe version of "Love" with 30 minutes of exclusive bonus material.

"We're redefining the music business," says DeLonge, who finished a reunion tour last fall with Blink-182. "And I honestly think we're going to be 10 times bigger because of it."

Angels & Airwaves' past two albums -- "We Don't Need to Whisper" (2006) and "I-Empire" (2007), which have sold 571,000 copies and 268,000 copies in the United States, respectively, according to Nielsen SoundScan -- were released on Geffen.

DeLonge initially approached the label with the idea of releasing the album for free. But "there are certain costs they couldn't throw under the rug," he says. After failed negotiations, Geffen agreed to allow Angels & Airwaves to self-release "Love."

"When you sign with a label early in your career, it's because they have the advantage of investing in your brand," DeLonge says, noting that he owns the masters and publishing rights for "Love." "Now it's changed, because the majority of the kids now get their records for free (and) the labels don't have money to invest."

MULTIMEDIA PROJECT

"Love" will be available as a free download on Angels & Airwaves' Web site, and a deluxe version of the album will be sold at stores and digital retailers, including iTunes, for about $5-$10. A final release date for the deluxe version hasn't been set.   Continued...

 
<p>Tom DeLonge performs at Virgin Mobile Free Fest in Columbia, Maryland August 30, 2009. REUTERS/Bill Auth</p>