Little Big Town Jumps To Capitol Nashville
A year after country group Little Big Town released its third album, "A Place to Land," via Nashville-based independent Equity Music Group, the set will be re-released with four additional cuts and neA year after country group Little Big Town released its third album, "A Place to Land," via Nashville-based independent Equity Music Group, the set will be re-released with four additional cuts and new artwork Oct. 14 on Capitol Nashville.
Little Big Town came to Equity after a short-lived deal with Mercury Nashville and an unsuccessful release on Sony Nashville's Monument imprint. "The Road to Here," released in 2005, became the band's and the label's first success, selling 1.2 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and spawning two top 10 country airplay hits, "Boondocks" and "Bring It On Home."
But two weeks after the Nov. 7, 2007, release of its third record, Equity, which was founded by country star Clint Black, among others, announced that it had aligned itself with two investment groups: Southern Maryland Group, a Washington, D.C., venture, and Optimum Venture 3, a California-based fund that includes the co-founder of the PowerBar Energy Bar.
Equity president Mike Kraski, part of the group that launched the label in 2003 and a former Sony Nashville executive who signed Little Big Town to Equity, stepped down.
"There was a shifting of the wind and we were feeling it around the time we turned the album in," the group's Karen Fairchild recalls. "They were people that we didn't have a relationship with," she says of the new investors. "You start to feel uneasy in those circumstances. It's fear of the unknown."
With "A Place to Land," the band fulfilled its two-album deal with Equity. And when Equity launched, one of its selling points was that artists would own their own master recordings. Eventually word filtered out that Little Big Town was a free agent. After an exclusive negotiating period expired, the band began talking to other labels and eventually signed with Capitol because the group felt it offered the best of both worlds.
"The reason you go to an independent is freedom, to do the things that a major wouldn't try to do, and to try and structure a deal where you might make a little more money," Fairchild says. "The reason you want to go to a major is muscle, know-how, power and relationships. We saw a spirit of independence in [Dungan], and he promised that he would protect the art-making process for us."
While the initial discussions focused on future music, the band welcomed Capitol's interest in the two Equity albums. "They wanted their music to be at the place they call home," Dungan says. All current and future Little Big Town releases will belong to the band and Capitol has an exclusive license to release them. Million-selling "The Road to Here" will also be rereleased through Capitol but without new packaging or additional songs.