"It's an interesting time to be in the music industry," Joan Osborne tells Billboard. "The old models are falling away. As an artist, you must be on the lookout for different opportunities."

"It's an interesting time to be in the music industry," Joan Osborne tells Billboard. "The old models are falling away. As an artist, you must be on the lookout for different opportunities."

For Osborne, that means signing with Time Life, which releases the singer's new studio album, "Breakfast in Bed," May 22. The set mixes R&B/soul chestnuts with new Osborne-penned originals inspired by classic Philly soul.

The Time Life label will follow Osborne's release with a compilation featuring country artists covering praise and worship songs. Additional artist signings are in the works, says Mike Jason, senior VP of audio and video retail at Time Life.

For a company better known for infomercials hawking themed, multi-artist compilations, signing a frontline artist like Osborne signals a shift in Time Life's business model. "We are taking a classic American brand and expanding it," Jason says. "This allows us to raise the company's profile in the archive and retail areas."

The first stage of Time Life's expansion has occurred over the last couple years. The company has brought major label execs like A&R guru Bas Hartong (Polygram) into its fold, while also releasing high-end boxed sets from Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Louis Armstrong and others.

The second stage, happening now, involves signing known artists directly to Time Life. "Artists that can reinterpret classic material as well as deliver new, original songs is what interests us," Jason says.

"We've all seen the Time Life ads on late-night TV," Osborne says. "This is a great way to reach people who don't necessarily seek out new records."

Indeed, the TV component was a motivating factor in Osborne's signing with Time Life, says her manager David Sonenberg. "When you sell a record the traditional way, you don't know who the buyer is," he says. "With this model, we will. We'll be able to communicate directly with her fans, which is important in today's changed marketplace."