CBS Corp. is reaching into its past by reviving the CBS Records name for its latest business proposition. The label is starting out small, with three artists -- singer/songwriters Will Dailey and P.J.

CBS Corp. is reaching into its past by reviving the CBS Records name for its latest business proposition. The label is starting out small, with three artists -- singer/songwriters Will Dailey and P.J. Olsson, and rock band Senor Happy. Likewise, staffing will be kept at a minimum, with five hirings expected next month.

CBS bought Columbia Records -- eventual home to the likes of Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen -- in 1938 and then sold its CBS Records business to Sony Corp. in 1988 for $2 billion. While CBS is hoping to latch onto some of the magic it created during its 50-year stewardship of Columbia, the startup will leave the traditional record label model as the last step in its sales process. Instead, the new CBS will concentrate on building an imprint to take advantage of digital sales and distribution capabilities and the power of television.

CBS executives envision the integration of songs from CBS Records artists into the network's programming, with call-outs at the end of the shows providing artist and purchase information. "Our artists will have access to an incredibly powerful medium -- television -- to drive music sales," said Nancy Tellem, president of CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group, who will oversee the label.

Larry Jenkins, a consultant for the new label who runs his own management company, LJ Entertainment, said music will be sold through CBSRecords.com, Apple's iTunes Store and other digital or wireless merchants.

If digital sales warrant it, CBS Records will offer physical product. But executives at the company said they will do so sans long-term deals. Jenkins -- a former Columbia publicist -- said the label will work with its artists and its artists' managers to decide what sort of distribution deals make the most sense. Sometimes that might mean the label will put the record out itself through an independent distributor, or it might mean going through an existing label or a retailer.

"We will do those deals on an artist-by-artist basis, and maybe even a project-by project basis," Jenkins said.

Dailey was named best male singer/songwriter at the 2006 Boston Music Awards and will soon release his debut album, "Back Flipping Forward." A song on that set, "Grand Opening," was featured on the Nov. 29 episode of CBS' "Jericho." Senor Happy's album "I'm Sorry" will be released by CBS next month, and the track "Love If You're Real" will be featured on tonight's (Dec. 15) episode of "Ghost Whisperer." Olsson has released three albums since his 1998 self-titled debut and is recording his CBS debut.