Detroit garage rock duo the White Stripes have a signed a two-album deal with New York-based V2 Records, home to Moby, the Black Crowes, and Mercury Rev. The agreement, essentially a licensing deal th
Detroit garage rock duo the White Stripes have a signed a two-album deal with New York-based V2 Records, home to Moby, the Black Crowes, and Mercury Rev. The agreement, essentially a licensing deal that allows the White Stripes to maintain ownership of its masters, gives V2 the option to distribute any artist that White Stripes vocalist Jack White signs to his Third Man Records imprint.
The critically adored and once married duo of Jack and Meg White had released three albums on Long Beach, Calif.-based label Sympathy for the Record Industry, including this year's "White Blood Cells." The band is known for an anti-commercial slant, having recently rejected other major label deals and an offer to appear in an ad for clothing retailer The Gap. V2 President Andy Gershon says it was the versatility of the deal that attracted the band, alluding to the fact that the group is not tied to the label for a number of years.
"They're in complete charge," Gershon says. "It's a bit of an unconventional deal, and if all things go really haywire, then yeah, [they're just signed for two albums], but I expect and plan on being involved with the White Stripes for what I hope will be the entirety of my career."
Additionally, Gershon says Jack White was eager for the chance to have a distribution and production outlet for a number of Detroit acts that the musician has championed. Jack White told Billboard last month that he was looking for a way to garner new exposure for his hometown peers.
"I've worked with so many bands and done so many 45s and things, I just don't like it when people say, 'I can't get ahold of that'," he said. "I'd be nice if all this stuff that I'm involved with would all go through one thing, and [we could] see how available we can make it to people."
Gershon notes that Jack White's loyalty to his community was a major driving force in V2's pursuit of the act. "The thing about doing this with Jack is that he's an incredibly talented musician, and an incredibly talented producer, so he's an amazing resource. There's nothing better than someone who recognizes and remembers and goes back and gives back to the community that he came from."
Although published reports said V2 dished out a whopping $1.5 million -- a high number to pay for what is essentially considered a cult act -- Gershon dismisses those figures, saying the actual number, which he would not reveal, is much lower. "Let me put it this way," he said. "I hope to someday be giving a check to the White Stripes for $1.5 million because that means we'll have sold a lot of records."
The signing of the White Stripes is one of Gershon's first major moves since joining V2 in late July. The executive has managed the likes of the Smashing Pumpkins and Bryan Ferry, and was previously co-president of the now defunct Outpost Records, which operated for four years with a roster that included Days of the New and the Crystal Method.
The White Stripes are currently touring Europe, and plan to begin work on a new album upon returning to the States.