The Echo label, a division of British independent media company Chrysalis Group, is planning to establish a presence in the United States early in 2005.

The Echo label, a division of British independent media company Chrysalis Group, is planning to establish a presence in the United States early in 2005.

The London-based record company will launch a "virtual" venture, for which all label functions and staffing will be outsourced.

Acts for the Echo U.S. initiative will come from Chrysalis Music's A&R sources, including Echo and the Chrysalis publishing firms in the States and Europe.

The first two Echo U.S albums will be released in late January: the Stands' "All Years Standing" and I Am Kloot's eponymous debut. A release from Chrysalis Music-signed U.S. artist Steven Yerkey will follow.

Alternative Distribution Alliance will distribute product for the new venture. Marketing and promotion will be handled by full-service label management agency the World's Fair Label Group. Both companies are based in New York.

Jeremy Lascelles, CEO of the Chrysalis Music division, says the initiative has been designed as an entry-level platform for developing acts in the U.S. market. "We're not going head to head with the major record companies. It's primarily intended as a launch-pad for us," Lascelles tells Billboard.biz. "We want to get to the target of 50,000-100,000 sales, and if it takes a year -- building it brick-by-brick -- then I'm happy with that."