A year after being dropped by Interscope, Marilyn Manson  is planning his comeback on U.K. indie label Cooking Vinyl.
Manson has agreed to form a joint-venture partnership between his own imprint Hell, etc. and the London-based label. The deal covers his next album, due in fall 2011, with an option for the album after that. Cooking Vinyl will handle worldwide distribution, marketing and promotion.
On the face of it, the two parties make unlikely bedfellows. Cooking Vinyl launched in 1986 as a contemporary folk label but has since broadened its repertoire and scored a major success with the Prodigy's  2009 comeback album, "Invaders Must Die."
Cooking Vinyl managing director Martin Goldschmidt says that record -- released under a licensing agreement with the Prodigy's own imprint, Take Me to the Hospital -- has generated worldwide sales of 1.3 million. The label has also had success with global service deals for established acts like Underworld , Groove Armada  and the Charlatans .
Manson's manager, Tony Ciulla of Ciulla Management in Los Angeles, says he declined offers from other labels after being impressed with Cooking Vinyl's work on "Invaders Must Die" internationally. The indie's "passion and conviction for recognizing Manson as a rock icon and genuine enthusiasm to be part of his future career was key in doing the deal," he says.
Ciulla says the 50-50 joint venture is a "more attractive financial arrangement and allows for greater [creative] control," with both parties sharing profits after Cooking Vinyl recoups its costs, which include an advance paid out to Manson and a "big marketing commitment."
Cooking Vinyl expects to release the album in 45 countries, although in some territories it will license the set to local labels. Goldschmidt's initial global sales target for the album is 500,000 units, which he expects will be Cooking Vinyl's biggest U.S. release to date. The label released "Invaders Must Die" through distributor RED, generating U.S. sales of 53,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Manson's previous set, "The High End of Low," bowed at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 in May 2009 and has sold 137,000 units, according to SoundScan. Manson's total U.S. album sales stand at 8.7 million, with 1996's "Antichrist Superstar" the biggest seller with 1.9 million units. He has scored two previous No. 1 albums: 1998's "Mechanical Animals" and 2003's "The Golden Age of Grotesque."
Although Cooking Vinyl doesn't have a U.S. base, Goldschmidt says he and Ciulla will link up with partners for promotion, marketing and distribution. He identifies RED as a "very strong option" for distribution and says they may work with Topspin for online fan base marketing. Manson's strong Web presence -- he has 849,000 Facebook followers -- and his large fan database will play a central role in the early stages of the marketing campaign, Goldschmidt adds.
The Cooking Vinyl team has yet to hear the new record, which is being recorded in Hollywood with longtime Manson collaborator Twiggy Ramirez. But Goldschmidt believes the break with Interscope will inspire the artist.
"Manson's in that mood where he really wants to come back fighting," he says.
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