Just hours after accepting the Icon Award at Sunday night’s Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas, Prince is announcing his new partnership with Kobalt Label Services (KLS), a division of independent music services company Kobalt Music Group.
Under terms of the partnership, the singer/songwriter/musician/producer will release music by newly signed artists, as well as his own recordings and other Prince-produced material. KLS will provide marketing and distribution through its wholly owned global digital platform and network of physical distribution partners. According to a Kobalt spokesperson, details regarding the inaugural slate of releases under the new pact will be announced by Prince at a later date.
"This new venture gives Prince the flexibility and freedom he's always sought in a label partner,” Kobalt president Richard Sanders said in a press release announcing the partnership. “We're providing a high level of diverse services that will be particularly customized to his vision for each release, allowing the world to experience more music from Prince and his creative community.”
Prince joins a KLS client roster that includes Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (“Push the Sky Away,” released Feb. 18 via Cave’s Bad Seed label), New Kids on the Block (“10,” April 2) and the Pet Shop Boys. The latter’s album, “Electric,” is due on July 15 through its x2 Recordings.
Separate from Kobalt’s publishing division, KLS began operations about 18 months ago. KLS provides full-services solution to releasing and marketing records while allowing artists to maintain ownership of their masters.
Seven-time Grammy winner Prince recently wrapped a nine-city West Coast club tour with his backup band 3rdEyeGirl. Upcoming summer performances include the Montreux Jazz Festival and select dates in Europe and the U.S.