Veteran rock artist David Bowie has opted not to renew his contract with Virgin Records, and has instead launched his own independent label, ISO. Based in London and New York, the label will be home to all of Bowie’s future recordings.
“I’ve had one too many years of bumping heads with corporate structure,” Bowie said in a statement. “Many times I’ve not been in agreement with how things are done and as a writer of some proliferation, frustrated at how slow and lumbering it all is. I’ve dreamed of embarking on my own set-up for such a long time and now is the perfect opportunity.”
The first ISO release will likely be Bowie’s next solo album, which he has been working on with longtime collaborator Tony Visconti. The label is also home to one solo artist and one band, according to the statement, although the names of either have not been disclosed.
“I want to keep the whole experience at a human level,” Bowie added. “To characterize ISO, I think I would use [King Crimson] guitarist Robert Fripp’s phrase and describe it as aiming to be ‘a small, mobile, intelligent unit.'”
ISO’s launch has been in the works for some time, beginning after Virgin “overlooked [an] option in his previous deal” to renew the artist’s contract with the label. According to Bowie’s official Web site, on Thursday his business representatives sent a letter to Virgin saying, “We respectfully decline your attempts to negotiate a new contract in light of the missed option pick-up of a year ago.”
Bowie’s last studio album for Virgin was 1999’s “Hours…,” which debuted at No. 47 on The Billboard 200. In October 2000, the label issued “David Bowie Live at the Beeb: 1968–1972,” a compilation of performances done for London’s BBC Radio. That set debuted at No. 181 on the chart.