GHOST SIGN WITH A MAJOR LABEL, DEAL REPORTEDLY WORTH $750,000
Ghost have hit the big-time: after a fierce bidding war, the mysterious Swedish occult rockers have signed to Seven Four Ent., the new label formed by ex-Warner Bros. exec Tom Whalley that’s launching under the Universal Republic umbrella.
That Ghost signed with a big label shouldn’t come as a surprise, but that they didn’t sign with Roadrunner — whose staff blanketed the NYC show a few months back and from what I’m told pursued Ghost hard over the course of several months — is frankly pretty shocking. Do Ghost really think a gigantic major label is going to do a better job than Roadrunner, whose staff, despite being part of a major label foodchain themselves, live and bleed metal?
Of course not; it’s all about the Benjamins; that big advance Ghost got — worth something in the $750,000 range according to an extremely reliable anonymous industry insider — is good for the band’s pockets right now (and their manager’s 15% cut is good for him, too), but long-term it would’ve been much smarter for Ghost to sign with Roadrunner, or even Metal Blade, Century, Nuclear Blast, Relapse, et al. They are never EVER going to re-coup that $1 million advance, not in a hundred years. I’d bet Axl’s life on it. Then when their new label realizes this after the first album, they’ll be dropped and left for dead. Ghost have proven they have a widespread appeal beyond just the metal audience (similar to Mastodon), but there is a ceiling for weird satan-touting Swedes dressed up in robes.
Here’s a challenge to Tom Whalley, or for that matter any of his staff members: without consulting anyone or the Internet, name five Swedish heavy metal bands other than Ghost. Right… didn’t think so.
There’s of course the “cred-factor” too; are Ghost’s existing fans gonna jump ship since they signed to a major? It’s possible. I certainly don’t care — the music will speak for itself — but I know there are those who will.
By the way, before you guys get all “WTF why didn’t Metal Blade re-sign Ghost???”, understand this: Metal Blade released Opus Eponymous through a licensing deal with Rise Above Records, Ghost’s former label, so Metal Blade never really “had” Ghost to begin with.
Anyway, sound off with your thoughts below.