Musical polymath Jack White's label Third Man Records is one of the industry's rare success stories, having released not only a string of albums from White's own bands the Dead Weather and the White Stripes but also records by Seasick Steve, the Black Belles and even Stephen Colbert. Most exciting is "The Vault", a premium download service that for £12 a month gives exclusive access to White's archive and limited-edition releases. Who would launch such a label now? Only a brave man with ideas on saving the music business...
The record industry 'gets it' "It's depressing to talk to record company people. They don't know if they're going to have a job next week or if their label is going to be around in a couple of years. But it's really about educating people."
You must respect the music "Music is not made for free. It costs a lot to make it, mix it, produce it and get it out there. Couple that with the disposable nature that the internet brings - it's a massacre! It's funny how a whole new generation thinks it's no big deal."
Major labels are not the enemy "For new bands, I think a major label is the safest place to be. Independent labels are the ones getting away with murder. A lot of them are hobbyists who rip off young bands, taking advantage of people who would never get signed to a major."
Don't shun advertising "There is an artistic and beautiful way to engage with those things as an artist. Brendan Benson from [White's side band] the Raconteurs licenses a lot of his songs to commercials and he nailed it when he said, 'The same people who are stealing my music are telling me I cannot make a commercial - so fuck them!'"
You don't have to twitter "It's very depressing when you sit and work out how to promote an album these days. Either you do all kinds of ridiculousness or you don't sell any records. You become envious of people who not so long ago were making records and performing shows and didn't have to be hustlers all day long."
Don't fear the internet "We came up with The Vault as a place for things you couldn't see anywhere else - footage of bands that's not on YouTube, songs you can only get from our archives, special live concerts and so on. But the main thing is getting people involved in tangible music. And if they live near the store in Nashville, they can queue up and buy it on release. In an age where people don't care, and treat music like it's disposable, it is so gorgeous to see people line up around the block to buy a vinyl record. It's a beautiful thing."
DJs who leak records aren't cool "In the past five years, everyone has put their hands in the air saying, 'This is not my fault,' and pointed to somebody else - and that's from record labels to DJs to record stations to magazines. There is a level of cowardice among the entire scope of the music industry. But the collective is not respecting the music."
Listen hard "There's a generation that don't know the difference between the CGI of a Transformersmovie and the real film of something like The Godfather. There are differences and reasons why things look better, feel better and last through time."
When in doubt, diversify "I just did a record with Jay-Z. We did a song together a few weeks ago. It was incredible. I played him something that I'd been kicking around for a while and he immediately came out with words for it. It's unbelievable-sounding."
Jack White has been confirmed as Saturday Night Live musical guest for the show’s next live episode on March 3rd. It will be White’s first television appearance in support of his debut album Blunderbuss, out April 24 on Third Man Records/Columbia.
Third Man Records unveiled Blunderbuss in an advance listening party for 20 lucky contest winners to be held 11 am CST TODAY at the label’s Nashville HQ.
The contest was exclusive to The Vault, Third Man Records’ subscription service offering members-only limited edition vinyl, exclusive ticket pre-sales, contests, and other Vault-only giveaways and events. For more information, check out http://modlife.com/thirdmanrecords