Relentless Beats

Deadmau5 Leaves Universal & Goes Indie With Kobalt

Standing tall as one of electronic music’s biggest names, deadmau5 has had rich history with labels over the course of his career. In 2007, Joel Zimmerman launched his own imprint Mau5trap, which is where he will focus his efforts for releasing music and developing artists. Acts like Madeon, Skrillex, Feed Me and Excision are among those who have gotten their major breaks in the label, with others like Eekkoo and ATTLAS among those who currently being developed by the growing team at the label. It was there, alongside Ultra Records and Ministry of Sound, that he released his third studio album the following year: Random Album Title. Joel had cemented his shining spot at Ultra from 2008 until 2012, going on to release For lack of a Better Name, 4 x 4 = 12, and Album Title Goes Here within those four years.

“The label does what’s good for the label. Always,” says deadmau5 in an interview with Billboard. “It’s instilled in the industry that that’s the only way to do it. Well, not anymore.” Joel is a lone-ranger in the music industry and he won’t have a major label to hold him down

In June 2013, deadmau5 notoriously split from Ultra. He was quick to take to Twitter to express his frustrations with the label, with just five months standing in between his announcement regarding a deal he had sealed with Astralwerks Records.

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Astralwerks – home to leading talent like Swedish House Mafia, Kraftwerk, The Chemical Brothers, and Porter Robinson – soon became a label that deadmau5 also grew comfortable calling home, and released the 2014 double-album while(1<2).

Now the 34-year-old EDM phenomena is moving on to Kobalt Music Group, an independent rights management and publishing company. Not only is Kobalt is offering Zimmerman advances that are budgeted on a release-by-release basis, the company will also provide services to the artists under Mau5trap. As Joel hasn’t always had good things to say about his previous label choices, hopefully Kobalt fits his strongly opinionated independence.

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