Gaming giant Electronic Arts and Vancouver-based music and management firm Nettwerk Music Group have recently joined forces to start a record label, according to information received Monday.
The joint venture, called Artwerk, will leverage the considerable promotional impact of the EA gaming portfolio. The group will sign both developing and established artists to publishing and recording contracts, and concoct both digital and physical sales strategies. That includes digital distribution platforms like iTunes, as well as less obvious licensing opportunities in film, television, and advertising. The first signed artist is Junkie XL, whose tracks have already appeared in “Madden NFL 07” and “Need for Speed: Carbon”. Artists will not necessarily be plugged heavily within gaming titles, though the available platform offers a decided advantage over other music groups.
EA has been pushing its music ambitions for years, though the latest partnership could realize a broader artist development vision. “For the past five years, EA has been instrumental in breaking new artists, but we have been limited in our ability to grow them,” said Steve Schnur, worldwide executive of Music and Marketing at EA. “With Artwerk, we can now directly sign, develop and launch artists for publishing, master recordings, sync deals and beyond.” Nettwerk chief executive Terry McBride approached the partnership with a more revolutionary zeal. “It is time for the music industry to shake things up, break out new bands and find new ways to expose them on a global scale,” McBride said. “Artwerk is music 2.0. It is where music, games and digital entertainment merge.” Artwerk will be based in Los Angeles.