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"We don’t sign many artists, but we approach each one with a ‘take no prisoners’ attitude."
—Larry Jacobson, Giant Records GM
A SLEEPING GIANT AWAKES
Label Sees Sales Gains On Disturbed and Steely Dan, With i5 Bubbling Under
Fee Fi Fo Fum…. They smell the blood of some breaking acts.

The Giant Records label is starting to push its weight around across the musical spectrum with acts like Giant/Reprise hard rockers Disturbed and pop girl group i5, as well as spearheading the pleasant surprise comeback of classic jazz-popsters Steely Dan.

GM Larry Jacobson calls the label "the new and improved" Giant Records. "We set about clearing up the roster and creating a blueprint which we called ‘counter-programming' to the majors. We don't sign many artists, but we approach each one with a ‘take no prisoners' attitude. We have the ability to do a lot on our own and, at the same time, take advantage of the Warner/Reprise machine."

•Windy City metallers Disturbed's "Sickness" album has been spurred by a headlining club tour and the single, "Stupify," which has garnered Underground/College-to-Active-to-PoMo radio crossover and MTV, M2 and The Box play. Next month, they hit the road with Ozzfest. The album's been steadily selling almost 10k a week and has so far moved more than 75k.

Commented Jacobson: "We started setting up this record six months before it came out with a 600-strong street team. Even before it was released, kids were at retail asking for it."

•Giant/Reprise's i5 is a teen-pop-styled group featuring five high-energy young girls from Israel, Mexico, the U.K., the Philippines and the U.S. The first single, "Distracted," penned by Steve Kipner and David Frank, who wrote "Genie In The Bottle" for Christina Aguilera, goes for adds July 11 at Top 40. Currently in the midst of a promo tour, the group opened for LFO in May and head out June 20 with headliner Britney Spears before seguing to Nickelodeon's "All That" tour through the summer. The album comes out mid-September.

Label Head of Promotion Bob Catania says the single's been getting even a better response at radio than his new hairstyle. "It's been awhile since this label was involved in the pop business, but everyone's real enthusiastic. We feel the girls themselves are their own best selling point. When they go out to meet people, they take over a room. And no, you can't have their home numbers."

•Finally, rock veterans Steely Dan, in the midst of a U.S. tour, have delighted the label by approaching Platinum on "Two Against Nature," their first album in two decades, which debuted in the Top 10 and has sold steadily since.

"This record was about understanding who the band's audience was through focus groups—then reaching them," says Jacobson, who points to an amazon.com Internet campaign, a PBS special and a VH1 "Storytellers" episode as keys. "We consider this record a success, and it's by no means over… Now will you please tell Irving I'm doing a good job?"

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