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Given her newfound success, many predicted Mann would ink with a major—most likely one within the WMG fold.

MANN OVERBOARD

Singer-Songerwriter Aimee Mann Cuts Indie Distrib Deal
Still basking in the success of her "Magnolia" soundtrack, power-pop troubadour Aimee Mann has eschewed major-label suitors and cut an indie distribution deal for her latest set, "Bachelor No. 2."

The collection, which appears on Mann’s own Superego imprint (in conjunction with the nascent United Musicians organization), will flow through the RED distrib pipeline and is due on shelves May 2.

Mann fans who can’t wait can purchase the disc from aimeemann.com, where it has been on sale for the last few months.

The popster, who scored a hit ("Voices Carry") with her very first band, Til Tuesday, on Epic in the ‘80s, has had less-than-stellar luck on the majors ever since. Her acclaimed 1993 solo debut, "Whatever," languished on the ill-fated Imago, while Geffen failed to capitalize on the "Melrose Place" play of her song "That’s Just What You Are"; her ’96 bow on that label fared poorly as well.

Her suite of songs for the Reprise soundtrack to the 1999 P.T. Anderson film "Magnolia," however, has sold suprisingly well. The album got a boost from an early (if short-lived) add of the track "Wise Up" at PoMo flagship station KROQ/Los Angeles, and snowballed following Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for the song "Save Me." The ST now hovers in the neighborhood of 250k sold.

Given her newfound success, many predicted Mann would ink with a major—most likely one within the WMG fold. Yet manager Michael Hausman, who co-founded the United Musicians outfit with Mann and her husband, Michael Penn, continued to assert that Mann was looking at other options.

The RED deal is a unique instance of an artist with sales action avoiding the predictable industry move and opting to maintain control of her record. But can Superego/RED, combined with Mann’s online base, consolidate the gains achieved by "Magnolia"? Will therecord make any headway at radio without big-label backing? And even if it doesn't, will Mann and her team be happy with a much bigger share of a smaller pie?

Artists with track records who are now leaning toward indies—and the majors who’ve decided to love them—will be watching this one very closely.

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