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“I wanted to do something different with this record, something groundbreaking. I wanted to get great new music to my fans without charging them 15 or 16 bucks for a CD."
——Tommy Lee
TOMMY LEE’S NEW CRUE: HANDLEMAN
“I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Major Label Infrastructure,” Snarls the Celeb Drummer and Reality TV Star-to-Be
Tommy Lee likes to shake up the status quo. Just a week after forever altering Billboard’s staid image by pouring shots of Jack down the gullet of Co-Executive Editor Tamara Coniff—an historic event indelibly captured in the pages of the N.Y. Daily News—the free-thinking Motley Crue drummer has announced that he’ll forego the major label system altogether with his upcoming solo album. Instead, Lee will have the Handleman Company exclusively handle its distribution. The album, Tommyland: The Ride, is scheduled to come out in August.

Sanctuary Management CEO Carl Stubner, who manages Lee, had a hand in hammering out the novel distribution concept, which could conceivably start a trend if it proves viable in this high-profile case. Will we see a day when a sizable number of established artists eschew the major label system for alternative means of getting to the marketplace? Who knows? We’re just a bunch of music-trade slugs.

“From the very beginning, I wanted to do something different with this record, something groundbreaking,” Lee said in the press release, issued Wednesday morning by the distributor. “I wanted to get great new music to my fans without charging them 15 or 16 bucks for a CD.  And Handleman is helping me do that, so I couldn’t be happier.”

The Troy, Michigan-based distributor will partner with a third-party sales-consultant firm Rocket Science LLC to handle solicitation, retail marketing and account interaction activities.

Said Chairman/CEO Stephen Strome, “This initiative is an example of how Handleman Company can add value to the music supply chain. Given our high-quality people, systems and experience, we are confident this relationship will be beneficial for everyone involved, including consumers, retailers, Tommy Lee and Handleman Company.”

According to Handleman, the direct relationship will streamline the supply chain and allow the album to be priced relatively low while still enabling retailers to achieve a fair profit margin. The deal marks the first time that Lee will release an album without using the traditional major label infrastructure, and the first time that Handleman will act as the sole distributor for a major recording artist.

Tommyland: The Ride, Lee’s third solo recording, will be released in conjunction with his new NBC reality show, Tommy Lee Goes to College. The album features guest appearances by Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger, Carl Bell of Fuel, Deryck Whibley of Sum 41, Good Charlotte’s Joel Madden and Backstreet Boy Nick Carter.

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