He’s a rock star and a businessman. And what Tom DeLonge is doing in Carlsbad could make a lot of the major music labels nervous.
DeLonge, 35, is best known as the lead singer of the pop-punk band "Blink 182." But he also fronts the alternative rock band "Angels and Airwaves." Last year, "Angels and Airwaves" decided to strike out one their own without the support of a label. They not only used their own money to record their new album "Love," they also released it on their own, exclusively as a download and for free.
"Giving away the record for free is not because we are dumb," said DeLonge. "It's because we are trying to build the business on all these different levels." "Everyone is not making money selling records," adds bassist Matt Wachter. "We needed to find other ways to keep this going and to make money."
Just how do "Angels and Airwaves" plan on making money in a recording industry that has seen record sales cut in half the past decade? The key, the band says is their website called "Modlife
"The dream was with "Angels and Airwaves" is that we would have a platform on our website that would not only protect all the content, it would self-market, self-distribute it," DeLonge said. "And because of that, it's also what allowed us to give our record away for free and build other assets."
And it's the other assets that keeps fans coming back to the website. From live band rehearsals, to pay per view concerts to exclusive merchandise, a small monthly subscription fee gives fans VIP access to the band.
"We broadcast live on our site, where we have conversations with these people and they are world wide," said DeLonge. "We are good friends with them at this point".
"You've introduced yourself to all these people, now if people want to get closer, there was something that was created that will hopefully help the band create some security,” said David Kennedy
, lead guitarist. "And the money that came in from Modlife, we just invested into ourselves."
Other major bands, like "Korn" and "The White Stripes" have taken notice. They are now using Modlife to reach out to their fans.
"The music industry has taken such a turn from that state of mind, where I’m going to be on a major label, " said drummer Atom Willard
. "Things have drastically changed in the past 5-10 years. I think this is the way bands are going to succeed."
These musicians are businessmen. And they are not closing the door to possibly working with labels in the future.
"All we want to do is celebrate the fact that we are 100% independent at this moment," said DeLonge. "Because this leaves it open to create new ideas and build a future."
Angels and Airwaves is currently on tour
across the country.
Published at 7:11 AM PDT on May 26, 2010 | Updated at 10:22 AM PDT on May 27, 2010