Delta Rae benefits from well-timed exit from record label

Posted at 6:34 PM, Jul 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-05 20:06:24-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Nashville band Delta Rae started off July by announcing that they were leaving their record label and pursuing their future projects as independent artists.

“We’ve decided to go independent again,” the band said in a video posted to Kickstarter. “We are humbly asking that you become our record label and help us fund these two records.”

The two records, titled ‘The Light’ and ‘The Dark’ will be the first two new albums from the band in more than 4 years, and Eric Hölljes, who sings, plays piano, and guitar in the band, said the band wanted to do it outside of a record label.

“I think for us, we’re a weird band. We have 4 singers, 3 of us are siblings, 6 best friends, we make genre-bending music, it’s a little bit country, that’s why we were signed to Big Machine, but we don’t fit in the box,” Hölljes explained. “There’s so many great artists that don’t fit in the box – Queen wouldn’t fit in the box. I mean, so many of our favorite artists don’t fit in the box these days, so we are so excited that we get to pioneer a new way.”

The plan from the beginning was to launch their Kickstarter campaign on July 1st with the hopes of raising $30,000 so they could complete their first album, and an additional $30,000 to complete their second.

“We had for a long time planned on Monday to announce that we were going independent again because it was 4th of July weekend, Independence Day week, and it just felt like the timing was right,” Hölljes said.

The timing was certainly right, as the band shattered through their expectations of how much they would raise for their albums.

“We raised $30,000 in 30 minutes from our fans, and we raised $60,000 in 60 minutes, and $150,000 within 24 hours.”

As of Friday evening at 5 p.m., the band was only $1,000 short of $200,000, which is more than 6 times their initial goal for fundraising.

While the band has a dedicated fan base, they got a big boost from Taylor Swift fans.

Delta Rae was previously with Big Machine Record Label, the same label that Taylor Swift released all of her previous albums on, and the day before Delta Rae announced they were leaving the label and going independent, the label was sold to Scooter Braun.

Swift spoke out on social media to her fans against Braun, a man she said she didn’t get along with and had bullied her in the past, and explained that with him buying the company, he now owned the masters to her previous records.

Swift fans, known as ‘Swifties,’ immediately started voicing their displeasure with Big Machine, and when they heard that Delta Rae was leaving the label to go independent, many Swifties decided to show their support.

“This was our first interaction with the Swifties, and they are a force,” Hölljes said. “Really, they just started retweeting (our announcement and Kickstarter).”

After looking at their Kickstarter and seeing they had already achieved their goal of $30,000 after a half hour, many members of the band broke down and shared their excitement on their Facebook page.

“You guys are making a reality of a dream that we’ve had since we’re kids,” Hölljes said in the Facebook live.

While the move to become an independent band wasn’t made in response to Swift’s posts on social media, the band does support what Swift was fighting for: to own her own masters.

“With the news coming out, people are now talking about this stuff,” Mike McKee, the drummer in Delta Rae, said. “This is kind of behind-the-scenes industry things, masters discussion, but now it’s kind of in the vernacular, people are going, oh, that’s what record deals are.”

With the decision to go independent, Delta Rae will have control over their own music, with the ability to release songs whenever they want with no executives telling them what they can and can’t do.

“For the first time in my career, I can record my voice without permission. That doesn’t happen when you don’t own the masters,” Hölljes said.

Because of the overwhelming support, including support from Taylor Swift fans, Delta Rae has pledged to help other independent artists, specifically, female artists.

“We’ve made a commitment to shine a light on independent female artists moving forward to pay it forward,” Hölljes said, throwing out names like Jillette Johnson, Maggie Rose, Liz Longley, and Emma Hern.

Delta Rae plans to release The Light on March 20th of 2020, with The Dark following behind.

Supporters are welcomed to donate to their Kickstarter campaign, with donation options ranging from $1 to $10,000. As of 5 p.m. on Friday, 8 contributors have selected the $10,000 option, which includes a private acoustic Delta Rae concert at the backer’s home.

The band has also created a $13 pledge, a number synonymous with Taylor Swift, named The SWIFT for Taylor Swift fans. They have SWIFT standing for “Stand With Independent Female Trailblazers,” and they say that donation tier represents their commitment to shine a light on other independent female artists as their fundraising continues.