Signing the dotted line

Local musician Michael Musclow found himself in the midst of a bidding war this year with multiple European record labels.

Like many people, one of the first things Michael Musclow does when he wakes up in the morning is check his email.

The Penticton musician woke up to an offer from a record label in the Netherlands two weeks after he independently released his demo The Sonoran Buried Sky Has Bloodshed in April.

This isn’t the first time an offer has come along, but Musclow approached it with a fair amount of skepticism.

“I’ve been approached by companies in the past who promised services, but when I look into it in the end they just want your money. I’ve built up some jaded-ness over the years,” Musclow laughed.

He said you can’t be too careful in a day and age where anyone can set up a website to look like a record label, but the offer seemed legitimate and the label was interested in working with him so he began to negotiate.

“That must have caught wind or something because within that week I had a whole slew of offers from other companies,” Musclow said.

He was receiving offers from labels in Finland and a few from Spain, but a majority were out of the Netherlands. Musclow had some choices to make deciphering which deal was best in terms of options for royalty payments and digital and physical distribution.

In the end he wound up with two contracts. He signed with Shimmering Moods Records for vinyl distribution in the Netherlands and Agatone Music for digital distribution worldwide.

Getting contacted by a record label in the Netherlands might seems strange for a Penticton artist, but for the past eight years most of his independent record sales have been coming from Europe. Musclow has been making his music independently for a decade producing all of his albums himself including his upcoming label debut set for release sometime in the spring.

The label debut will be released on iTunes worldwide but before he moves on, he decided to release one last independent record for the people who have been supporting him throughout the years.

“I’m using it as a thank you to all my listeners over the years. It has taken quite a long time to get to this position,” Musclow said.

Soon The Ghosts Will Be Covered in Dust is Musclow’s eleventh album of original work. His music brings both electronic and acoustic sounds to the table and his last independent release and upcoming label debut show his ability to shift to both sides of the spectrum.

“The label debut heavily focuses on electronic music and acoustic instruments kind of hold it all together,” Musclow said. “It (The independent release) does the opposite. There’s some electronic music, but the majority of it is guitar with some piano.”

Releasing an album through a label is a new experience for the independent musician , as is working with an audio engineer in Europe to help guide him through the mastering process and the nuances of releasing an album through a label.

“Having it released through a label is a bit different from being independent. I’m used to doing things my way and now I have to do things their way. Just a few adjustments along the way,” Musclow said.