Literal Airplay

With the major labels thinning their rosters, artists are looking for alternative ways to market their CDs. There’s CD Baby, there’s Starbucks, there’s tickets with value-added CDs included … and now there’s airplanes.

Artemis Records recently shook hands with Song Airlines to sell and market artists in-flight through the Song Records collaboration.

First up is Better Than Ezra. Music from the band’s new CD, Before The Robots, is on the in-flight headphones and a video from the release is played on the entertainment system. And, of course, there’s a batch of CDs on hand that can be purchased through flight attendants.

The Song Records label plans to issue about five records a year, the next one being the July debut of Jaguar Wright.

“This venture was exciting to us because the music industry needs to really take risks and try some different things to create new avenues of visibility and that is what this will do,” Artemis Records chief Daniel Glass said.

Song, the 38-plane, low-cost division of Delta Airlines, is marketed as a specialty airline. Passengers can hand-pick their health-conscious in-flight meals ahead of time on the Internet, and the television screens air programs from Dish Network.

With business waning, airlines are looking for ways to stand out against the competition, The Wall Street Journal noted. And record companies can certainly use new avenues of income.

Maybe it’s a trend. Recently, USA 3000 Airlines and a band on AAO Music’s Reality label announced a collaboration. The Jones Gang, which features three veteran rockers from major bands, will debut its album Any Day Now by arriving in Cleveland on a USA 3000 flight.

Artwork from the band’s album will be featured on the side of the plane. In fact, several of the fleet’s Airbus jets will be repainted with The Jones Gang in mind. The band features drummer Kenney Jones (Small Faces, The Who), Rick Wills (Small Faces, Foreigner) and Robert Hart (Bad Company).