UPDATE: Rush’s Record Label Disappears. Well, Sort Of. But Not Entirely.

Any fan of Rush knows that every single record was issued on the Anthem label, a company created by the band and manager Ray Danniels in 1977. Anthem functioned as an indie label–technically making Rush an indie band–that was distributed by Universal Music.

Now, though, the label has new owners. Ole (stylized as ole) is the Canadian music rights firm that purchased Rush’s publishing catalogue earlier this year for $20 million. The company has now picked up the whole label and with that, the careers of Ian Thornley, Big Wreck, Steve Page and the Tea Party as well as the catalogs of Max Webster and Kim Mitchell. Anthem will continue to exist as a record label but under the ole’s control.

So what? Well, it’s just another indication of the old Rush Machine winding down in an orderly fashion as some of those associated with the Machine look forward to retirement and/or unemployment. The final tour was undertaken. Money was realized from the sale of the band’s publishing. And now the label has been sold, resulting in payouts to Danniels and the band, all three of whom are associate directors of the companies.

I know, I know.  All things must come to an end. It’s just…sad to see things change like this. At the same time, though, this wind-down is being done deliberately and carefully with poise and class. That’s the way you do it.

UPDATE: Ole and the Anthem people who are going over with the label assets say that this will move will actually give Rush and Anthem a new life. While there may not be any new Rush tours, there still could be Rush shows. Ray will continue to manage Rush. And because the Rush catalogue is so deep, this offers a chance for fresh resources to be applied to new projects. What sort of projects? We’ll just have to wait and see. I’ve been told that 2016 could be busy.

Not all the Anthem folk are making the transition, however, and they are naturally bummed about the situation.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

6 thoughts on “UPDATE: Rush’s Record Label Disappears. Well, Sort Of. But Not Entirely.

  • November 11, 2015 at 4:08 pm
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    they’ve earned their retirement nest egg and I’m grateful they are ending this way and through the ‘KISSesque” never-ending embarrassment.

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    • November 11, 2015 at 4:23 pm
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      Yep. Best to bow out with class and grace. No argument from me.

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  • November 11, 2015 at 9:02 pm
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    Thanks for this Alan. I’ve been a huge Rush fan ever since Fly By Night came out. Sure, I’m sad to see them go but am happy they’ve decided to go out on top and with class. The R40 shows I saw were fantastic!! There’s lots of classic rock bands out there that are continuing on well past their ‘best before’ date ( you know who you are…). And really, after 40+ years of albums, tours and videos it’s not like they owe us anything. I simply hope that Rush and their team will lead happy, enjoyable lives from now on. Cheers Alex, Geddy and Neil! Thanks for making our lives just a little better…

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    • November 12, 2015 at 8:27 am
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      Completely agree. I’m so glad I flew to Vegas to see one of those last shows. I’ve been a Rush fan FOREVER and although I’m sad to see them fade to black, I’m glad they’re doing it with class.

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  • November 12, 2015 at 2:22 pm
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    Whoa, boys! Let’s not sound the death knell just yet. Alex and Geddy have both expressed interest in recording again sometime….and judging from Clockwork Angels, there is still a lot of gas in the old engine. But if they did decide never to release any new music or tour again, I can’t think of a better way to go out than a great album (Clockwork Angels), song (The Garden), and tour (R40). I am hopeful but, yes, also grateful that we have been given 40 years of great music from three humble Canadian boys.

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  • November 13, 2015 at 10:57 am
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    Great way to end their amazing run! Now that the Boy’s are heading into semi-retirement, it would be great to see an outfit like ‘Classic Albums Live’ do a full-on orchestra treatment of 2112

    Reply

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