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.