Hanson’s third studio album, Underneathdebuted at #1 on Billboard’s independent sales chart today. Released on their own, self-funded 3CG Records last Tuesday, the album debuted at #25 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart today, making it one of the most successful self-released albums of all time. The success of Underneath puts Hanson inrare company with the very few other artists such as Prince and Ani DiFranco who have scored Top 25 chart positions on previous self-released titles.
In an effort to gain more creative control of their music and a more direct relationship with their fans, Hanson formed 3CG Records last year after deciding to leave their label, Island Def Jam. “We have a passion for making music,” says Zac Hanson, “and having our own label gives us the opportunity to make the music we want and deliver it directly to the fans.” While artists like Liz Phair and Jewel have succumbed to major label pressure to release titles that fit the mold of manufactured hit records, Hanson has chosen to stay true to their own music. “I knew if I wanted promotional dollars, I would have to turn in something to get on the radio,” Liz Phair told Billboard about the process of making her last record with Avril Lavigne’s song-writing team, Matrix. Phair admits it was a compromise.
“Penny & Me” the lead single from Underneath is getting early support from radio stations around the country with programmers such as WXXL/Orlando’s Pete DeGraaff remarking, “We can play it between Usher and Linkin Park, and between Simple Plan and Black Eyed Peas. I wish we had 5 more songs like this. More of the music we play will be coming from independent labels…as long as the song is good and it fits our station. “Penny & Me” sounds great on the air… Top 10 phones!” This sentiment is echoed by Brian Kelly of WXSS/Milwaukee who states that his station’s phones are “blowing up” whenever he plays the track. The commercial single from the album, “Penny and Me” debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top 30 Singles Sales Chart last month (#1 independent) and remains in the top 10 after 5 weeks (#8 this week).
With massive support from media outlets including Good Morning America, The Tonight Show, OnAir with Ryan Seacrest, The View, Ellen (Monday, 5/3 check local listings), MTV and VH1 (both of whom added the music video for “Penny & Me” and featured the band in long form programming), Hanson is paving the way for other independent artists who may want to release their own recordings. In addition to the successful chart debut, Underneath debuted at #2 on the SoundScan Internet Sales Chart. This unique strategy has not gone unnoticed by publications such as Details Magazine, who recently remarked, “Nobody figured that maybe – just maybe Hanson would be the saviors of rock.”.
“The reality is that great songs, hard work and talent is paying off for Hanson. We are excited that VH1 could play a big part in the launch of this record” says Rick Krim, Executive Vice President of Talent and Music Programming at VH1.
“Hanson has the spirit and the balls to not only reinvent themselves, but do it on their own terms.” Motley Crue’s, Nikki Sixx recently told VH1 on “AllAccess – Spotlight Hanson”, a 30-minute special documenting the band’s journey as they set up their own label.
The band also announced today the first dates of their summer tour. Following last year’s highly acclaimed acoustic tour, fans will get a chance to see Hanson as they embark on a full electric tour this summer. More dates will be announced.