Dita Von Teese bares her taste in music
The burlesque dancer is releasing a vinyl album featuring songs mostly by other artists, one way celebrities are keeping super fans engaged
Burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese is releasing an album of romantic songs she picked. PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese is getting ready to release a 12-song vinyl album called “Soundtrack for Seduction.” She hopes it is a must-have for fans—even though she doesn’t sing on most of the tracks.
It is a project spearheaded by Philip Moross, chief executive of the Cutting Edge Group, a music-and-media consulting firm that finances film and TV scores in exchange for the music rights.
He said the idea of marrying modern-day curated playlists with old-fashioned vinyl came to him after Cutting Edge Group several years ago acquired Varèse Sarabande, a soundtrack-focused label that had long produced and distributed many vinyl editions of its music. The label’s vinyl sales jumped 50% last year, so Mr. Moross decided to try updating the retro format.
Compilation albums are nothing new, but rarely have they centered so squarely on the tastes of celebrity curators. Cutting Edge’s “12on12” records are meant to be collector’s items for super fans, revealing their idol’s tastes and influences.
Mr. Moross said he’s in talks with a wide range of stars—from basketball players to supermodels—who are keen on issuing their own compilation records. Ms. Von Teese’s album is the pilot; no others have been made.
To promote the records, Mr. Moross is planning a show that features a different celebrity each episode talking about how they curated their album. It is unclear yet whether it will run only online or be carried on a cable channel.
Major record labels still reap less than 5% of their revenues from vinyl sales, despite the format’s recent boom. But Mr. Moross said it could be extremely profitable for a smaller company like his, as well as for individual acts with large, devoted fan bases.
Most such artists are constantly hunting for new ways to make money from their biggest fans, since the artists can only tour and release new music—or repackage their old music—so often, managers and booking agents say.
Fans can place orders for “Soundtrack for Seduction” starting on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, through March 14. The albums are made to order and will be delivered in about three months. Twenty dollars will fetch a regular copy. With an autograph, the price rises to $50. For an album kissed by Ms. Von Teese, lipstick and all, the price will be $100.
Ms. Von Teese performs vocals on three of the songs, including a cover of the Mae West classic “A Guy What Takes His Time.”
“It’s a big content play—if you put out another greatest-hits record on the shelf at Wal-Mart, you’re not connecting with fans,” said Scott Manson, chief operating officer of Scooter Braun Projects, which is in talks with Mr. Moross to issue vinyl playlists for its artists and is exploring ways to partner in the entire venture.
Alan Melina, who manages the producer RedOne, said some of his clients are interested in appearing on Mr. Moross’s show, which may air online or on TV. The concept reminds him of Desert Island Discs, a decades-old British radio show that has guests choose which eight recordings they would want if stranded on a desert island.
One catch: Celebrities won’t be able to put just any song on their playlists. Mr. Moross said he must obtain permission to use each track from the record label that issued it.