Music News

Influential music supervisor forms record label

NEW YORK (Billboard) - The woman behind the soundtracks to “The OC” and “Grey’s Anatomy” is launching her own label.

Alexandra Patsavas, the influential TV and film music supervisor who has helped put Death Cab for Cutie, Snow Patrol and the Fray on the mainstream map, has inked a deal with Atlantic Records to form a new imprint, Chop Shop Records. The label shares the name of Patsavas’ 10-year-old California-based firm, Chop Shop Music Supervision.

Patsavas had been in negotiations with the Warner Music Group unit about creating a label since last year. The subject was first broached in a meeting with Atlantic president Julie Greenwald at the Coachella music festival.

“It’s something we came up with together,” Patsavas says. “A label seems like a natural extension of what a music supervisor does . . . You can come across things very early, and there have been bands along the way I would have loved to have worked with more closely.”

Many basic details of the venture are still being sketched out. Patsavas says she will look to hire a label manager as well as handful of additional talent scouts and assistants to supplement the efforts of her existing Chop Shop music supervision team of three coordinators. But this much is known: It will be headquartered in South Pasadena, Calif., and is expected to handle as many as three acts at the outset.

No signings have been announced yet. Patsavas is aggressively on the hunt for acts. During a recent trip to New York, she attended nine different artist showcases.

She says Chop Shop’s direction will bear a strong resemblance to the creative direction she has pursued in her music supervisory role.

“I’ve always been interested in indie rock, and it’s the kind of music I tend to enjoy placing in the shows that I work on,” she says. “(The label) will be an extension of the kinds of artists that have been featured on ‘The OC’ and ‘Gray’ soundtracks. Many of those artists have been unsigned or signed to small labels.”

As for the prospect of landing acts on either of the labels in Chop Shop-supervised shows, Patsavas and Atlantic execs recognize the need to separate church and state. But the connection doesn’t hurt.

“She has to do what is right for the show and the job, but it is fantastic that we have her dialed into our company,” Greenwald says.

Patsavas says she is also keeping the door open to Chop Shop distributing TV soundtrack releases where and if appropriate.

TV soundtracks enjoyed a boom year in 2006 -- increasing 19% in sales to more than 27 million units, according to Nielsen SoundScan -- led by a string of Disney hits with “High School Musical,” “Hannah Montana” and “The Cheetah Girls.” Soundtrack albums from Patsavas-supervised shows likewise have performed solidly. “Grey’s Anatomy Volume 2” -- which was also nominated for a Grammy, rare for a TV soundtrack -- has sold almost 350,000 units, according to Nielsen SoundScan. And the six volumes of the “Music From The OC” soundtrack series have moved more than 1 million copies worldwide.

Of late, “Grey’s Anatomy” has been particularly effective at creating sales momentum for bands by translating TV exposure into downloading activity.

Weekly download sales of Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars” jumped from less than 2,000 tracks to 21,000 the week it was featured May 15 in the final minutes of the 2006 season finale of “Grey’s Anatomy.” Songs from Gary Jules, the Fray, Regina Spektor and Anna Nalick have all seen similar bumps after being on the show.