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ArtistDirect finds a Custom fit with songwriter

Label to release debut album in November

Custom, the sought-after Canadian artist who recently ankled a long-term deal with Virgin Records amid a dispute with Virgin Records Group vice chairman Nancy Berry, has signed a new contract with ArtistDirect, the startup record label/Netco run by Interscope co-founder Ted Field.

ArtistDirect Records plans to release Custom’s already completed debut album, “Fast,” sometime around the first week in November, with the first single, “Hey Mister,” heading for radio adds on Aug. 31. “Fast” will likely be the first and only record ArtistDirect releases this year, Field said.

Financial terms for the multi-album pact weren’t disclosed, but Field said his label will “spend what it takes” to market Custom (aka Duane Levold), and dedicate more resources to the release than a major could — part of the reason the songwriter decided to go with ArtistDirect.

“Artists generally know that I will be with them through thick and thin,” Field told Daily Variety. “We’re in the unique position to give him the company’s full attention.”

Custom, a multi-instrumental talent often compared to Beck and Badly Drawn Boy, was released from his Virgin contract earlier this summer after a falling out with Berry, over which Custom reportedly mulled filing a harassment suit.

When Field was still at Interscope, the Universal imprint was among the labels vying with Virgin to sign him on his initial pass.

“We didn’t get him the first time around, and I honestly never thought he’d become available again,” Field said.

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