1/06/2009 06:38:00 PM
I speculate that the labels will argue that little has changed -- i.e., NIN would never have achieved its level of success had they not benefited from the risk taking, marketing expertise and influence of a major label.
Even if that's the case (and a few more independent successes like OK Go will disprove that), it's still a different game--one where major labels are solely for building initial success, not for keeping a successful act in business.This also provides disincentive for any new or breaking act to sign contracts with labels under terms as onerous as they have historically been. The labels make most of their money from established, successful acts, and that era is coming to an end. The size of their pie is shrinking, unless they transform themselves into a business that is focused on providing real value to both musicians and listeners, rather than trying to extract value from the mere fact that they're in an intermediary position.
I can see the labels continuing in that marketing role. Few artists will want to rely on word-of-mouth alone for their future success. Many will want to claw their way above the cacophony of a million competitors for the listener's ear (and wallet.)So if this is the case we could yet expect that they will continue to sign artists for a cut of the revenue.
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