Hey guys, welcome to my wordpress accompanying blog for my music industry blog over at Zedara.com - today I’m going to talk about record labels in the 21st century, as there is a lot of talk about the major labels and even the independents being dead in the water due to a lack of money being made from music sales.
In 2007 (I cant believe it’s 5 years ago already!) British superstar alternative music kings Radiohead shook the world of music by releasing a ‘pay what you like’ album, where people could access their new collection of tracks for whatever price they wanted directly from their site, downloading the mp3s and getting album artwork to boot. This was just one of a number of new business models being experimented with, but Radiohead work working without a record label.
Other album releases were famously given away with newspapers here in the UK in a really unusual new style of release, but that seems to have died off somewhat.
While it is true that money is not so easily available from music sales, there are loads of ways that artists can make music in other ways, and those that are supported in this by their labels will be most successful.
Whilst I don’t think record labels will die, I do think they need to alter the way they do things if they want to survive in the future. The internet means that bands can connect directly with their fans, so in my opinion a label is more of a brand than a way of distributing their songs.
Don’t be surprised to see labels starting to move into synchronization deals, live music and merchandise in a search for more revenue streams, and perhaps the major labels taking a hit might not be such a bad thing for the industry as a whole.