Not sure how many of you that read this little blog are musicians or aspiring musicians, but I came across this the other day while scouring Hypebot. These are pretty valid points:
1. Competition for Attention – Music artists are already forced to compete for the attention and interest of fans; they shouldn’t have to compete for that attention within their own record label. Labels divvy up their focus between multiple signed artists. Whereas an artist may be giving 100% to developing their music career, a label can only allocate a fraction.
2. Quantity over Quality – A record label’s main concern is the monetary return on their investment, but an artist’s main passion is the quality of the music being produced. Conflicting core values between labels and artists unnecessarily inhibit the creativity and uniqueness of the artists’ music.
3. Taxation without Representation – Labels take a cut of the money earned by artists for performing tasks that the artists could actually do themselves with the right access to resources and guidance. A growing number of site and services including likeZEBRA.com and others offer recording and promotional tools to get the music directly out to an audience without being an expensive middle man.
4. Out of Touch – Labels have a toxic fixation on record sales. This is an anomaly in today’s low record-selling music industry. With the easy access to cheap or free music online, labels are rapidly losing their relevance for turning their focus more towards the importance of live performances. Even major bands like Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails addressed their labels’ irrelevance by selling recent albums directly to fans online.
5. Trade-Offs of Contracts – What does an artist really get in return for signing with a label? Lack of creative control? A portion of their own paychecks? Restrictions and inflexible deadlines? Binding obligations to labels leave much to be desired when artists can now rely on themselves to get their music produced, promoted and purchased.