Monday, September 04, 2006

Eulogy for the Devil: The Death of the Major Labels

Remember this: When the major label oligarchy officially ended, it happened with a whimper not a bang. I think we’ll have a hard time even remembering when the Big 4 or 5 roamed the musical landscape with their teats as the only possible source of milk for the torrents of people who wanted to be musicians. Now it’s all over.

When the New York Times writes, “MySpace Music Store Is New Challenge for Big Labels,” they should really be saying, “MySpace Instantly Redefinines the Music Industry, Again.” After proving that labels will at least stream their music for free, they are finally capitalizing on the best known secret of the social networking world. That secret? All they had to do was put a “Buy” button and instantly bands could begin to monetize the traffic they get to their profiles. Basically it’s the beginning of a merch booth that’s going to make the requisite MySpace page for bands less of a brochure and more of a gold mine.

This is the real beginning of the pracitical version of what Napster started so long ago. Completely decentralized distribution based on social and community filtering.

The three historical rolls of record labels have been. A) Distribution. DONE, over. B) A&R or the talent search and packaging. They haven’t been very good at that in years. C) Marketing and Promotion. Payola in other words. The machinery that greases wheels and gets artists sold.

Now, what can a label do for an artist that a decent PR firm can’t handle?

Or is anyone really better at the new game of selling music than Tila Tequila? Maybe all you need is a picture with her to sell a few thousand songs? No one knows yet.

Yes, MySpace selling music is a challenge to the labels in a the same way that the CD Rom was a challenge to the 3.5 inch disk.


Blogger DJ Ray Liotta said...

smart stuff, valley jeezy. i can't wait to see what happens with all this. if myspace solves some of its interface issues, it'll be golden. until now, the site's bad design has arguably worked to its favor -- but bad design as a boon changes quite a lot when you introduce sales into the equation. people have shown that they'll pay for music online as long as the interface is intuitive and there are lots of choices -- myspace is halfway there.

7:27 PM  

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