Saturday, January 25, 2003

Won't someone please think of the labels?

An interesting, doomy Wired piece suggesting that we're in the year The Music Dies. Except, of course, what it means by "the music" is "the music industry", and what it means by "the music industry" is "the current major record labels." While not certain this is a good thing, it does at least suggest that it might be.

Why should we regard EMI and Island as being neccessary and desirable; why should we worry about them not being able to adjust to the new demands of their market? The big labels have never pretended to be social services, they've never worried about dropping acts who suddenly went out of favour with the public; they've recently not been showing much interest in developing audiences and careers for new artists.

Why should we suddenly start to worry about profit-driven organisations with a record for treating their customers like schmucks and their artists as shit? By their own admission, ninety per cent of their products never make a cent in profit, so even when they're at their best, they're not even good at being record sellers. Music existed before the RIAA and now there are many ways that artists can thrive without being on a major label. Bankruptcy in the music industry? Why should I be worried?

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