Labels and the CD Industry

We make ourselves.  In the last 15 years everything has shifted, Shawn Fanning started the revolution, he gave file-sharing a face and made it accessible while the traditional music industry smoked fat stogies in their fortresses.  If that comes paranoid, take it with a grain of salt, some alt-majors saw it coming and made sure they teamed up with venues like Warped Tour who have been on the cutting edge of new media.

The thing is, for many majors, they’re still obsessed with release dates by country (why, Bowie?) and a scorched Earth policy that leaves nobody but themselves weakened, much in the way imperial warfare creates more opposition than suppression.

Labels and the CD industry certainly created a big hullabaloo about this exact happening in the late 90’s as social websites and large-scale downloading became prevalent as a distribution tool.  Much like now, nobody was actually listening to them complain except for the other complainers.  People aren’t that dumb, when corporations complain, nobody is listening – look at former BP CEO trying to claim Deepwater wasn’t his fault, it doesn’t work when you’re the face of the company.

The CD and label industries were complaining when they should have been innovating and shifting their practices online.  For businesses that had money, infrastructure and a direct line to most of the North American population, it would have been laughably easy to extend that reach into another format like it had (sometimes reluctantly) done before.  Pop Britney Spears in an ad for a pioneer streaming service instead of Pepsi and your label would have been set for the decade.

Because of their resistance to change, labels have become old news in less than a decade, unless you’re a legacy act, there isn’t much future for you being associated with a major.  For a long period it mattered who your band was associated with, it meant distribution and level of scope but that doesn’t matter much anymore.  With the internet anybody can be a sensation, all you have to do is take a look at Psy.  Paris Hilton tried it but it didn’t work, her name and reputation killed her music career before it started, music fans know a fake when they see one.  Does Lana Del Ray ring a bell?  That is why Psy works, it’s why OK Go are considered pioneers, they innovated a new way of doing business and distribution, they made fun music that resounded with the greater population.

You can’t get by forcing yourself down throats anymore.  The internet has opened the gates and turned everyone into a critic, so you’d better be damned good at what you do.  Go practice, make yourself better and then make yourself a career.

-Aaron

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