Wednesday, August 09, 2006

handling business

Who needs record companies? and a sobering reply (via Darcy).

It seems to me that it's a career decision rather than a necessity. Ani DiFranco was never on a major label. Rappers have consistently been able to "drive Phantoms" by building up a strong regional fan base without being big nationally. I wonder if the success:failure ratios of self-run, indie and major labels are significantly different.

While the Fortune article talks about megastars opting out of the system or redefining their relationship with it (Ice Cube, in this example, another could be Prince), it should be possible to go bottom-up as well: do well enough on your own so that there's no at-all-costs pressure to sign a major label deal. And is this really all that new? Tim Berne has been running Screwgun for a long time.

In the end, if the aim is to make a living and own what you create, then alternatives to the major record deal (which isn't even an option for a huge part of the world's musicians) look pretty good, from my totally outsider perspective.