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11.19.2005

The coming obsolescence of records labels and music companies

In the past few years I have gotten more and more angry with the music business establishment. They will serve no useful purpose in the (quickly) coming future, and their obsolescence is already becoming clearer.

Here is why I hate the music companies:
The fact of the matter is that in this day and age no up and coming band needs a record company to have their music released to the world. Soon we will see a band or artist rise up from one of the many "open-source" online music communities into the mainstream consciousness - of course the record companies will not go along with this willingly, but it will happen.

At some point iTunes, Napster, and the others will get on board and cut deals directly with bands or their agents. The songs could of course be cheaper than the songs published by the big boys, especially if they start to manipulate pricing to signal popularity. Think about the current business model of an old-fashioned music label:
  1. find a band that will appeal to the most people possible - not necessarily one that makes the best music
  2. shoehorn their (or others writers') songs into an over-produced album - which of course passes all the key criteria set by their focus groups
  3. strong-arm radio stations into playing the resulting music
  4. charge you and I $15 for the privilege of owning this garbage
The day is coming where a song will work its way from a garage in Columbus Ohio to the front page of iTunes in a matter of weeks - and I can't wait until the music companies have nothing to do with it. Keep in mind I am not anti-business, I am a huge proponent of the free-market and as few business regulations as possible. The music business today is a cartel: they limit the options of the consumer and drive the price higher - that is why they need to simply disappear.

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