Record labels have been slow to adapt their business models in the face of a changing technological and competitive environment, implementing new ideas in limited areas in limited quantities. On the other hand, bands that have shunned record labels are -- often quite successfully -- figuring out new ways to make a living. The band Harvey Danger, which had a one-hit wonder several years ago, has gotten back together and moved forward without a record label, deciding to let people download its newest album for free in hopes of maximizing the number of people that will hear their music and potentially become fans. It then makes money by selling physical CDs, t-shirts and other items. The band acknowledges that the name recognition its hit single affords it gives it a big advantage over unknown acts offering free music, but it realizes that to succeed, it needs to cultivate and maintain a fan base, and removing any barriers to that will only help, even if it means giving up what meager returns they do see from selling their CDs through a record label. Of course the band isn't the first to go down this route, but it's another example of how free music can benefit musicians. Of course, the interests of record labels don't always coincide with the interests of the artists on their rosters.
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