Moby Says The Major Record Labels 'Should Die'
from the again dept
Moby is no stranger to speaking out against the major record labels. After the original Jammie Thomas ruling, he spoke out saying that the RIAA should be disbanded. More recently, he’s highlighted how giving away free music has been helpful in making money and pointed out that the major record label’s entire strategy seems based on trying to “make the future die.” So it’s hardly surprising to hear him say that he thinks the major labels should die. Of course, that’s just the quip that gets the attention. His full statement is a lot more nuanced and relevant:
“There was a time when the music business was incredibly monolithic and there were only two ways to get your music heard: sign to a major label, get your music played on MTV and get it played by big radio stations,” Moby continued. “Thank God, that period has come to an end… Signing to a major, for 99.9% of the musicians on the planet, is the worst thing they could do… They’ve treated musicians badly. They’ve treated fans badly. They’ve treated the music badly, most importantly. For that reason, they either need to reinvent themselves or die quietly.”
And that’s the key point. They don’t have to “die.” They could reinvent themselves, but they’ve shown little indication that they’re really interested in doing so. But the earlier point is also important: in the past you needed a major label deal to be successful. They were the gatekeeper. These days, you no longer need such a deal. A record label deal could still make sense for some artists if the labels are smart about things, and can actually help enable those artists, but artists now have a lot more options — and signing to a traditional record label, where you basically sign over everything for what’s effectively a pretty small loan, is not a very good business move.
I think we’ll see a lot more interesting label deals start appearing, where the musicians actually have a lot more leverage and are able to relegate the labels to being supporting players, rather than the main dogs. So far, the majors have been resisting those types of deals, but I think they’ll have to start caving pretty soon if they want to survive.