Indie Music Labels Team Up To Get Their Own Cut Of Money Being Thrown Around From Google & Microsoft

from the not-such-a-good-thing dept

Ethan Bauley writes in to point out that a bunch of independent music labels are teaming up to act as a single entity to secure their own licensing deals with sites like MySpace and YouTube. The major labels have been able to convince folks like YouTube to give them a bunch of equity in return for not suing, but we've wondered how that would impact the independent labels. The same question came up when Microsoft agreed to give money to record labels for every Zune sold. In both cases, there were lots of questions about who actually got money and how much they received. While having a bunch of independent labels team up to sign such deals may make sure they're at least at the table, it's not clear it's really such a good idea. All it does is reinforce the big label's flawed plans for squeezing extra money out of places where they really have no legitimate claim for money -- and, if anything, it may make the independent labels less likely to experiment with more innovative business models that leave the major labels behind. It also doesn't actually solve the problem of figuring out who gets how much money. It just shifts the problems from YouTube, MySpace, Microsoft and others to the labels themselves. As Bauley points out, it's nice that the independent labels are making the need for the big labels increasingly obsolete, but it's not clear if simply linking up a bunch of independents to pretend they're also a big label is really the best way to go. Focusing more on innovative business models that recognize the value of happy fans and the promotional value of music (and how to capitalize on it) seems like a much better long-term survival plan.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    The infamous Joe, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 9:31am

    A rose by another name..

    What, exactly, is the difference between the RIAA and a bunch of Indie labels making a group?

    Isn't the RIAA just a group of labels?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Bob, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 9:32am

    If they were smart

    If they were smart then we'd see some group of Indies make a deal for something other than equity... say exclusive front page promotions and the like. Build a loyal fan base and the money would not only start rolling in but keep it up and the big boys would have nothing left but their RIAA suits.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 9:41am

    I can't wait until the RIAA sues a Zune owner and the person uses the fact that the labels received payment from the manufacturer to claim that the music was licensed.

    If the legal maneuver worked, it could be a huge boon to Zune sales...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Sanguine Dream, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 9:56am

    Absolute power

    This sounds like a "me too" move. Yes the RIAA are a bunch of greedy sharks that are only concerned with lining their own pockets but if the indie lables form their own **AA then what is to keep them from simply picking up where the RIAA left off?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 10:03am


    just more proof no one has any clue where the money is actually gonna come from in the future...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 11:02am

    The indies: "We want our own private police force of jack booted attorneys suing our customers and calling them criminal while we trample the concept of fair use!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    DittoBox, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 11:52am

    Re: A rose by another name..

    The RIAA is certifiably Evil.

    We've yet to see what a consortium of indie labels will do, after all they're independent for a reason.

    Of course give anything any amount of power, and it will never give that power back. Let's not judge them too quickly or too harshly though...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Bumbling old fool, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 12:15pm

    ... I dont get it..

    I just don't get it.

    How can you be "Indie" without being independant?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Ethan, Jan 22nd, 2007 @ 3:27pm

    Re: A rose by another name..

    For infamous joe,

    Each of the 4 majors acts as its own licensing 'association of labels', as they are basically a huge holding company of copyrights to record catalog.

    The riaa doesn't directly license music, it is the lobbying group.

    This merlin thing would be like a one stop shop for licensing independent's the same as, if you wanted to write one license for a huge amount of artists, (50 Cent, Al Green, Blues Traveler, Elvis Costello, etc), you would just go to Universal Music Group. A one stop shop.

    This indie conglomerate would be like that for indie labels...they are going to hope to get all the indies [all the way down the 'long tail,' probably] focused in one place to facilitate writing licenses a la the YouTube deal to all the platform places using musical content.

    Some folks, like Bob Lefsetz are arguing for some kind of compulsory P2P/sharing licenses, which makes a lot of sense to me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    lollypopcherries, Mar 1st, 2007 @ 5:00am

    Thanx a lot for the very interesting info. It's like a breath of fresh air for fans, suffocated with massive pop attack:) Want to compile perfect playlists? mp3 songis a site where one can compile perfect playlists. A cushy spot for a music addict!
    I always try to follow the recent news and find many worthy things:)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    dean, Mar 16th, 2007 @ 7:03am

    great project

    Great project, thus they intend to form "the fifth media" - well, cute alternative to mainstream. Thanks for the article Always search the web for cool music ftp mp3 is a site where one can compile perfect playlists. A cushy spot for a music addict!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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