Rather Than A Record Label, How About A Musical Affinity Group?
from the bringing-it-all-together dept
I was reminded of this a bit, two years ago, when Topspin's CEO, Ian Rogers, penned an open letter to Guy Hands, the head of (struggling) EMI, suggesting that rather than think of itself as a "record label" focused on promotion and distribution (two things that are easier and cheaper than ever before), it could instead focus on being the smart filter for music listeners today, struggling to find the music they love amidst so much musical abundance in the world. The suggestion was to take some of the key, iconic, bands under the EMI roof, and put them under affinity-based "mini-labels" with other less well known bands, that would appeal to people who liked the more well known band. It seemed like a great idea, which, of course, EMI has not done.
I'm thinking of both of these things now, as I read an open letter written by Bruce Warila at MusicThinkTank of what letter he would write to all bands on his roster if he ran a record label today -- and it's somewhat similar to what's described above. The label would build up a brand of its own, to bring together a bunch of affinity bands/musicians, and present them together -- thereby acting as an affinity filter. Of course, related to that, he would also shift strategies to give the bands true ownership of both their own works, and a piece of this overarching "venture," -- even allowing them to take their works elsewhere if they're not comfortable with how things proceed.
To be honest, I'm really surprised we haven't seen more of this. To date, there are some small, independent affinity labels, but they haven't really put together much of a comprehensive strategy. On top of that, there are various recommendation engines online, from Last.fm to Pandora and such, but that's not quite the same thing, and don't really take advantage of much more than recommending songs or artists you might like. This concept is about taking that even further, and building a real community of affinity around a group of artists that fans might like. It seems like a powerful idea.