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Wednesday, March 26, 2014


  There are some things an indie can't do that a major label can do as a matter of course. For example, if a band wants to paint a ten story mural for an album announcment party, a major label can do that.  If a band wants to spend a quarter of a million dollars on recording expenses, a major label can foot the bill. If a band wants to play Saturday Night Live, or perform on the Tonight Show, a major label can make that happen.  A major label can get your CD into Target and Best Buy and Wal-Mart. A Major Label will fly you to several European capitals to do press months before the album comes out.  Want to play a headlining set a major US festival? Probably going to need a major label.

  And you, know, there's nothing wrong with any of that. If the goal is to sell a minimum of hundreds of thousands of records and success measured by sales in the millions, a seven story mural in dtla makes a certain amount of sense.  But, you know, if you look at all those things the major labels can do- there are some important parts of distributing the record that are available without a major label, including, importantly, "distributing a record digitally world wide" AND "getting you physical product into every important non-corporate record store in the entire world."

 Another important record company function that is not specific to major labels now is the ability to reach an advertising audience in the millions.  When music advertising largely consisted of print magazines and music distribution was handled through department stores owned by large corporations, the advantages to releasing on a major label extended to the marketing and distribution of the record.

  If you run a "bare bones" independent record label that has access to world wide physical distribution in independent record stores and digital distribution, the music business is "worth while" with sales of a specific record in the thousands, and can be non-ruinous even with sales measured in the hundreds.

  This lowering of the stakes is the evolutionary equivalent of large dinosaurs being gradually replaced by smaller mammals. So Haunted Hearts, Initiation is an example of all these principles in action.  While Haunted Hearts is obeying the dictates of the music industry "farmers almanac" in terms of timing, it remains, essentially, two artists speaking directly to their fans with no label intermediary.

   The self control of the means of production by the artists imbues the resulting work with ethical values that are frankly superior to those evinced by major labels. Superior in the same way that non animal tested products are superior to those that are tested on animals, or the way that organic produce is superior to non organic produce.  Better for the consumer, better for the producer, better for the environment.  Which is not the same as saying major labels are bad or evil because they are not, they are businesses and corporations and those things simply are as they are.

 Large businesses with hundreds of employees formed as corporations will behave in a certain way, and it is a way that rewards economic success and punishes economic failure independent of any kind of artistic merit. An artist, or artists, controlling the same type of tools that major labels use for distribution, is radically, radically different then product created by the major labels themselves.


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