Check out the article in Fortune Magazine titled
‘Big musicians flex their muscle with record labels’. Jeff Kwatinetz, CEO of the Firm says he is trying to diversify the Firm into a company that not only manages music clients but can produce and promote their records and oversee publishing, touring, and merchandising. He says this is what record companies did in the 1960s and ’70s.
After meeting with various labels, Ice Cube one of the Firms clients chose to release his record himself. Ice Cube felt it was only fair that he own the music and reap all the profit from its sale in the U.S.
“We have ring-tone checks coming in. We’ve licensed music to TV shows. We’ve licensed music to films. It all goes into his pocket.”Says Kwatinetz.
Radiohead’s contract with EMI’s Capitol label has expired, and the band seems to be in no rush to sign a new one. In July, Thom Yorke, Radiohead’s lead singer, released a solo album, “The Eraser,” on an indie label. It was promoted on the homepage of Apple’s (Charts) iTunes Music Store and became the No. 2 record on the Billboard 200 without a major label.
Record sales became so profitable that the labels gave up their revenue streams from ticket and T-shirt sales. Napster came along and CD sales plummeted. Kwatinetz argues that now these same companies are so focused on making their quarterly results from album sales that they can no longer build long-term careers for their artists.
Let’s put this all together. If your a megastar or use to be a megastar with somewhat of a fan base, then yes, you don’t need a major label given you have enough capital. The same platforms labels use (I Tunes, MTV, Internet) to launch artists are available to anybody. The problem isn’t with megastar artists, the problem remains with new artists.