Re: Provoke Change
With the up and coming importance of Independent Record Labels who are able to adjust to the market much more flexibly than the Major companies (because they don't work on a salary basis and generally work piecemeal) there will hopefully be a resurgence in an actual tliason between the label and the artist rather than through largely lawyers and those who don't understand music other than as a business.
The Majors have shot themselves in the foot by charging so much for CD's. In the UK it costs on average around £10 to buy an album, it can be significantly more and realistically ranges from £5 (which is reasonable) to £16 (which is not). A large percentage of those downloading are teenagers with little or no income and as a result the prices they are willing to spend are reflective to the income they have. In a lot of cases, this is simply nothing.
Radiohead can go and offer an album for free, they have the kind of financial resources to be able to do this, but even so, they probably made FAR more money on the sales of their last albums than the sales of even OK Computer as a result of the royalties going DIRECTLY to the artist and not to the corporate middlemen. This solves two problems: first the price of the music in the first place and secondly the artist income doesn't suffer as a result. Obviously Radiohead are an extreme example because of the profile they have built is largely reliant on their marketing from EMI in the first place - but with the popularity of the Internet, for the first time, Independent artists and labels have the same marketing power as the Majors. There is no problem with publicising bands provided it is done properly; and the Independent Label model allows for this with great flexibility.
Essentially, I'm saying two things. Firstly, I hope the majors die off soon and take their business models and greed elsewhere, maybe the ice cream market for all I care; they are notorious for screwing the Artists in their rosters and distributing money away from the creative element on which they rely on in the first place. Secondly, the Independent market is the way forward and there is no good reason now why this can't be so. In theory they could charge less by cutting out the middlemen of music and still make a healthy profit to sign and promote new acts and STILL provide the artist with a fair royalty deal.