Independent Labels Eye New Business Models in the Digital Era

August 30, 2016Articles Performer Magazine

Tim Mandelbaum authored the Performer Magazine article, "Independent Labels Eye New Business Models in the Digital Era."

Cutting deals in the music industry used to be a straightforward affair. Like a cookie cutter, one deal usually looked just like the next and all of the key players — artists, managers, record labels, agents and distributors – knew their places.  And for an independent label, that meant negotiating an agreement, often with one of the 5 or 6 companies with national reach, for the manufacturing and distribution of the label’s music to ALL outlets considered to be “normal retail channels.”

Welcome to Digital Age, which feels like the Wild West, where file sharing has been surmounted by downloading, which has been surpassed by streaming, where subscription competes with freemium, and where the rules are being rewritten on the spot and news breaks almost daily about newfangled ways of doing business.

For some, this is an exciting and potentially very lucrative time. Independent record labels are taking more control of their own fates. And the recent tumultuous nature of the music industry is creating market forces that will only enhance this trend.

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