No one except label executives actually like major record labels, but Win Butler from the band Arcade Fire chimed in with his opinion on the music business’s biggest conglomerates.
In a recent interview with UK Newspaper The Independent, Butler said,
“The major label music industry has completely ruined every aspect of their business.
At every step of the way they’ve had the tools offered to them to create an industry that works, and they’ve completely blown it.
That’s why we never had any interest in signing a contract with one of these companies because they’re clearly completely clueless.”
What’s interesting about the quote above is that Arcade Fire actually has a distribution deal with a major label.
Here’s what a writer at the DIY Musician Blog by CDBaby had to say:
I’m sharing Butler’s quote not because it’s a revelation about the modern music biz, but because I still hear from musicians all the time whose sights are set almost exclusively on getting signed to a major label. I find that surprising in 2015.
For more than a decade, artists have been aware of the economics: with rare exceptions labels don’t want to sign you until you’ve proven you can make them a lot of cash; but once you’ve proven that (by developing a loyal following and building a team of promoters, publicists, and managers around you) why would you need a label?
It’s not secret, that we here at Deviant Noise often echo the sentiment of the blogger above. Major labels aren’t necessarily needed for success in the music business.
But it can definitely make it easier. And there’s no denying the fact that if you want Lady Gaga / Beyonce status, you’re going to need the majors’ music marketing machine working at full capacity for you.
But there’s some truth to what Butler is saying. The record labels have fought technology at every turn. And that’s not the way a business survives into the future. You have to embrace technology and make it work within a new business model and paradigm.
We’re still trying to figure out what that paradigm is. One day soon, though, someone will be VERY rich for figuring out how to effectively monetize music again.