Reading Response – The dotted line: What do record labels do now?

Working in and around the music industry for the past 8 years has been a very interesting ride. I am a avid music collector and can remember how exciting it was to get in line and wait for an “album” to be released in a store. Bringing it home and listening to it for a few weeks straight was the best thing in the world. Now with the convenience of mp3’s and the internet it collecting music is a lot easier. Yes the satisfaction of going out and buying the actual hard copy is gone but listening is still the same.  Depending on how good your ear is most people do not realize how bad the quality is. Yes the record companies and bands themselves are loosing out on royalties they would make from someone buying the CD. The music industry these days is not about selling records. In this article the author states that most label heads and lawyers acknowledged that pop smashes are what major labels do best; they can still produce records that permeate every night club, taxi, bodega, and drugstore. It is all about image. With the birth of MTV in the 80’s came a whole new side to the music business.  Now acts were being seen. People saw the bands and celebrities in a different light rather than just out on stage. Bands now have to get out there and tour non stop and make appearances and do everything they can outside of the studio to make their money.  It is not strange to see bands belonging to Indie labels are selling out venues like MSG these days. Most bands go Indie just because of the more home like environment. They can work on the music instead of being puppets. They still have access to some of the best producers and studio space in the world.  They are not told what to do as much by executives. There will always be the “pop” music that brings the money in for the larger mother companies.


2 responses to “Reading Response – The dotted line: What do record labels do now?

  1. I couldn’t agree more. Everything seems so digital/ technological mania these days-everything is available in an instant. “Bringing it home and listening to it for a few weeks straight was the best thing in the world.”- Maroon Five (Songs about Jane) album-yeap I did just that. Everything is so different now because of these new devices we call “ipod” and “mp3 players” in which we can only purchase our music from companies like itunes and rhapsody- (we’ve hit an era were walkmans no longer exist-therefore no need of going out and purchasing your favorite albums). In March of 2009 the entire chain of Virgin Megastore’s in the US was permanently shutdown-this was the music store that I found every genre and the experience of just being in a place dedicated to a musical atmosphere has now vanished. Sometimes I feel like a robot when I have to preview my music online and decide whether I want to buy it or not, as to V.M.- I would put on a giant set of headphones in an environment of many selections and pick out which album and track I enjoy and want to purchase. Indie music for me after that became a rare find-their are hardly any record stores that sell that genre. Underground bands forget about those! -Took me months to find “Bring Me The Horizon” album in stores, so I eventually gave up and bought the album on itunes. The music industry now a days are focused too much on “what sells” rather then “what is quality music”. Boy bands are predictable (they lose fame after a few years) and it seems the more you show a specific image like “Lady Gaga” with good music- popularity will hit all over the world, since “we” believe, people like her who appear “different” (literally) are exactly what we strive to be-in an odd sense.

    • While it may be good that artists attitudes and technological advancements are reducing the clout of traditional record labels. we should also consider that the demise of the record store means that we can no longer go to these emporia and “browse” through their selections, discover new artists and genres of music that were made available because a record label took a “risk” on these artists who, being unknown to us, don’t yet have a following.
      I wonder what will be the fate of artists (musicians, writers, film makers, etc.) when we all think that it is ok. to acquire the product of their creative output without paying them for it?
      We have grown to accept as trite and commonplace the sale (and purchase) of “bootleg” dvd’s , downloading of music, etc. that we don’t stop to think of the economic impact of these acts upon the artist and the moral, ethical issues that they should raise for us. However, an argument could be made that artists can “be discovered” or increase his popularity by having his/her performance posted on you tube.

      In the end, as usual, technological advances present us with new challenges and opportunities to re-shape the way we live and transform our societies.


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