Since the implosion of major record label business model, a lot of us DIY artists have tried to suss out a new way to release music, without the legal and commercial restrictions of record labels. When Sistersound started out, there was no Internet, believe it or not. So much has changed. Companies with their schemes and ideas have come and gone. Many small companies have attempted to create a new market for distributing music. Some have sought to skim profit off the backs of artists, in much the same way as traditional big business record labels, ironically offering less service than traditional labels and distributors do. Others have actually made efforts to bring the profit distribution a little closer to starving artists, by cutting out many of the middle men.
We think differently about music today. DIY is no longer underfunded rebellion, it’s a streamlined way of producing art. Music has always been a conversation between an artist and a listener. 20 years ago, music was a game of telephone, the message getting obfuscated as it passed from artist to label to distributor to store to listener. Fans voices too were filtered before reaching an artist. With the Internet, message boards, Twitter, et al, those days are over. Finally, the conversation between musician and listener is again an intimate one.
Over these last 15 years, we’ve seen a lot of solutions for bridging this gap and making DIY distribution a reality. The label is arguably irrelevant, unless it’s run by you or your friend and service your local scene, the way Sub Pop once did. The new juggernauts are your iTunes, Amazon, and Googles of the world. They are the new majors. Not major labels but major distributors. There are a host of scrappy startups that are trying to circumvent these majors. At present time, Bandcamp seems to be the best way to release an album digitally. It’s better for the listener, with uncompressed audio downloads. It’s also better for the band, offering a fair cut of the profit. In the spirit of being modern, here’s some music available through Bandcamp. This is by no means a finished album, nor is it for sale, but it’s a taste of something that’s been in the works for years.