Some musings on music business models:
Again it is technology, this time the internet, that will drive an even deeper convergence between music and fashion. If websites such as CD Baby for independent music and iTunes for the major labels and established artists become the new music stores, why can’t cutting edge fashion labels whose websites also reach a worldwide audience, and whose customers crave new music, as well as new fashion, produce and create their own music and sell directly to their customers? Well this has already happened!
Diesel, the Italian based retail clothing chain and fashion label, is a brand that is a fashion brand actively engaging in the music business in an original and significant manner. Diesel has launched its own a music label, Diesel-U-Music.
The choices perhaps are easy for the gospel industry - radio is small, church is big, and booking agents are well paid. Hence, the singers have a network to accomodate live performances and sales at the back of the concert hall as the prime way to promote and survive in a professional career. Who needs Universal and Clear Channel?
The upshot of this discussion? Provided that SOMEBODY performs the intermediary roles of promotion and distribution, an artist can survive very well without a major label. Of course, it is the responsibility of the interested community of artists, fans, and potential entrepeneurs to put the structure together. Jam bands have learned and taught some lessons. But a wider strata of intermediaries still must emerge.