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December 27, 2005

“Devolution” of Distribution [12:06 pm]

Music label forsakes CDs [pdf]

[Ex-Devo frontman Gerald Casale's] new music is distributed by Cordless Recordings, a new breed of label that has dumped CDs and other traditional formats in favor of offering music only online.

The strategy is meant to cut the cost of catapulting a new artist to fortune and fame by tapping the medium where young fans are finding music.

”When you look at the cost of a major label signing an artist, it costs about a half-million dollars,” said Jac Holzman, who founded Elektra Records in 1950 and now oversees Cordless, a unit of Warner Music Group. He said Cordless does it for ‘’significantly less,” but wouldn’t be more specific.

Even in today’s iPod-centered music scene, it’s hard to say how far the all-digital strategy might take an artist. There’s no CD box, no liner notes, and very little in the way of traditional promotion.

But one thing’s for sure: Sales of digital music are growing.

Later: The Net Is a Boon for Indie Labels

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