Women in Technology

Hear us Roar



Weblog:   The Numbers: Can Indie Labels Really Make Money Through Downloads? Part 2
Subject:   Small Independents
Date:   2005-12-21 12:47:12
From:   dannyo_152_redux
Having read the original and the follow-up, I think the assumption I would challenge is about getting product into the stores and buying advertising. As someone who was doing original music in the late 80s, my observation is that an independent label relies on the artists to co-promote and market via performance, mailing lists, and (nowadays) web sites. Direct marketing (and mail order back in the day) to prior customers when the independent signs compatible artists for a specific genre is far more cost effective than trying to reach those customers through retail outlets.


Now thinking about baseball teams in the dark days of the reserve clause, minor and major league teams also realized revenues through selling contracts to bigger, wealthier teams. To look at revenue as strictly items downloaded or in retail misses the other opportunities to realize revenue. An independent record company should perhaps keep in mind Sam Phillips and Sun Records (or the Chess Brothers or other regional independents) who found talent, recorded single after single to see what hits, and then profited on the sale of the masters and recording contract. Let's also note that it's easier to find the capital for a two song session than for an entire album's worth of recording, let alone the issue of how quickly can a band write and record 10 great tracks.


The road for independents has always been rough. My sense is that a developing model of digital single downloads holds more flexibility for an independent than the old model where vinyl or shiny disks are pressed and held in inventory waiting for a possible customer. Independents are supposed to be closer to the street, doesn't digital offer a more rapid way to respond to demand?

Full Threads Newest First

Showing messages 1 through 1 of 1.

  • Spencer Critchley photo Small Independents
    2005-12-22 05:59:37  Spencer Critchley | O'Reilly Blogger [View]

    Interesting points. I agree that indies have to focus more on live performance and other alternatives, and I hope the increased flexibility of digital ends up enabling a more indie-friendly environment, which I think may come about as people figure out how to adapt business models. The resale of contracts is something I hadn't given much attention to. Thanks!

Showing messages 1 through 1 of 1.