What You Need To Know About Record Labels

We love the feeling of being able to trust the ones we love—the feeling of having your mom on the sidelines of your big soccer game as a kid.

A deep bond experienced in a blossoming relationship as an adult. It provides us with a sense of security unparalleled to anything else.

This feeling that we’ve grown up striving towards, the trust in others, is why it can be such a devastating blow to our hearts when we start learning about the music industry’s wicked ways.

Learning to differentiate the industry from the artists we love and care about can be a daunting, sometimes devastating, task.

While massive in monetary gains, the music industry is not quite as diverse as one may think.

This multi-billion-dollar industry has three major record labels that pump out music aimed at one goal, to make big money.

In the music industry, the Warner Music Group, Sony Corporation, and Universal Music are “the big three.” These labels see billions of dollars in revenue, and a large portion of that money goes back into promoting whichever artist they see as being fit for making a profit (Watson, 2019).

You may think that you have eluded the system. You support independent records labels and have an ear to the curb.

However, the largest independent record label goes by the name of Walt Disney Records, perhaps you’ve heard of it, and there is only an estimated “1,560 full-time independent musicians in the U.S.” (Watson, 2019).

On this premise, it’s all too possible that even by supporting independent labels, you contribute to the mass production of cookie-cutter popular music. Sorry.

With the introduction of Napster in 1999, a peer-to-peer file-sharing network, the music industry has adapted to the new-norm of music distribution. By the time Spotify launched in 2008, the music industry had been re-formulated.

Ease of access and speed of consumption became the top priorities. With these changes, the music industry has pushed singles and new artists on us, the consumers, like never before. Programs like Spotify, TikTok, and iTunes have dictated the way that we consume music, but also the way that artists release music. 

These changes mean that each song often does not belong to the artist anymore.

With more co-writers and a plethora of other people involved in each song creation, the recipe for success has become the most elaborate we have ever seen.

All this money put into each song, in turn, justifies marketing efforts to sustain the formula.

This process is why we live in the age of musical bombardment, being subject to new hits and singles like rapid-fire from a machine gun.

Welcome to the new era of the music industry.

Watson, A., 2019. Topic: Record labels. [online] Statista. Available at: <https://www.statista.com/topics/2126/record-labels/&gt; [Accessed 7 February 2021].

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