Record labels regularly coordinate strategic free downloads of for-profit music as a marketing tool. The file-sharing dilemma is complicated, but one thing is certain: while it certainly depletes the label’s financial resources, it hurts the artists’ earnings as well—big time.
The label vs. artist narrative is, itself, bogus. The best labels provide tactical support, capital, and necessary resources to artists, many of whom would be frustrated, ripped off, or simply ignored if left to build comparable support systems from scratch. There are exceptions, of course, but most are either veteran “name” artists or entrepreneurs.
For years now, there has been an open infatuation with the idea that music should be “free.” This is simplistic thinking. Because not only is “free” not free, but the loss of revenue incurred by “free” triggers a frantic search for additional compensation elsewhere.
I believe that it’s a good idea for artists to know their business. Any good label’s mission should include sharing information as to how money is made, spent, and lost with its artists.” —
Another problem with the tech press leading the way on music-related punditry: They tend to forget that there are, you know, actual people involved in each step of the music-making process. And that includes people employed by record labels, who have a vested interest in helping the artists whose music they are involved in releasing.
I wish I could agree. I actually love holding, and owning, those bits of plastic.