Music industry

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The traditional music industry, whose wealth and status are centered around the distribution and sale of physical copies of recorded works created by third parties (artists) under contract, has long had a history of exploiting the artists whose works it sells.

On top of that, in an age where physical means of distribution are rapidly being superceded by less costly and more effective digitial distribution, the traditional music industry has clung to business models designed around those physical means of distribution, and has doggedly persisted in attempting to mold (by whacking and banging with blunt, non-musical instruments) those new distribution channels into the shapes with which it is familiar, and has engaged in consumer-hostile practices to maintain its position rather than adapting to make the best use of the new tools that are increasingly cheap and available.

Related Pages


Radio promotion is an example of a Power Structure. Radio station owners are given incentive to choose the playlists, rather than allow DJs to pick music solely on merit, because this gives the station greater ability to negotiate with record labels for paybacks. (See, for example: Smash Hits; as recently as August, 2005, Clear Channel radio station "The River" was mentioning such perks in their campaign to attract new advertising representatives.)






  • 2006-01-10 DRM by David Byrne: "Happy New Year. Don’t Buy CDs from the Big 5."
  • 2005-08-10 Smash Hits by Fiona Morgan: "Will the latest payola scandal shake up the radio and music industries?"
  • written by musicians:
    • 2000-06-14 Courtney Love does the math: the classic article by Courtney Love [W], lead singer of Hole and widow of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain, detailing how the music industry gets away with legalized indentured servitude while raking in profits (apparently a transcription of a speech Love gave in New York at the Digital Hollywood online entertainment conference)
    • The Problem With Music by Steve Albini [W]: how bands are screwed or destroyed by the labels