Great expectations? - Page 2

Labelmania: Indie labels ride the ups and downs of buzz and bluster
Sub Pop's Fleet Foxes, lookin' good

It was ridiculous," he e-mails from NOFX's current European tour. "Now only the really good bands can sell a decent amount. That's okay, though. This industry collapse is mostly killing mediocre bands." As for the decline in CD and recorded music sales, the SF road warrior believes that's not going to stop: "The record industry party is over, but great live bands will always do okay."

But what about the groups that can't pick up blogosphere buzz? Both Jacobs and Brown acknowledge the difficulty in developing emerging or even mid-level bands via traditional avenues. Add in the complicating factor of so-called 360 deals, in which a label takes a percentage of all artist revenue in exchange for promotion, and you have what Brown calls a "destructive" outlook. "The bottom line is musicians should get paid," he said. "Forget about how labels are doing — how are musicians doing in this climate?

"I think new ideas really have to come into play, and those have to be based on the quality of life for the musician, not the company that comes up with an application," he continued, touching on the lack of public funds for musicians and lack of official recourse for bands if, for instance, they don't get paid by a club. "It's basic stuff, but it's harder to look past those things. It has to go back to the content provider."

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