Research Cluster 2

Conceptual: If music labels are not outdated in terms of their music production capabilities, why have they not been phased out? Is music produced for the music itself, or the branding of the musician?




    1. New technologies eliminate the need for record labels
      1. Potts, Liza. “Amanda Palmer and the #LOFNOTC: How Online Fan Participation Is Rewriting Music Labels.” Participations, Participations, Nov. 2012,
        1. “ labels have used the strategy of aggressively trying to control content, individual artists have found success in leveraging technology to remove these barriers between artists and their audiences.”
        2. Case Study: Amanda Palmer working around her labels.
          1. Works with idea that
        3. Branding is able to done through social media, without the usage of music labels
          1. “The Record Labels Of The Future Are Already Here”
            1. “ native branding on social media sites, perhaps at the expense of immediate incremental revenue.”


  • Amanda Palmer “In addition to her own blog, website, and forum, Palmer has a presence across numerous social sites such as Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Instagram, and MySpace. An earlier adopter, she has quickly learned how to move across these spaces, communicating with her fans, distributing her materials to them, and sharing their work with a wider audience.


        1. However, there is still need for capital for this investment

Iv. Peters, Luke. “How Evolving Tech Has Changed Music Production.” TechCo, TechCo, 25 Jan. 2016,

1.“Current technology makes it easier for a musician to produce their own music, but used correctly is can also help a musician promote themselves and earn money. There are even some benefits, like that a musician no longer has to compete with other artists for shelf space in a store, nor do they worry about distributors or producers. Physical record sales are becoming less viable as the years go on, but a musician can earn money by streaming music, earning royalties and signing licenses, or even by teaching music through online tutorial.

  1. Phasing out these labels could be the solution to the lowered profit in music industry.
    1. Large costs of recording an working through a label
    2. Masonic, Mike. “RIAA Accounting: Why Even Major Label Musicians Rarely Make Money From Album Sales.” Techdirt, Tech Dirt, 13 July 2010,
      1. the label is still straight up cashing 63% of every sale, which does not go towards making up the advance.
  2. Yet these labels still exist
    1. Labels are providing the branding of artists, which sells, not the actual music
      1. Counter example: Amanda Palmer
        1. Branding herself with social media, without the usage of music labels
        2. Supports the idea that the brand of music is being sold, rather than the content.
        3. Extension -Luke peters
          1. “By eliminating the necessity of a third party (the record label) musicians are now able to deal directly with their audience. This brings with it benefits and conflicts, as creative control is returned to musicians they also find themselves responsible for the business side of the music industry. Self-promotion has never been more important, but it’s also never been easier or cheaper. Social media and online advertisement are powerful sources to those in the entertainment space.”
      2. Labels are necessary in artist development and exposure
        1. Hu, Cherie. “The Record Labels Of The Future Are Already Here.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 18 Oct. 2016,
        2. “Labels spend as much as 15.6% of their revenue on artist development”
        3. RIAA ACCOUNTING –
          1. “It starts off with a band getting a massive $1 million advance, and then you follow the money:

What happens to that million dollars?

They spend half a million to record their album. That leaves the band with $500,000. They pay $100,000 to their manager for 20 percent commission. They pay $25,000 each to their lawyer and business manager.

That leaves $350,000 for the four band members to split. After $170,000 in taxes, there’s $180,000 left. That comes out to $45,000 per person.

That’s $45,000 to live on for a year until the record gets released.”

    1. Has music’s deeper meaning disappeared?
      1. Increase in number of singles relative to albums
      2. Bands are more pressured to be monetarily motivated
    2. Has music always been about selling an experience rather than the content? (CONNECT TO EXPERIENCE WITH DIFFERENT PLATFORMS)
      1. “The Record Labels Of The Future Are Already Here.”
        1. “Historically, artists often carried stronger brands than the labels supporting them (e.g. more listeners recognize “Grimes” versus “4AD,” or “Arcade Fire” versus “Merge Records”). In the future, labels could market their own brands more aggressively, instead of relying on a handful of artists from their roster.”


LOOK AT “UNDERSTANDING THE MUSIC INDUSTRY BOOK” does not fit this particular lens, but very useful for large scope of essay.


Significance: I am still slightly unsure what topic my thesis is going to tackle, but as I do more research I am leaning towards exploring what the music industry is selling music, or the experience of music, with all of its corresponding self imaging. This research cluster really starts to tackle these questions

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s