Thursday, January 26, 2006

Who cares if the labels go under?

We keep talking about the downfall of the major record labels. Yes, it is possible that these labels will fall. But I think it is naive of any of us to think that the fall of these labels would give rise to a bunch of small independent studios putting out a bunch of new and never before heard greats. If the major labels fall, then they will be replaced with the independent labels that step up and make the move.

We discussed in class about the growing demand for independent companies and how people are beginning to use these companies to put out music at lower costs. Well, if this demand grows, so will the cost. If the major labels go under, and the demand/cost of the independents goes up, what do we think will happen to these independent companies? They will soon grow to corporate giants who control the industry and we are right back to square one. I just feel that the markets work this way, so the fall of the major labels won't change a thing.

5 Comments:

Blogger Dave said...

The real worry, in my view, is whether there is now potential for market failure because of the influence of the major labels upon IP laws. If the current major labels can exert themselves forcefully enough, I don't know if the market will work in reaction to changing demand and ideas and bring the demise of the current giants, or if instead the market will be dictated by the current labels to stifle new emerging technology that harm their current corporate structure but would be beneficial to society.

In the end I'm saying that the demise of current major labels, even if it brings about new major labels, will probably result in better integration of emerging technologies such as the Internet, whereas the survival of major labels might lead to the stifling of these same technologies. If this theory is accurate, then I guess I care if the labels go under.

11:42 AM  
Blogger Ashik Jahan said...

Going along with what Dave and Syed said, if the major labels are hindering the advancement of technology and new media, then i'm all for the market adjusting to cause their collapse. This would allow other independent labels to become the "new major labels," only this time they'd bring with them the new technologies that brought them them to the top. Regardless, in my opinion the market will always adjust to what the consumer wants, and hindering development of technologies means these older labels already have one foot in the grave.

12:12 PM  
Blogger Syed Ali said...

"In my opinion the market will always adjust to what the consumer wants, and hindering development of technologies means these older labels already have one foot in the grave."

The market will adjust. This could cause the demise of the major labels or it could push the major labels to make changes in order to keep up with the current demand. These labels are not run by idiots who can't see that a change is necessary. They may be slow, but they may make changes. If not, they'll fall and rightfully so. Then along comes the new corporate giants and they begin to stifle technological advancements, until they fall and are replaced. I agree with all that, but we were talking in class about the demise of the big labels and how this will help improve the quality of music we hear, in the sense that we will no longer be told who is a star, what to listen to and basically being brainwashed into seeing talent in musicians where no talent exists (Ashlee Simpson). If the major labels fall, this problem will not be fixed. It will just be redirected and continued by new companies.

12:55 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

"If the major labels fall, this problem will not be fixed. It will just be redirected and continued by new companies."

Good point. However, ideally this problem would not be as great in the next wave of companies, I guess.

I still think the biggest issue here is the worry that the big labels may wield enough political power to prevent their demise/adaptation to new technology. Maybe I'm just paranoid, though...

1:18 PM  
Blogger Scott Walker said...

I agree, to a point, with Syed. I think the major labels will try to prevent change through their considerable political influence until they have a chance to adapt to and exploit the emerging technologies. However, due to the market not being stagnant, this will prove unfruitful for them. It simply takes too long for an entity the size of the major labels to change their (business) model quickly enough to adapt at the rate of technology. Where my perspective diverges from Syed's is that I believe those major labels which will remain in business, will have to do so through the acquisition of the smaller labels. The acquisitions will not be just in form, I think the major labels which acquire the smaller ones will adapt to the techniques and technology that make the smaller label successful. To that end, "factory produced" music stars will no longer exist (at least not the way in which we think of them). In other words, digital killed the video star.

10:02 AM  

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