25 May: All Is (Not) Fair In Love and Streaming

Complete Music Update: Artist managers argue that they need to know more detail about the deals done between the labels and the streaming services, so that they can properly audit the streaming royalties their artists receive. This would allow them to better understand the streaming business and advise their clients on which platforms to champion. They could also then be reassured that the value of the booming streaming market is being fairly shared between all…

18 Mar: Ninja Tune’s Peter Quicke: “Spotify is our Biggest Revenue Source”

[PIAS]’s The Independent Echo blog regularly posts wonderful and informative interviews with various record label managers. The latest features Ninja Tune‘s Peter Quicke who has been managing that label for 25 years. It’s always interesting to hear the perspective of a label that once made its bacon through vinyl and CD sales, now that we are well on our way into the streaming age. Says Quicke: Spotify is our biggest revenue source. Would it be…

02 Apr: ‘We Only Sign Artists That We Like As People’

The [PIAS] blog has a very informative interview with Simon Raymonde (known for his distinctive multi-string bass lines with Cocteau Twins) about his experiences running the Bella Union label. This bit of advice should be especially heeded, in my opinion: A few years ago I decided I wouldn’t sign anyone I didn’t like as a person. There’s brilliant bands everywhere. But when you meet a manager who’s an idiot or meet a band and think…

26 Jan: Touring Can’t Save Musicians (But Independence Might)

The New York Times Magazine: In the predigital era, labels profited only from the physical recordings they funded, but as that income began dwindling, a new logic was applied to the artist-label relationship. Labels argued that by promoting the recordings they owned, they were also promoting the artist’s career as a whole, and were entitled to profit from the full spectrum of artist’s revenue streams — the “360 deal,” named for the totality of its…

09 Dec: Sarah Records And The Qualities Of An Enduring Label

An excellent article from London In Stereo on the once maligned (by some) and now revered Sarah Records: In the current era of Bandcamp, everyone has a fighting chance (in theory at least) of taking on the big players. But none of that existed when two people – Clare Wadd and Matt Haynes – operating out of the basement of a terraced house in Bristol (45 Upper Belgrave Road – immortalised in former signing The…

13 Nov: Advice For Budding Label Managers

Josh Rosenthal, Grammy-nominated producer and founder of the Tompkins Square imprint, has a few opinions about what it takes to run a label. I don’t like hiring publicists because I like driving the narrative, having my own relationships, and I like to save money. I’m not convinced that I’ll get incrementally more press by hiring someone. Plus there are very few press hits that actually move the needle. Work your consumer email list. If your…

30 Oct: How Well Does the Factory Model Explain Pop Music?

The Nation: From one musical vogue to another over the years, the notion of pop songs as industrial product has persisted, sometimes taken up by the music makers themselves as a source of pride. Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown Records in Detroit, the then-booming home of the auto industry in its postwar V-8 heyday, had put in time on the assembly line at a Ford plant in Dearborn, Michigan, and he modeled his whole…

16 Oct: Watch: Good Looking Records Documentary From 1996

Here’s a fantastic find that hopefully won’t get pulled offline anytime soon … it’s a BBC documentary from 1996 focusing on Good Looking Records and LTJ Bukem, right on the cusp of their peak. Reminisce: People smoking in clubs! All the DJs playing vinyl! Excited that you can make a track in the studio and play it out a week later, but only after the dubplate is pressed! Worried that your record sales will suffer…

13 Oct: Your Favorite Label In The Age Of Streaming

Hollywood Reporter: Amid some big changes in the music industry, new RCA Records CEO Peter Edge and longtime colleague Tom Corson, who was promoted to president and COO in August, have officially shuttered historic labels Arista and Jive. J Records, launched by Clive Davis in 2000 as an “instant major,” will also see its artists bequeathed to RCA. In the digital age, one might think these closures mean there is little value, awareness or loyalty…

21 Sep: Dream Within A Dream: The Story Of Propaganda (and ZTT)

This online article I ran across about ’80s electronic pop outfit Propaganda also serves as a short warts-and-all early history of ZTT, Trevor Horn’s always intriguing imprint: (Paul) Morley had begun his career as a music writer. Famed for largely spearheading the career of Joy Division through his coverage in the NME, he had, however, in January 1983, immediately prior to receiving Propaganda’s demo, abandoned journalism so that he could concentrate on establishing ZTT (or…