Recently I read (in more than one place) about netlabels, so I decided to take a deeper look at it, and try to better understand what's behind it. A netlabel works like a traditional record label, producing and promoting music projects. But similarities ends here, since they are different in a matter of formats and economics:
A netlabel distributes is music in digital audio format, online. Netlabels don't produce plastic, all their music is available somewhere in the net, in a mp3 or ogg format. And you can have them for free, it's yours to get it.
So, where is the money, someone could ask. Well, netlabels are in the business of creating brands, for themselves and for the bands they represent. And brands create value, so their business is to earn money from concerts and merchandising.
The question that arises immediately is, will they get it? The recent cases of the Artic Monkeys and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah says that there is a possibility. What I know is, that this way, more people can try, so we will have a lot of music to choose from, and those who are really good, will prevail. Like Nathan Torkington wrote in an article for O'Reilly Radar:
In the beginning, musicians were performers, who didn't need a perfect technique so long as they had the carry their live shows. When recording was invented, performers complained that the recording technology captured all their technical flaws and none of their charisma, and the infernal devices would put them out of business. Recordings created a new class of musician, people who sounded great on vinyl/tape/CD even if they had the stage presence of a wet fish and their live shows sucked. Now we see the value of a recorded piece of music heading to zero and that same class of hot picking wet fish is complaining because increasingly the only way to make money out of music is to perform live (which they suck at, remember).
You can find a lot of netlabels in the Netlabel Catalogue, but I decided to compile a list of portuguese netlabels.
- Necrosymphonic Entertainment
- Test Tube
- Yellow Bop Records
- You Are Not Stealing Records
If you know more netlabels, or know a place with this list is already set, please tell me about it in the comments section.
Update 2: just found this netlabel, wolf+lamb, who made is entire site code available for anyone who wants to release a similar service. This could be a major boost in the netlabel business.