It now seems that major labels Sony Music, Warner Music, EMI and Universal Music no longer have a firm grip on the artist or the industry, and the old model of doing business their way is a thing of the past.
On the forefront of an ever-changing music industry, is Brian Message, manager of the alternative band Radiohead. Brian Message along with co-founders, Adam Driscoll, chief executive of the British media company MAMA Group, and Terry McBride, founder of the Vancouver-based management firm Nettwerk Music Group and former manager of Barenaked Ladies, have united to form the new business venture, Polyphonic. Polyphonic will look to invest in new and rising unsigned artists and then help them create a sound relationship with their audiences over the Internet. Artists will operate like start-up companies, record their own music, and choose outside contractors to handle their publicity, merchandise and touring. The Polyphonic founders plan to invest $300,000 in each band. The firm will then guide the musician and manager who will function a little like the band’s chief executive, to services that will help promote the artist’s online presence.
Polyphonic and similar firms are seen as a risky investment by private investors. For the founders of Polyphonic, giving back to the independent community, and mentoring the new artist or band appears to outweigh that risk. Success is all about giving back. Witnessing the dedication and commitment to the independent community by those that go before you is a valuable lesson in filling the gap between artist and label – a practice we should all remember!
Source: New York Times, 2009/07/22