"Indie Label" label does more harm than good
POSTED ON 4/10/2006 | PERMALINK |0 Comments | BOOKMARK

"Another, eMusic, is focused on independent labels, and we’ve removed it from the comparison even though it offers DRM-free music at an attractive price ($0.25 per song). eMusic is an awesome service - the side-by-side table comparison didn’t give it the credit it deserves."
That's a quote from a piece at TechCrunch, where a number of online music stores/services are compared. eMusic does not qualify to be ranked, even though it is more popular than many of the nine stores compared. It has a large library. Its audio files work on every player in existence. It offers higher quality than most, if not all, other services. And, perhaps most importantly, it's cheaper than the other services.

But it's "only" independent labels. So it's written off. I'm not quite sure why people work so hard to marginalize indies. Much of that magnetization comes from "indie" people themselves. Why don't we take a look at artists available on eMusic's indie labels:1
  • Johnny Cash
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Van Morrison
  • Coldplay
  • John Coltrane
  • Ray Charles
  • Nine Inch Nails
  • Lil' Jon
  • Ying Yang Twins
  • Interpol
  • Charlie Daniels Band
  • Abba
  • Miles Davis
  • John Denver
  • Dwight Yokum

This aren’t exactly no-name artists nor is there anything so "indie" about them that they need to be sequestered. In fact, it makes little sense to refer to their indie status at all. It does the artists, and potential listeners, a great disservice when people insist on dividing artists into two groups.

eMusic is smart to distribute the music of these labels. And this business model really best serves the artists and their labels. But the audience and their self-congratulatory "independent spirit" need to reconsider their isolationism. Here's what matters: good music, proper artist compensation, and respect for the consumer.

TechCruch saw fit to leave out eMusic, even when it chose to include the extremely shady, if not entirely illegal, AllofMP3. Sadly, many of the music fans who should be opposed to this sort of thing are guilty of the same behavior.

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