What is the primary function of a record label?
My understanding is that record labels currently offer A&R, Marketing and distribution. Labels use to find the next big artists or band, sign them up and give them the support, guidance, development and a gateway to their dreams of one day becoming a mega superstar.
The label would have a team that covered the support, marketing and distribution to get the music in all the major retail stores both online and off-line.
But artists, bands and indeed the music industry have started to question the role of the record label as their A&R can now be questioned as musicians now seem to be signed based on how many Instagram, Facebook and YouTube followers they have and not how good the artists/band are.
Distribution is another question mark, artists and bands can pretty much distribute their own music themselves, using social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Spotify and the many online distribution agencies that claim to get your music in all online retail stores.
I guess record labels do have some purpose, but its minimal and just not the pull anymore for the new artists/band. Don’t get me wrong, we are talking about the business side of music and I assume that most artists/bands do not have an understanding of the business side of music industry and need a label to manage this side as it’s a collective collaboration between the two parties.
So fast forward 10 years from now and the role of a record label; Well I’m guessing that the label will be gone accept for the major labels. The major labels will need to evolve into something new, almost like an agency or publisher that says here’s a contract to release your music through us. This I think will benefit the musician, given them more power.
But as it stands now, it appears that many musicians are getting a raw deal but then, so are many of the smaller labels.