General Record label defections by major acts a troubling sign for recording industry

The Helper

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When Brit-rock veterans Radiohead decided to self-publish their next album online, it was a bucket of ice-cold water over the heads of EMI, Sony BMG, Warner Music, and all the rest of the old-school industry elephants. It was also the starting shot for other artists to do the same, inspired by a respected band's first leap of faith into a brave new world.

It's already a trans-Atlantic phenomenon. Trent Reznor of Cleveland-based Nine Inch Nails is calling his band a "free agent, free of any recording contract with any label," and envisions a more intimate relationship with his audience as a result.

And it doesn't stop there. Now with two top-notch acts in the game, others are sure to follow as their contracts expire or come up for renegotiation. Jamiroquai and Oasis don't have contracts at the moment, and rumor has it that these acts might be the next to follow Radiohead and NIN out of the established record industry traditions. The new era likely won't have the plethora of the restrictions that give both consumers and bands migraine headaches today.

 
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