Interesting piece from the BBC, courtesy of Herdmeister:
The music industry say that they can’t develop new acts. Well, I’m not sure we need them to. “Developing new acts” often means “finding acts that sound like someone else that’s broken through.” Maybe not if you’re Bella Union, but most labels aren’t Bella.
The main reason we don’t need their help is because recording has become so cheap. We’ve never needed label help to define a sound – not really. The only help we’ve needed is recording dollars. Because recording used to mean going through a half a million dollars’ worth of equipment.
But the current vogue for music that sounds basic – Fleet Foxes included – reduces the requirements for recording. At home I have a set up worth a few hundred quid. That plus a laptop, and I can basically record an album which would be of releasable quality. (I may not have the talent to use it, but then there are a lot of people out there who do, and who are hungry for work.)
In fact, that right there is the real problem. What the current vogue for downloading IS doing is harming the prospects of good quality producers. Studios have been shutting down at a scary rate. Those that remain are offering recording space, with engineers, for hugely reduced rates.
So don’t spare a tear for labels that don’t think they can develop new acts. But do worry about the livelihood of the producers, and the studios – the people that really do create new sounds.