Thursday, October 18, 2012

Trent Reznor Returns To The Big Label Fold

Trent Reznor image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
While we're constantly inundated with opinions that the major labels are on their last legs, that's simply not the case. Though we may yet see another step in the evolution of the majors soon, there's always going to be a place for at least a few of them. Case in point, the return to the major label fold by the poster boy for DIY, Trent Reznor.

Reznor described the reason for his newly minted agreement with Sony Music recently with David Byrne:
The above sounds more like Reznor was more tired of the DIY thing than anything else, and that's fair enough, but the fact of the matter is that the major labels are the only ones that have the infrastructure capable of either elevating an artist to, or maintaining superstardom. If an artist is going to break world-wide, that's still the way to go.

Now I don't want to come off as an apologist for the major labels because I'm far from it. I believe that until you're at a point in your career when you have some leverage, it's best to stay away from a label and do as much as you can yourself. Signing too early does an artist no good. But if you have a measure of success, that means that you can certainly be in a position for not only a better deal, but more attention from the label as well.

Not only that, after doing so much of the grunt work yourself, you're so much better at determining if the label is doing a good job or not, and helping them to do the best they can. It can be a win-win under the right circumstances.

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1 comment:

Craig said...


I've told several artists about Trent's approach to sales that you outlined in Music 3.0.

It's definitely interesting to see him head back the major label route, though I think for up-and-coming acts, or just an act that wants to do a better job of diversifying its offerings to fans, Trent's $5 mp3 to $300 coffee table book approach still has strong merit.

We definitely can't forget that he's already *famous* and can leverage the skill set of the major label to good effect but that's all based on his existing successes.

His other DIY model will, I think, still be a very useful model for hard working non-superstar acts, until they get to a point where they can't handle the complexity of supporting the marketing themselves anymore.


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