Wednesday, 10 March 2004

Goodbye label, goodbye

With all this consolidation in the music industry going on, it's not too surprising to see that artist rosters aren't the only things being trimmed.

News is out this week of BMG hacking and consolidating labels from their stable (including Clive Davis' venerable Arista!) as well as the newly Canadian-controlled Warner Music looking to prune imprints from its' list.

This all harkens back to the Universal reshuffle shortly after their take over of Polygram. Island became part of the Def Jam stable, as U2 obviously sit together with rap music.

The cynic could argue why there's a need for subimprints at all. If the copyright on your release says EMI, why are you on Parlophone? Or Food? Or Blue Note? Or Virgin? You get distributed the same way, you're technically on the same label. You're just giving 15 people the title of label boss, when you use one - EMI Label boss.

Of course, in the real world, an imprint says (or should that be "said") something about the music coming released on it. Blue Note is still EMI's jazz label, but releases on EMI can be just the same style or genre as releases on Virgin, Parlophone or Chrysalis.

Oh well. We all know the joyous days of a vibrant and interesting music industry are long gone. Just wondering how long its' iron lung will hold the whole house of cards together.

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