Monday, August 15, 2005

"Minor Leagues" Bemoan Deal With the Devil

La Times has an article on how the "independent" labels have built relationships with the "major" labels for distribution even as they gear to do battle over their artists:
But the partnerships, though they benefit both independent and major labels, exacerbate old tensions, notably those stemming from big companies' poaching suddenly hot bands.

"We rely on the indies to be the minor leagues for our major league teams," said Lipman of Universal Records. "The indies find markets we didn't even know existed, and then we can take the bands and make them huge."

For a company such as Matador, that means doing business with a partner that might steal its best acts. Matador developed singer Liz Phair in the early 1990s, only to see her move on to music's big leagues after she became a bestselling artist.

Interpol's contract with Matador expired with "Antics." Major labels affiliated with every company, including Warner and Universal, are wooing the band. Matador's payroll of 25 employees is paltry compared with the 4,000 at Warner, whose revenue in two days exceeds the $10 million Matador collects annually. Interpol's members and its manager declined to comment on the band's plans.

But Matador isn't admitting defeat; it's already plotting how to sell Interpol's next album. Lombardi bristles when majors portray independents as farm teams. Despite being the underdog, he hopes to convince Interpol that a major label won't give it the personal touch and creative freedom that he can provide.

"Calling us a minor league team is infuriating," Lombardi said. "That's the attitude that is ruining music. We're the ones who break the band, who actually care about them and their music and make their vision become real. We're the only ones who won't betray them for a dollar. If we're the minor league, then the majors should be torn apart."


Post a Comment

<< Home