Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

The New Record is now spinning

Covering the music business beat means encountering a lot of gloom and despair. There are times when you feel every label exec is channeling Private Frazer from Dad’s Army with anguished cries of “we’re doomed”. But pessimism won’t get you …

Fri, Oct 21, 2011, 10:00

   

Covering the music business beat means encountering a lot of gloom and despair. There are times when you feel every label exec is channeling Private Frazer from Dad’s Army with anguished cries of “we’re doomed”.

But pessimism won’t get you very far in the future and there are thankfully some in the industry who aren’t prepared to watch their business disappear from under them.

Side One Dummy label boss Bill Armstrong is one of these: he sold his house in order to bring The New Record website into the world.

There are plenty of other websites out there doing what The New Record does in giving away free tracks from upcoming albums. The New Record twist is that there are 30 labels involved, with Armstrong’s “digital newstand” featuring Sub Pop, Anti, Kill Rock Stars, Daptone and others.

Currently only available (officially) to users in the United States, the New Record hopes it will lead fans to purchase albums and, more importantly, give the labels data on who is interested in their acts.

Much has been said and written about the demise of the traditional label model, yet optimists like Armstrong believe they still serve a purpose.

“There was a time when label loyalty meant a lot, but it’s been so diluted” Armstrong says. “In this world of filters, labels are great filters. I know if something comes with a Sub Pop logo on it, it’s going to be good. It may not be my taste, and it may not be what I’m into, but I know it will have a level of quality.”

The New Record may well demonstrate that labels still possess this strength and intangiable market advantage. Hopefully too, others in the sector will give new projects and ideas a go, rather than sit back and passively wait for the end.

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