Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Major Labels No Longer Rule Country Music?

My advice, artists, before you accept that headline as gospel: WATCH YOUR PENNIES AND PICK NOTHING BUT GREAT, GREAT SONGS!

Sarah Rodman staff writer at the Boston Globe did this story on April 15, but it just got picked up in syndication today. Unfortunately, that timing means that the story which is appearing today in papers like the Chicago Trib misses an important detail: the end of "903."

Pam Tillis joins a growing number of artists, both established and brand new, who in the past few years have decided to bypass the major labels in favor of independents, with the creative freedom and often more equitable financial arrangements they can offer. What's surprising about this trend is that Nashville and country radio seem to be accepting these indie upstarts, breaking the decades-old chokehold the majors have had on playlists and offering a wider variety of options to listeners. The names include up-and-comers such as Taylor Swift (who is on Big Machine) and Jason Aldean (Broken Bow), artists who kicked around in the majors before corporate musical chairs left them without a seat -- Jack Ingram (Big Machine) and Little Big Town (Equity Music Group), for instance -- and hit acts who decided to strike out on their own, like Toby Keith (Show Dog Nashville). These artists and others have watched their indie singles and albums hit the Top 20, garner gold and platinum sales, and score major award nominations. That's big news for a musical genre that clings to old habits.

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