Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Mobile + CD distribution partnerships = a new model for musicians

One of my favorite bands of the moment is LA's West Indian Girl. If you haven't heard them, you probably don't listen to stations like KCRW, KEXP and WXPN, noncommercial stations that play interesting music for adults. (You can stream West Indian Girl's new album, "4th and Wall," here.)

On a recent live performance on KCRW, WIG's bassist, Francis Ten, mentioned that the band has a unique partnership with Milan Records and flycell, a mobile content provider, in which flycell has invested in the band and has exclusive rights to market mobile content related to the band, including ringtones, wallpapers and videos. The structure of the music business, and how musicians are paid for recordings, are fascinating topics and getting ever more complicated due to music downloading, 360° contracts, licensing for TV and film, and the like. (See a related post here.)

For manufactured artists, the decline of the major record labels is a bad thing. But for enterprising, self-reliant, resourceful artists like West Indian Girl, the fracturing of the music industry provides them new ways to sustain and build their own careers. If they're still making and recording music ten years from now, it will say a lot of good things about the evolution of the music business.

Links to related streams (you'll have to listen to some great live music before the interviews):

(Photo: "4th & Wall" album cover via milanrecords.com)

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