The future of music distribution? [Updated]

Reuters has reported on a new label and its approach to distributing their artists’ music:

Merlin, the new agency representing the world’s independent music sector, has agreed a deal with digital music company Snocap which will allow its labels’ music to be sold from Web sites such as MySpace…

The independent record label sector makes up for 30 percent of the music sold worldwide, with the rest from the four majors — Vivendi’s Universal Music, Sony BMG, EMI Group and Warner Music Group.

The downloads will be sold in the MP3 format, meaning they can be played on any portable music player including the iPod. Apple Computer Inc.’s iTunes can only be used with an iPod while music from such popular services as Napster and Rhapsody cannot be played on the mass-selling device.

Band after band have a Myspace presence- equally important to established acts as new, upcoming bands/music. One of my good friends back in the US has an indie record label – all of his bands have a Myspace presence (The Bear Colony, to name one). I’ve also find out about great London music on myspace (a current personal fav is the new release from Bodyrox feat. Luciana, Yeah, Yeah).

Why would any of that matter?

Snocap, the technology behind the link-up, isn’t novel, but it’s one that looks like it has critical mass now…this could be serious contender for iTunes. How long until they reach 2 billion sales? Have Merlin/Snocap got the formula right to tap the Long Tail of indie music?


I just caught Nic’s post from Friday on the long tail playing out well for music lovers:

I was reading in the Economist this morning about the death of the UK record store. HMV and Virgin are both struggling, and Music Zone with 104 shops has gone into administration.

One of the conclusions of the Economist article is that all this is bad news for small record labels and those who love their music. The argument is these companies rely on record shops to stock their music and knowledgeable shop workers to recommend them to punters.

I am not so sure about that.

I definitely think indie isn’t going the way of the Dinosaur- just big shops like HMV. Partnerships like Merlin/Snocap/Myspace are the first wave of the future…

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