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Music Recording Industry is in Total Upheaval

According to a StrategyEye report, we are now way beyond the tipping-point for upheaval within the traditional music recording industry. In fact, the primary value proposition of a legacy record label seems to have totally capsized and sank.

Apparently, the rock band "Nine Inch Nails" is the latest to announce that they will no longer use music labels to market their work. Instead they will operate as free-agents, with online digital distribution a major focus of their direct marketing efforts.

The move follows the announcement by Radiohead that they will no longer operate under the control of a music label, releasing their work directly to fans, with consumers able to "set their own price" for the band's latest album entitled "In Rainbows."

Visitor traffic to Radiohead's Web site is reported to have increased by eleven-fold following the announcement. Music industry analysts are now warning that many other top recording artists are likely to follow the same model -- if they prove to have an active online fan-base.

Top UK bands Jamiroquai and Oasis are also rumored to be considering similar moves, with both bands believed to be examining whether to release their forthcoming music compositions online for free, totally independent of a music label.

Nine Inch Nails said in their announcement that they do not want to deal with middle-men and instead will market their offering directly to fans. What's prompting the change in thinking?

Band leader Trent Reznor says he believes the dominance of music labels -- as a means of distribution -- is coming to an abrupt end. It's primarily due to advances in digital technology and new distribution methods, and that he wants to pursue "a direct relationship with the audience, as I see fit and appropriate."

That said, where there is disruption, there is also opportunity. I believe that demand for independent market development talent -- skilled in the ongoing engagement of online relationships with a fan-base -- will increasingly move into the forefront of the global entertainment sector.

Social media trailblazers will continue to help shape the future of the music distribution industry, as it completes the apparent rebirth. Ironically, it's the out-of-sight Indie recording artists -- ignored by the major labels -- that has fearlessly pioneered this transformation, armed with their DRM-free MP3 digital torpedoes.

Meanwhile, the slow-moving RIAA warship continues its relentless litigation assault -- in a futile attempt to halt the inevitable loss of the fleet.

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