Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Music Bloggers Hack Record Industry by Launching Indie Labels

A great article is up in Wired Magazine about how "tastemaker" music blogs, just like Blood Is One, are creating indie labels of their own and bringing new music to the forefront:

For Tom Krell, his latest record is extremely meaningful. Krell, who records as How to Dress Well, created the EP as a tribute to a friend who died last year. It’s an orchestral reimagining of music Krell previously released, inspired by the kindred spirit he lost.

As a collection of music, How to Dress Well’s Just Once is a tragically magnificent remembrance. It’s intimate. And that intimacy makes the way the record is being released meaningful as well.

“It’s a memorial record, something very close to my heart,” Krell said to “I needed a label that would allow me to do it exactly my way — have it be something grand, yet intimate and not something overly commercial.”

Krell’s heartfelt EP is being released by small label Love Letters Ink, which is run by San Francisco music video blog Yours Truly. Just Once is a very small release — only 1,000 10-inch vinyl copies of the record are going up for sale — and each $14 EP will ship with a copy of a handwritten letter from Krell.

In addition to the vinyl and letter, fans get a password to view behind-the-scenes footage of the EP’s recording done in the easy-going style for which Yours Truly is known. ($1 of each sale goes to mental health organization MindFreedom, and digital versions of the record were made available through Bandcamp for $4 Tuesday.)

“Some labels put their heart into it, but at the end of the day, their goal is to sell records,” Krell said. “But with Love Letters Ink, they seemed to have a different approach. We want to sell the record, of course. But it felt like they weren’t concerned in the first place about releasing a marketable product as much as releasing a piece of art — something that they were proud of.”

It’s not a common way to release a record, but putting out an album through a popular indie music blog is a pretty smart way to hack the traditional record industry business model. Yours Truly is just the latest indie music blog to launch a label, serving up lovingly crafted offerings and using the kind of promotional savvy that traditional record companies can’t seem to muster.

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