You Just Can’t Beat These Kids

Wired editor Chris Anderson finds music biz veteran Bob Lefsetz a little exasperating, but points out yesterday’s post about sweat equity among independent musicians. Labels don’t understand the economics of online music, because there’s not much in it to support their current overhead costs.

To make the accounting work, major labels need acts that can crank out a gold record in their first week of release. Artists, on the other hand, who are understanding that they can make more money by selling 10,000 records on their own than by going platinum on a major label, are “willing to sleep on the floor and eat ramen” while they grow an audience.

Growing that audience could take years, but it does happen. Just look at what’s going on with Modest Mouse and Silversun Pickups. Would a major label have taken a chance on Modest Mouse five years ago? No way. But when you’ve worked hard to grow your own audience, you really can write your own ticket.

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