"Digital labels could upend a half-century of business practices that left the musician bearing the cost of marketing and distributing an album. The vast majority rarely see royalty checks beyond their initial advance. With the lower costs of digital distribution, the artists stand to make more money. And unconventional acts could attract big-label backing -- a prospect that means music lovers will hear more edgy, experimental fare.
``It emboldens them(major labels) to take more chances musically with stuff, because they don't have to lay out hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote a product in the marketplace,'' said Ron Stone, a consultant to Casale and president of Gold Mountain Entertainment in Los Angeles. ``You can find someone like Jihad Jerry, who really is unconventional. To me, this could save the music industry.''
Artists will sacrifice fat initial advances to get what they value most -- ownership of their music. Bands won't have to surrender their copyrights to the label as a condition of signing a long-term recording contract. The deal terms still aren't as liberal as the 50-50 split independent labels offer, said Stone. But it's a step in the right direction."
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