You can't count Radiohead and NIN in the self-release category. Those people have humongous marketing strategies that wouldn't work for smaller lesser beings. And those bands worked for years to get to the point where they COULD be their own record label. Had they released all of their records that way (even radiohead making an OK Computer), they would have been completely overlooked as time went on (without a label's support). Do you honestly think NIN or Radiohead would be as known/remembered as they are today without mass marketed/promotion via the ENORMOUS labels they were/are on? Even making a record as quality as Ok Computer they would have never had the staying power/sales without the help of the large label they were on at the time.
YES! Obviously there are better records than In Utero. I didn't say that. I said that I think everyone on this board would be hard-pressed to find a record that was released by one of their friends that was as good as that record.
Can someone please explain what would be bad about being on a label? I don't see any negative side to it. Obviously labels release crap as well as good music, but typically really shitty bands never make it to the point of having labels release their music, and honestly that's just the point I was trying to make. So obviously it has some weeding out characteristics. Why would anyone not want to be on a label if they could? Why would you turn that down when before that you had to pay for your release? Good labels pay for the complete release, and how could you not want that? If someone can explain that I'd be really happy. To me it's a complete no-brainer....
Labels ARE an indicator of quality. Otherwise people wouldn't check out bands solely because of what label they're on. To say that this doesn't happen or that this is stupid is irrelavent. The fact of the matter is that people DO listen to bands because of the label they're on. And why wouldn't you want to infiltrate a larger market?
Seems pointless to argue against that. I know you, flannel, weren't arguing against that, cuz you made a point to mention that you did check out bands based on the label they were on. So to me that proves that they can be indicators of quality since you admitted to listening to bands based on the label they were on (which is something I do all the time). People grow to trust a label's judgement.
Obviously some good bands have self-released records, and then those records did well because those bands had many things going for them...for instance: they were fucking black flag/minor threat. Is anyone here as good or as seminal as black flag or minor threat? Probably not. And how did they release those records? Oh yeah...on vinyl. ALWAYS.http://www.discogs.com/artist/Black+Flag
The CD versions of most of the releases didn't come until years later. They didn't give a fucka bout those. Many other bands were like this (Minutemen/most other SST bands).
SST IS an important label and they chose to cater to vinyl. If you (i know yr not arguing against this Flanneljammies, but this has to be said) are going to argue against the value of a label like SST or even Sub Pop then yr absolutely bonkers.
"Coming from a punk/DIY ethic, my position has always been that if someone isn't doing something for you, you should do it yourself. "
Completely agree with this.
That's totally true. But if you have to continually do this without a label's support you probably won't get your music out to too many people. You ultimately went with a label. That proves this. Why wouldn't you if you had the opportunity to work with a label? I don't see how anyone could argue against that. Working with a label is only a good thing, ESPECIALLY if they are mentally in the same place as you (which is the ideal situation, and the one you found Flannelturkeys!
Which I think is great! That's the point).
A label is completely key for having people be able to find yr releases. Unless of course you own a distribution company, which I doubt anyone here does. How else are people across the country supposed to get yr record? I still think labels are an indicator of quality. For these reasons:
1. It costs them a lot of money so they are damn sure that they think the band is worth their time. Pressing vinyl isn't a money maker, it's a necessity to document music that some tastemaker (label head) has deemed important.
2. They have to keep their distributors happy or the distributor will drop them. I think a lot of the people on this board are caught up on the simple fact that they think I'm arguing against releasing yr own music. When I'm more arguing about the whole industry as a whole, which it has become obvious that many people this board have no idea how the whole thing works. So in other words if a label doesn't keep their distributor happy by giving them GOOD bands that WILL sell records, well then that label loses it's distributor and thus a large portion of their income. So again they are choosing bands that they know are quality...or at least will sell records (which too is probably an indicator of quality AT THE UNDERGROUND LEVEL. I'm not talking about mainstream pop-tarts). There are still distributors that will take chances with smaller labels, and thank god for those distributors. Those are the important ones. Those are the ones that are curating and releasing the records that in 10 years will be considered seminal underground releases.
3. Active/In-Touch music listeners look to labels they like to find other bands that they might like. If a band they like is on that label they are going to look at the other acts on the label to determine if they like them. This wholely proves that there ARE people who think labels are quality indicators.
4. Promotion. Promotion is key for a record to be successful. Even a small grass roots promotion campaign. Touring is the best way to do this, which has nothing to do with a label> But when you have a label's support backing you they will be able to secure you better gigs where you're playing for more people, you will be able to go to their hometown and already have a fanbase because hopefully the label is doing something right in their town...enough to make some people come out solely to see the label from town's band.
Whether they are actually quality indicators can sorta be up for debate, but at the end of the day those 4 things above are true and honestly to me that's enough to warrant wanting to be on a label as opposed to doing all the work yrself (when you probably have no idea how distribution/promotion works...and that label, if they're a good one, should know how that shit works).