Rereading those quotes from Rolling Stone, made me think of a recent article in the excellent Word magazine. In David Hepworth's "And Another Thing" column he attacked the musicians who look to blame someone else when their music doesn't sell. As Hepworth clearly points out "Those artists who used to think they could float on a puffy cloud far moved from the brute realities of commerce are about to come down to earth. The last 30 years have been a bit of a holiday from the truth. You think you've worked hard in the past ? You've barely began." Even Radiohead's Johnny Greenwood claimed in the February 2008 issue of Mojo magazine that the band have no desire to go it alone and run their own record company. "The experiment was good, but we don't wanna be spending the rest of our careers in meetings discussing Portuguese shop displays." They promptly inked a deal with Richard Russell's excellent XL Recordings, home of the White Stripes, M.I.A.and Basement Jaxx.
The DIY approach may not be for everyone. Artists and their management will need to employ skilled 'specialists' to do many of the jobs that the record company once did, and if it all goes wrong who's to blame? However, the DIY route can cut down on the overheads, should help increase profits (as long as your sales still hold up) and certainly offers the artist more control – at least you'll always be the priority act!
DIY is also becoming an increasingly viable option due to the increasing number of VC's and brands playing in the music space. While VC's can offer the finance you might need, can they bring marketing or distribution expertise? It should be no surprise then that when a brand like Starbucks comes along offering the 'holy trinity' of 'finance, marketing and distribution', that artists from Joni Mitchell to Sonic Youth, are keen to see what this route can offer.