Hard Times For The Labor Of Love
More bad news for the music biz. From allhiphop.com
New York based independent record label TVT Records terminated the majority of their employees today, sources revealed to AllHipHop.com today (February 18).
TVT, which is home to major recording stars like Lil Jon & The Eastside Boyz, Pitbull, Ying Yang Twins, The Polyphonic Spree and others, is expected to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this week.
TVT Records was founded by its current President, Steve Gottlieb, who launched the label out of his New York City apartment in 1985.
The label’s first success was the popular eight-volume Television’s Greatest Hits collection, which chronicled various TV theme songs.
At its height, TVT Records was one of the top independent record labels in the United States, earning Billboard’s Independent Record label of the year award 5 consecutive times in a row, the most recent in 2006.
So, here’s a guy, Steve Gottlieb, who recognized that the main stream industry had a hole in it’s swing. He figured out that people like TV theme songs and that there was an opportunity to make a little money there. That’s a classic example, find something that people like, that isn’t a big enough fish for the big boys and, supply that demand.
To pull this kind of thing off, more than one time, you’re going to have to continue to take chances. The major labels will always have the “sure bets” locked up but, if you take chances on acts that they won’t touch, you might find a niche or two. That is “niche marketing”, finding something that the main stream doesn’t see the up-side in.
Like, for instance, The Polyphonic Spree.
I sure hate to see it when someone, who had the guts and resources to market a band as unique as those guys, is falling by the wayside.
Another bad sign for the future of the niche marketing of music was this statement, from the editors of No Depression Magazine, that they are shutting down.
The simple answer is that advertising revenue in this issue is 64% of what it was for our March- April issue just two years ago. We expect that number to continue to decline.
…because we’re a niche title we are dependent upon advertisers who have a specific reason to reach our audience. That is: record labels. We, like many of our friends and competitors, are dependent upon advertising from the community we serve.
That community is, as they say, in transition. In this evolving downloadable world, what a record label is and does is all up to question. What is irrefutable is that their advertising budgets are drastically reduced, for reasons we well understand.
That’s too bad because, No Depression was specifically targeted to people that enjoy Alt. Country, Roots Rock, folk, blues kind of stuff. You know, stuff that is outside of the lines, doesn’t fit the Nashville plan. Even if you were a real indie artist, with no label or distribution, it was a place that would maybe, review your record or cover a live show and, get the word out to people who were definitely looking for the information. The fact is, in the indie music world, self promotion can only get you so far. The worst part is that No Depression’s readership was up.
Then from worldmag.com, come this one.
Some cultural phenomena—rock music, for example—seem to die once a decade. Now veterans of the Christian music industry are asking whether Christian rock is dead.
Fueling the speculation was CCM magazine’s announcement last month that it will discontinue its print edition in April, on the 30th anniversary of its first issue in 1978.
CCM is Christian Community Music, by the way.
One of the most valuable things any performer could have is, someone that, not only jumps on the bandwagon but is also willing to help pull the bandwagon along. The old expression “labor of love” applies here. Some “do it for the love but aren’t above the money”, to quote Willie. Whether it is someone who is willing to spend the time and money to market and promote music that is outside of the main stream or, someone who is so excited about a musical niche that they devote their time/resources to write about it and coordinate a publication, it’s a labor of love.
When it gets to the point that it isn’t possible for these “labor of love” folks to continue, it is a sad time. The “sure things”, the products that are designed to appeal to the mass consumer will survive like cockroaches. The stuff that is too left field, too gritty, too honest even, too Christian is always going to need the folks who do it for the love.