I just found this interesting article at MBV.com that gives a pretty good argument in favor of the new wave of major record labels.
Here’s an excerpt:
Anxiety about this model seems to be bubbling up — and understandably so. Yes, it’s great that we are no longer holding musicians to untenable and economically disastrous standards of artistic purity. But we’re also stacking the deck in favor of music that succeeds as content, not as art. Music that has a good back story, music that is controversial, music that plays on a specific set of influences in an easy-to-understand way — and, most important of all, brand new music — is most likely to spread widely and spawn more content, and thus most desirable to brand. And while newness is an asset for content, can be a liability for art. Creative vision takes time to develop, and is often outpaced by the churn of new content.
I think this proves an interesting concept in relation to album art too – a shift in music’s perception from art to simple content means that everything associated with it shifts too. Does this explain the lessening importance of album art? I believe it does.
As for whether I’m ready to start trusting all the major record labels – that I’m not so sure of.