Record stores are fading fast, the big labels--EMI, Sony/BMG, Universal, and Warner--are on their last legs, and commercial radio stations rarely play new music. The big music retail chains: Tower, Virgin, and HMV are all gone.
People still listen to music, it's how they hear it and find it that's changed. Oh, and they don't want to pay for it.
The Beatles didn't get a big, fat advance when they signed a record contract. They hooked up with EMI to make records; the band couldn't do it by themselves. Luckily for the Beatles, they had a terrific producer, George Martin, who encouraged John, Paul, George, and Ringo to keep growing. Without Martin the Beatles might have been just a minor footnote. He set the scene and created the right environment for the Beatles to bloom.
The artist/producer relationship is crucial, and back in the day, the great labels--Motown, Stax, Electra, Atlantic, Columbia, Blue Note, and Warner Brothers--had the best producers. The labels promoted the music and got it on the radio.
Nowadays, any 12-year-old could make a record in his or her bedroom, put it up on a site,and sell it. Up-and-coming local bands do the same--but without the input and direction from the right producer, the band won't tap its full potential. … Read more