Major labels function with the assumption that 90 percent of artists they sign are going to fail — that should have been a red flag for everybody. I mean that’s a bizarre business model in any arena. But particularly in the cultural arena, the idea that the system through which culture is transmitted is dictated entirely by profit should concern us, because that’s going to narrow the types of culture that are transmitted. And then, on top of that, the alternative venues of distribution are stuck in the shadows of these major labels.
That’s Dr. Bethany Klein, in an outstanding interview about her research into the commercial licensing of pop music, and its impacts on artists and the music industry as a whole.
The interview is in support of her upcoming book As Heard on TV and you can read her dissertation on the topic as well.
If you’re so inclined, a few years ago I’d ranted about Bob Dylan’s appearance in a Victoria’s Secret ad, which certainly marks a nadir in the realm of musicians licensing popular music for commercials. Not because he was “selling out” (I don’t believe in that idea), but because he is so damn unsexy.