YouTube, social media and even Bitcoin are allowing musicians to reject major labels and go it alone – but the industry is fighting back. Can artists use technology to stay truly independent?
In the 20th century, the vast majority of music you heard and bought was controlled by a small number of companies: record labels, radio stations and other dominators of the media. Artists needed them to reach the public and the public’s choice was prescribed by what these gatekeepers believed could best turn a profit. You liked it or lumped it. Now, however, a networked world is giving artists and audiences the tools to reject those companies for ever.