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Morissette says current label system is “not working.” Labels and artists should make music accessible to the greatest number of people.

written and submitted by Jason Knowlton

published at http://www.djmixed.com/djmixed/newsandfeatures/article.cfm?Article_ID=1719


Alanis Morissette delivered more than an artists perspective, she challenged all artists to educate and join together to have a say in the decision making process of digital music distribution.

“I encourage all artists to educate themselves as a means to demonstrate to all interested parties our readiness to be part of this process,” said Morissette.

Morissette gave an Artist’s Perspective speech at the Sixth Annual Plug In Conference–a digital music conference presented by Jupiter Media Metrix and Billboard Magazine, in New York City July 23-24.

Her speech was a 20-minute pep talk to all unsigned artists that the Internet can be used to connect with music fans, and that signed talent should rally behind this theory, stating the major-label system is “not working.”

“In today’s climate, if an artist doesn’t sell a certain number of copies on his first release, they will be lucky to be supported at all by the record companies which are so focused on the bottom-line numbers,” said Morissette. “Many of the most popular artists of the last 30 years would have been dropped by the record company in today’s climate. Artists today are not being given a chance to experience the normal ebbs and flows that result in an artist’s evolution.”

Morissette at one time believed that on-line services like Napster and MP3.com could have been used to connect artists to more fans and ultimately could have helped their distribution.

“These companies have been litigated, vilified, and ultimately consolidated to the point where these opportunities do not exist,” said Morissette. “Commercial, uncommercial, even offensive art needs a level playing field.”

With Napster now in a relationship with the Bertlesmann e-Commerce Group, and Vivendi Universal acquiring MP3.com and Emusic, Morissette called the Internet a “a bottleneck for creativity.” Stating labels are applying the old-school ways of profit making to a newer wave of the music medium, and that Congress should step in.

“I believe we have reached a point where legislative solutions have become necessary to acknowledge and protect our interests as artists,” said Morissette. “To create laws that would support and foster new forms of distribution, subscription services, and make music accessible to the greatest number of people.”

On-line subscription services will soon be available through Musicnet.com, offering the first digital music subscription platform featuring on-demand downloads and streams from three of the five major recording labels. Musicnet.com will license its technology platform to companies who want to sell digital music subscription services under their own brands. AOL Music announced two new features of its paid subscription coming this fall; the Artist Discovery Network will introduce fans to new music via on-line listening stations, separated by music genre, and Radio (At) AOL, will be a streaming radio network with news and entertainment over 50 channels.

The Plug In Conference brought all the major players in the digital music drama for a two-day event in New York City. On the second day of the event, there was a surprising announcement. Hank Barry, Interim CEO of Napster, was dropped on July 24 from his position but will stay within the company.