Chapter 10 Exercise 7

7. Has the Internet changed the distribution of songs? In particular, is it easier or harder for small labels and independent groups to get their music heard and sold to consumers?

This question might be hard to answer, but students will have lots of opinions. The first step is to find out who can list songs on iTunes. Almost any band or label can sign a contract with Apple, but it might take a while to get approved and listed. The second step is to note that people still tend to buy songs they have already heard. So, songs that are not played on the radio or television are going to have trouble gaining market share. Ultimately, the answer comes from looking at the Billboard data. But, it can be difficult to tell if the music/label is mainstream or small independent. In a recent search, 5 of the top 10 songs were from Rap labels which are difficult to identify. The other 5 were mainstream, RCA, Arista, A&M, etc. The industry has changed somewhat because established artists are quick to form their own labels. But, these labels are sometimes just offshoots of one of the big labels or have marketing deals through the big labels. Some of the students might have considerably more knowledge of the various labels and their success rates.