Indie Bands Are Making An End Run Around Nashville Music Label Giants

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The music business has been owned and controlled lock, stock and barrel by giant record companies for decades. Most artists today who have “made it” were lucky enough to get a record deal from the likes of Capitol Records, MCA, Mercury, Sony music Entertainment and a few others.

Nashville, Tennessee, arguably the greatest music city in America, is strictly the realm of the corporate music giants. Any band that hoped to get a song played on the radio had to go through one of these gatekeepers.

But times seems to be changing for Nashville’s rock music scene. Indie rockers are flourishing in the Nashville environment like never before. Dozens of acts are creating their own albums and finding their own audiences – and they relish bypassing the greedy corporate middleman.

DIY artists are recording music in their basements. They’re being helped along by advances in personal computer music mixing technology. Now anyone with a laptop and a few extras can command the power of a studio and create an end product that sounds as sharp and shimmering as a professional studio product.

But Indie bands still need to perform live and find audiences. That means booking gigs at physical locations – again, an aspect of the music industry under control of the music label giants. Even this isn’t stopping new bands from breaking out of the mold, however.

House parties, neighborhood venues and slap-dash arrangements for putting on concerts in back allies or empty lots are proliferating across Nashville. Cash from tickets sold goes directly into the pockets of the artists, bypassing the corporate ticket sales and distribution companies, such as Ticketmaster.

In a sense, music has come full circle from the time when major labels had far less power and organization as rock ‘n’ roll began to rise in the late 1950s.

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