By - Spacelab Research Staff
You gotta love the Long Tail theory. Some say it doesn't work, others swear by it. The idea that in the modern age, an artist or label or music store can make more money by selling less copies of a wider array of artists. Overall, they sell more copies of music as the sales are diffused over more artists.
Enter Canadian band Metric. They're at a crossroads in their career, with the ability to make the jump to a bigger label and gain more promotional capabilites. Or, they could stay more on the down low, keep on keepin' on, and own more of their future. Being the smart peeps that they are, they're keeping it real and staying on with a smaller label with Last Gang Records.
"We've wrestled with our situation over the course of the last three albums, trying to find the right deal. We found ourselves in a position where the majors were interested, but we knew we had the ability to roll the dice and do it ourselves," manager Mathieu Drouin recently told Billboard.
Last Gang Records will be the label of record (haha, that's a funny) and Chrysalis will be the publisher, but the band is currently looking at options around how to distribute the music. iTunes is on the table, as well as traditional means of getting CDs in stores. They're working out the details.
The Long Tail theory wipes out the old 80/20 theory that the music business used to work on. 20% of the artists accounted for most of the revenue at a big label, and the rest were along for the ride, but didn't see much in promotional dollars. If an artist could quickly rise into the 20%, they had a good chance of staying there for some time. Stay below that glass ceiling, and you'd be stuck on the low end: on the label but with little support. That was a quick ticket to bankruptcy or long-term debt for a lot of acts.
Enter 2008, and the ability to grow their own following, work their way up the food chain, and own a bigger stake of their future has gained a lot of momentum over the years. It's hard work, but it can work out for the best in the long run.
"We can make more money on a smaller volume overall if we are doing everything ourselves," said Drouin.