Rock n World managing Editor Keavin Wiggins
Industry insiders called
it D-Day. Last thursday A&M records closed it doors, and Geffen
Records fired a large number of employees.
More layoffs and restructuring
is expected as Segram merges its newly acquired Polygram Music group with
Universal Music Group.
Several labels got cut thus
far and were folded into four separate labels.
The labels affected A&M,
Mercury, Geffen, Interscope, MCA, Island, Universal, Motown and Def Jam.
What does this mean for the
For starters two pioneering
labels which were known to take on new artist with unique styles will no
longer exist as they did before.
Geffen records gave the
world Guns n Roses and Nirvana. While most labels play it safe and sign
bands which conform to the latest fad in the biz, Geffen staked it's company
on new and interesting artist.
So fans will have to look
even more to Indy labels to hear unique artist who the majors don't
believe will sell a lot of records.
Also artist now signed to
those labels who do not meet a certain level of sales are going to be given
the boot. The figure curently being tossed around is 200,000 in album sales.
The bottom line is the industry
has just become even more corporate, where the dollar rules, and creativity
comes in a distant second.
Look for less new artist
from these super labels, and even less variety, already a problem in the
90's. It looks as though we will start the next century with artist like
Hootie and the Blowfish and Celine Dion who are sure to sell millions getting
all the attention from the major labels, while newer bands, or veterans
like Morrissey will be left out to pasture.
Thank God for the rise in
Indy record companies, is it any wonder why they have been so popular in
the 90's? Look for their influence to gain even more in the years to come.