The famed rockers from Metallica are gearing up for their first non-major label release – a live concert DVD / Blu-ray entitled “Quebec Magnetic”, which will be released on the band's very own label in North America (no name for the label just yet). The material for the video was filmed over two nights in 2009 during the band’s Death Magnetic tour, and is due out on December 10th. This marks yet another recent departure by a legacy artist from the major labels, as several others are beginning to fancy the independent route.
“There are still some i's being dotted and t's crossed, so we can't give you a name or fancy logo just yet, but we're pretty excited that for the first time we get to hold all the reins on a release from start to finish,” the band said on their website. “Since we now get to call all the shots, the double DVD and single disc Blu-ray will be available for a price we thought was very Metallica fan friendly - suggested retail will be $15.98 for either format.”
Metallica is following suit of several other legacy artists deciding to leave the major labels and release music independently.
Just recently, Blink-182 announced a split from Interscope, ending a 15-year relationship with Universal Music Group (back when the band was first signed with MCA). Meanwhile, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler recently spoke to Billboard about going the independent route as well.
Contrastingly however, this all comes as the highly revered Trent Reznor decided to return to Columbia Records for the release of his How to Destroy Angels project.
How Will The Majors Evolve?
While it is undeniable that all these legacy acts would not be where they are today without the prior support of their major labels, one has to acknowledge that it was a very different music business back then. It then leaves the question of what role the majors play (or perhaps should play) in today's music business. After all, the major label system, when executed properly, is a well-oiled machine that works incredibly well.
Are these famed artist's departures telling of a future where majors one day adapt to a revised philosophy of artist retention and development? Or are they destined to continue being banks for viable business partners (i.e. artists that will sell)?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.