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INDIE? Worldwide distribution rights to Elton John's music was consolidated when MCA Records' then-parent Seagram acquired PolyGram, the owner of Island, Mercury, and A&M, in 1998. Universal Music Group, which oversaw Seagram's recording operations, now co-owns the Elton John catalogue with the singer himself, continuing to distribute it worldwide to this day. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocket_Records

Clyde Smith

I didn't call Elton's business indie. And he's not on the new label.

I don't really know anything about his business.

The point was that it's kind of an insider's game among artists already connected to Yamaha. That may not be the case as more signees emerge but it seems only reasonable and smart that they would work from their networks.

Not Indie

Elton John aside, I don't think it's correct to refer to this label as an indie. You're talking about a subsidiary company of the American arm of a multi-national conglomerate. It's a corporate brand extension. My two cents...

Clyde Smith

That's a fair point except that nobody knows what indie means.

My understanding was that it initially had to do with distribution which meant that everybody except the major labels was an indie label.

Now it's a confusing term that has more to do with politics.

Honestly, thinking about it, I agree with you. It's just the term that struck when I was writing this post and it was the least important part of the post. If I write about it again, I probably won't use that term even though they're not an imprint of a major label.

I'd probably call it an in-house label and add some other terms to come up with something more awkward but satisfactory.

Not Indie

Yeah, the terminology has definitely become muddled. I think distribution does play a part, but it doesn't account for everything.

Most labels you would consider "major" tend to be subsidiaries of larger companies. Interscope is part of Universal Music Group, which in turn is part of NBC Universal, which also has ties to Vivendi, blah, blah, blah. You could trace similar paths from the Sony and Warner major labels as well. EMI and its labels are a bit of a trick bag, but they're generally considered majors too.

I think scale (or being owned by a company with scale) and impact on the marketplace play a part in how you would define a company, labels included. Early on in its history, Apple was definitely regarded as an independent (or small) business, but there certainly came a point when it became classified as being part of "big business".

An interesting example: even though a company like Concord Music Group and its labels are largely considered indie, you could make an argument that they're not.

In any event, I think being aware of a company's ties (if it's tied to a larger entity) and classifying them as accurately possible are important in analyzing a business, its performance, and its impact. And I feel it's important to be aware of when big companies are operating behind the scenes through subsidiaries and sub-brands.

Clyde Smith

It's pretty obvious who's behind this label.

And given that there is no longer a clear definition I probably shouldn't have used it.

But it seems so vague I don't see why it matters.

PS - I don't mean that your points aren't worth considering but once a word means so many things it becomes kind of a waste of time to get worked up about it as some do.

Not Indie

I hope you're not implying that I'm worked up about your use of terminology. Maybe that's true of Nelson, but I'm actually just trying to help. I check this site from time to time, because you guys do a good job of gathering up recent news items, but the analysis and writing about those items tends to be less than great. Sometimes even lazy. I'm not trying to troll you, but the quality of reporting and editorial on this site is part of why you guys do get trolled quite a bit. It seems like you're trying to get the last word in here...I also see you frequently respond to commenters defensively or dismissively. If you're going to go point/counterpoint with every person who criticizes you on here, it's your choice. But it's a waste of your time. Ignore the outright mean or ignorant comments, and maybe try to glean something useful from the others. There's always room for improvement if you're open to it. Again, just my two cents...

Clyde Smith

I didn't mean you. Sorry, I tried to clarify that with my ps.

I don't respond to most commenters. I do go head to head with some who are either outright aholes or are anonymous and their responses just seem like trolling and that actually shuts most of them up.

I actually get trolled far less now than when I first started. I hope that's partly because my work has improved but I also think it may be because I'm the only one here who challenges people in the comments. I notice some of them still comment, just not on my posts.

But it's not my best side and you're right. I may stick out because I'm the writer that actually responds most often to commenters.

Also, I'm not responsible for site policies beyond my posts and many of my headlines weren't written by me, so I can't address certain concerns that you mention.

Nelson represents an indie distribution company and jumped to conclusions. Obviously he did not respond to my comment so I have no way of knowing if he really cares or if he's just marketing or is simply annoyed or had a bad day.

I try to have more positive exchanges than negative in the comments. Lately I've been cutting loose a bit and will rein in that given your thoughtful response. I think David Lowery's bitter attacks gave me license but I do need to pull back in general.

Also, most of the time when I clarify something in a positive manner, no one responds to let me know they heard me or whatnot. So positive comments often don't get reinforcement. I may just pull back in general.

Beyond that, indie became symbolic of a whole way of viewing the world tied to young white males with guitars and that's when it became useless in terms of communication around almost anything but that.

So I should probably use it only to refer to small labels without major corporate sponsorships. I assume it's ok if they have a distribution deal?

Beyond that, when I'm dismissive about such concerns it's usually due to my own disappointment in realizing yet again that most people who talk social change don't want to do anything but talk and occasionally vote. And that's why the world will keep sucking ass for so many poor people including many of my musician friends who complain but do nothing.

Thanks for your thoughtful response. If we had more people like you, it would be easier for me to ignore the ongoing flow of bs that the web so readily enables from trolling to comment spam marketing.

Clyde Smith

I thought about it and I agree that most usage of the term indie doesn't fit this label.

So I replaced it with in-house.

Not Indie

Hey Clyde, I checked back in and saw your post - thanks for your thoughtful response! I really appreciate your willingness to actually have a conversation with me. I hear you on Lowery. I've read some of his stuff and I think he's a pretty bitter guy, if you ask me. I'm sure being in his line of fire is an unpleasant experience. Good luck with everything, I'll certainly be back to see what's new on Hypebot!

Clyde Smith


Anima Denman

Another great move and achievement by Yamaha. They have been in the industry for so long which proves that their products are of high quality that people just can't get enough of.

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