A major label is going to buy a DIY distributor, such as TuneCore or CD Baby. This is the next logical step in the roll up of distributors. In the past five years the independent distributors have been merged in much the same way that labels were merged over the past 20 years.
IODA and The Orchard merged under Sony and it is only a matter of time until they are folded into Red or vice versa. INgrooves has been added to Fontana under Universal, and the EMI Merger will kill any remnants of Caroline. The reason this occurred is that the indie distributors provide a pipeline of A&R, which has been offloaded to the independent labels. It casts a wider net for potential hits for the parent company.
There is still a filter in that system though that does not exist with DIY distribution. If the idea is a numbers game, then purchasing TuneCore or CD Baby greatly increase the odds. This is how most artists first put up their music for sale. By purchasing a DIY distributor a major label can begin a relationship with these developing artists in a low investment fashion. Additionally, whichever one purchased the distributor would have access to data that their competitors would not to aid in A&R decisions.
We live in a world where everyone has access to distribution, and you do not have to be part of the system to succeed. Independent artist Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis have the top song. That is not an anomaly. It is an eventuality. It is a natural progression. More and more independent artists will break through. The book publishing industry has already realized this is the case with Penguins recent purchase of DIY publisher Author Solutions. The music industry can’t be too far behind.
This is Frank Woodworth's response to the question:
What is a major event that you believe will transpire in the coming months? Why does this specific event hold significance to you? How do you think this event might impact the larger music industry?