Drag City pulls catalog out of Emusic: a sign of things to come?
Drag City, the Chicago based label that is home to Smog, US Maple and Royal Trux, has decided to pull its catalog from digital subscription service eMusic citing the fact that it had to sell three times the amount of songs to make the slim profit iTunes already provided. According to indie labels owners at large this is something that is becoming a trend among according to an article in the Seattle Times.
At one time it seemed that the Internet would be the great equalizer between indie and major labels. It was an ideal situation for the underdog indie label: An internet savvy population would pay for songs either directly from labels or through websites that had favorable distribution deals, thus eliminating the need to compete with the major retail chains who primarily dealt with bigger, more heavily financed labels.
It would’ve worked too; if it wasn’t for those pesky retail chains. It was only a matter of time that the major retail players would enter into the picture and begin gobbling the profit that at one time was there for the taking. On-line retailers such as Amazon.com are lowering prices on album downloads to the point where it is becoming almost impossible for smaller labels to profit. Those once favorable deals? They are going the way of the dodo and the worst part is that our incessant downloading may be partly to blame.