Artist Control Equals Money In Their Pockets

Josh Rouse’s manager wrote a great letter to Bob Lefsetz about the success of the artist label model for Josh:

After a five-year deal with Ryko, Josh has made more money than on any of his releases in a single release, including recouping the cost of production in two months from iTunes alone. More importantly, Josh retains ownership of his masters.

A friend in A&R at a major label told me a year ago that the time would come when it made very little sense for any artist capable of drawing a long-time loyal following to sign with a major. He pointed out that in the UK you’d be crazy to sign with a major (distribution less of an issue) and in the US it was still a toss up depending on the artist. He pointed to a tipping point in the near future where a US artist would have to be crazy to sign with a major. Josh’s story above makes me think perhaps we’re there.