— Natalie Merchant American singer-songwriter 1963
Context: After spending nearly 20 years contracted to a major label, I have mixed feelings about their demise. These companies have profited immensely from your insatiable desire for listening and helped musicians for several decades to reach you. They grew fat and excessive. They exploited and they monopolized. They edited and censured. They’ve been rapidly losing their means of production, distribution and promotion to the internet. They have been economizing by dropping artists, cutting staff and folding into one another but they can’t keep up with the pace of disintegration. You might not have ever heard my name if Elektra Records hadn’t made me one of their artists for hire. I’m both grateful and resentful and you probably are too.