As TVT’s chief executive officer, Steve Gottlieb, puts it: "Manufactured pop culture is disintegrating before your eyes as the Net takes hold," and the nimbler, less risk-averse indies are best positioned to take advantage of the digital transformation. While the majors look at P2P file sharing, podcasting and other forms of digital distribution and see thieves, pirates and the willful disregard of copyright, the indies increasingly see a chance to connect directly with their customers – and an opportunity to steal a march on the Big Four. As Gottlieb points out, independent artists now account for 30% of internet radio play, and labels such as Artemis Records (Steve Earle, the Pretenders) have been distributing files over P2P networks for over a year. Add the fact that podcasters, at the wheel of the fastest-growing media phenomenon around, almost universally avoid major label music due to potential licensing infractions and it starts to look like there’s a digital train leaving the station – and the majors aren’t on it.
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