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Ditto Blog

Indie Label Rivals Spotify With Subscription Service

LA based independent Hip-Hop label Stones Throw Records have launched a subscription service. The label, which has been home to artists such as Aloe Blacc, J DIlla, Madlib and The Stepkids hopes to attract fans of the label by offering a straight to inbox service for a monthly fee.

For $10 a month subscribers will have all new releases from the label sent to their inboxes for them to listen to at will. The releases will have anti-sharing protections on them preventing listeners from burning them to CDs or MP3 players.

Do record label subscription services work?

There appears to be a diminished reverence around record labels these days. Record labels do not command as much of a cult status as they did in the days of Motown or even Def Jam, with majors almost universally hated and independents struggling to stay alive.

Of course this subscription model would never work for majors, as their catalogue is far too varied to attract listeners and so high profile for them to even bother. It could be successful with some of the smaller labels with more specific and focussed catalogues such as Saddle Creak or Secretly Canadian, as potential subscribers are likely to know and be fans of all their artists and have a good idea of release details and schedules well ahead of time.


By Michael Townsend