It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine. REM
Once, the biggies controlled the pipelines, deciding whose content was disseminated and how. But no more. Thousands of little conduits are siphoning the power from the few and allowing art and information to flow up, over, around to audiences, albeit smaller ones, everywhere.
We've witnessed the phenomenon of Radiohead's Web-only album release. Here's another example of a breach in the wall: Ingrid Michaelson. The NY-based singer/songwriter's road to fame, if not quite stardom, ran through MySpace, where her music was found by TV types, scoring her an Old Navy commercial and a few seconds on Grey's Anatomy. Now she's gaining traction as an indie darling, with coverage in the likes of The New York Times and Rolling Stone. Her second album, Girls and Boys, has been rereleased and is doing nicely on Billboard.com (meaning there's radio play) and iTunes.
Why is this so cool? She's never been signed to a label.
Oh yes, the end is coming.