Are Netlabels Long Tail Niches or the Blueprint for the Future

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Wizard of OS 2006 conference panel

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"During the last five years a new form of music distribution has emerged online. Netlabels make use of liberal licenses to distribute their music freely and generate exposure for their artists. The phenomenon has especially flourished in the electronic music scene, with literally hundreds of labels releasing electronica, house and IDM tracks and many artists gaining international recognition.

At the same time, the adoption of the netlabel idea has been slow when it comes to other genres and the traditional music industry in general. Some netlabels want to change that by embracing download stores, viral e-commerce and a more professional approach to promotion and events. Others instead celebrate the artistic and commercial independence of a not-for-profit model.

What does this mean for the future of netlabels? Will they remain a niche phenomenon? Or are they part of a long tail industry that is gaining strength as physical distribution fades?" [(]