Unintended consequencesSeptember 13, 2008
Indie record label Kill Rock Stars—home to Sleater-Kinney, The Decemberists, et alia—recently relocated to Portland, OR; back in the Pacific Northwest after a brief sojourn in New York City (they were founded in Olympia, WA). Its owner, Portia Sabin, was interviewed in Sound magazine, and she made this comment about the rise of digital music sales:
We definitely have seen a decline in physical sales, but, with that being said, iTunes has been unbelievable. In the old days, like three years ago, we would get four royalty checks a year. So it would be complete feast or famine. Now, because of iTunes, we get paid every single month, boom boom boom. I don’t have those, “Oh God, we can’t put out another record because we don’t get paid for another month” moments anymore.
This an interesting side effect of digital music—stabilizing the cash flow of independent record labels so they can get on with the job of putting out new albums.