When mergers and acquisitions stung the music industry, major record labels reacted by dropping acts and musicians started dropping labels. Many talents left playing the blues, but they hummed a different tune when they realized the Internet's potential to connect with fans and sell their music and merchandise. The Web-savvy independent artists have created pages with slick graphics, fun contests and changing content that keep fans coming back for more. They have developed careers apart from the major labels -- something that would have been difficult to accomplish in the days before the Web. Here are three outstanding independent acts who've gone online:
Budding musicians can read lyrics to the Toronto-based band's songs and even download some tunes to play along with. "Our fans drive our music and our site," says drummer Jian Ghomeshi. "The site's also a way to have exclusivity with our records."
Fans can "pre-order" Siberry's as-yet unnamed upcoming CD and read Jane's Studio Journal. Says Siberry, "Selling records would not have been possible without the Internet because it has given me direct access to people who are interested in my music."
Buy Mann's Bachelor No. 2 album, which she bought back from her previous label [rather than "scrap parts of it in favor of recording more hit-radio-friendly material"] or the soundtrack to the movie Magnolia, to which she contributed nine songs. Says Mann, "[The Web site] is the most direct way to stay in touch with my fans."