For decades record label executives were the primary decision makers on which musicians could become "stars" and make a living playing music. There has been a certain "man behind the curtain" aspect to the industry with an elite crew running the show and making all the decisions as to which artists to fund for recording and which artists to spend the most marketing dollars to promote to ensure that we heard their music.
Now, new technology is allowing fans, on a small scale, to step behind the curtain and play record executive. On the funding side, ArtistShare.com, allows fans to fund a recording for their favorite artist. This is a huge advance as artists have been at the mercy of label honchos when it comes to affording to record at top studios. One artist even one a Grammy when fans put up money for her to record her CD with a top producer. ArtistShare boasts that under their system "the artist retains all copyright and ownership of their work, allowing the artist full creative and financial control over the future or their art." Wow, now as an attorney who has seen some of these big label contracts that is a steep departure from the typical record deal!
But, even when the music is recorded money is still needed to get the word out via advertising. Even after spending big sums on recording some labels hold back on promoting certain artists. The reliance on big money marketing may change thanks to Weedshare.com. Via Weedshare the fans decide which artists to promote and even get paid for doing so. Popular artists like Heart, Master P and Sir Mix-A-Lot are taking advantage of Weedshare's fan powered marketing. There's even a Kelly Clarkson tune available for fan promoting.
If used properly, indie artists will be able to utilize "people power" to fund all or part of their recording and marketing budgets. If this is combined with organizing tools like MySpace, the big labels may find themselves with some serious competition on their hands.