Home / MCA Going Away – Do We Really Want the Majors Gone?

MCA Going Away – Do We Really Want the Majors Gone?

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The MCA label brand is going away, along with a goodly number of employees:

    The restructuring of MCA Records and the move to eliminate the MCA brand began Monday, when about one-third of the label’s staffers were let go, sources said. The cuts had been expected.

    A spokeswoman for Interscope Geffen A&M declined to confirm how many employees were affected. According to sources, the layoffs extended across the board and to all levels.

    ….The MCA brand name will cease to exist as of next week, sources said. MCA’s remaining staff and artist roster will move under the Geffen Records banner.

    ….MCA’s artists include Mary J Blige, Blink-182, New Found Glory, Live, A-Teens, Common, Avant, Sigur Ros, Cafe Tacuba, the Roots and Something Corporate.

    Geffen has a small roster that includes Cold and Counting Crows. It remains unclear where all of MCA’s artists will land. Many will go to Geffen, some will be cut, and others may fall under Interscope, sources said. [Hollywood Reporter]

I am never pleased when hard working people I know and like loose their jobs, and when there are fewer opportunities for new artists to get the exposure only a major label can provide.

The major label role of middleman is currently overcompensated and they are using bazooka-to-fly methods trying to maintain that role against all comers, including customers and talent – hence the level of resentment against them.

After nearly a year of working on Blogcritics and thinking about all of this news, I have come to realize that the majors are venal and power-mad, and need to drastically restructure the way they make money by changing their relationship vis-a-vis customers and artists.

But the labels – in particular the majors – should be given credit and reap the financial benefits for CREATING demand. The pastoral view of unencumbered amateur musicians strolling from town to town and playing for barn-raisings is no more – and is probably less – appealing than the current structure, which exists because the labels are so good at AMPLIFYING AND CHANNELING natural demand. Do we want to end up like Mexico? I don’t.

Certainly there would be music made in a label-less world, but there wouldn’t be nearly the demand for commercial musical product through which musicians are able to make a living, buying them the TIME to focus on their art.

Labels generate commercial enthusiasm not just for music in general, but for specific expressions of that music, amplifying natural demand for that specific expression, and generating wealth in every direction – too much for themselves, surely, but the criticality of this market creation role shouldn’t be underplayed either.

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About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted, Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.
  • I’ll just note that I wouldn’t miss a thing if every one of those artist listed as MCA and Geffen above completely went away. Maybe their problem is lack of any good acts.

  • Interesting that the label can decide to completely fold the legal entity known as MCA, but still reserves the right to do whatever they want with the artists. Are the contracts not actually signed with a “label,” but with the parent conglomerate? If so I’m not sure MCA could just cut some or randomly assign them to Geffen or Interscope.

    I don’t know enough about how this works, darn it!

    It could be just that all current contracts are terminated and they expect that most or all of the artists in question will be quite happy to sign a new deal with Geffen or Interscope (probably at terms even better for the new label that they were for MCA).

    It’s worth noting that for all that the labels mistreat their artists, there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of artists willing to sign long-term contracts to be mistreated. Very few complain, and fewer still do anything about it. How many signed artists are there for every Pearl Jam or Prince?