Ongoing History of New Music

The Ongoing History of New Music, episode 989: The History of the 2010s, part 2

Traditional wisdom says that the recorded music industry is dominated by the major labels. There used to be a bunch of them, but over the last 25 years, their number has been whittled down to just three companies: Universal (the biggest), Sony, and Warner Music.

Here’s something you may not have known. At last estimate, about 95,000 songs are uploaded to streaming music services every day. Of that number, only about 4% are from those three majors. The rest comes from indie labels and do-it-yourself musicians.

Let me flip that around: 96% of all new music comes from independent musicians. The market share of indie labels has been rising by double-digits for almost 25 years now.

Indie music—or at least material from bands not directly signed to one of the three majors—was an important aspect of the 2010s. Major label acts were still important, but without the indies, it would have been a pretty empty decade. But thanks to the sheer volume of new music and some crafty distribution by indie-friendly companies, we got to hear a lot of it.

The width and breadth of indie over those ten years was staggering. And without the influence of independent musicians, styles, and trends, major label mainstream rock would have been much different.

Let’s examine that. This is part two of the history of rock in the 2010s.

Songs heard on this show:

  • Milky Chance, Stolen Dance
  • Gotye, Somebody I Used to Know
  • Vampire Weekend, Horchata
  • Lumineers, Ho Hey
  • Three Days Grace, Painkiller
  • Fall Out Boy, My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light ‘Em Up)
  • Lorde, Royals
  • David Bowie, Lazarus
  • Linkin Park, Bleed It Out

Eric Wilhite supplies the playlist.

The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38519 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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