Lost Eighties and Nineties
Several years ago independent artists were encouraged to self-promote and self-publish. This became financially feasible by the early eighties, with production runs of a thousand cd's costing between $2000 and $2500. But once these cd's were gone, they were gone forever. A few 'labels' reissued a smattering of cd, vinyl or cassette releases. In doing so, some questions were raised as to whether artists received royalties from these limited pressings. But many worthy releases associated with labels like Word, Myrrh, Kingsway, Refuge, Dark, Light, Greentree, Home Sweet Home, Maranatha, and others were never reissued on cd.
Digitizing some of my cassette and vinyl titles to create a playlist for online radio underscored how time-consuming the process really is. These titles need to be available online for purchase and download as a minimum - a full 44.1kHz compact disc would be preferrable... Currently there is no outlet from which to purchase copies of these digitally, nor any way to direct a listener to a source for a legal copy for purchase or download.
I can imagine a time when online radio programs provide not only a means of discovering artists, but also serve as a source for connecting listeners with artists unconstrained by when the songs were released. To do so, the catalogs of both labels and independent artists need to move into the digital domain. This is especially important for independent artists to ensure this is done while masters are still available. When putting together our 2nd Anniversary compilation cd in 1991, one of the bands found that their master tape was damaged and we were almost unable to salvage the song due to dropouts. What have we lost already?
Following are a few places to start. If you, or a band you know, have material online through iTunes, amazon, cdbaby, or other channels, let me know so I can share that. I may even be your first customer...