I was at the Lifetime reuinion at Bowery Ballroom the other day, and a friend casually mentioned to me that a pretty large indie had recently sold an interest in their company to a major label. The reason for doing so was not expansion, but survival.
This particular indie is no slouch. They have some amazing bands and bill exponentially more than Blackout! does. But this proves what I've been saying for a while. You can't keep shelling out massive marketing dollars to sell just enough pieces to break even. What's the point in billing a million dollars a month if you spend 1.1 million to get there? None.
It's pretty clear to me that the next wave of indie music is a digitally distributed talent incubator with an artist management core. The funds will come from other places than selling music. Merchandise and digital means of distribution (and later concert tickets) will provide the financial backbone to growing bands.
In fact, I've just started building a team for a new venture called Interstitial Media (no website yet) to do just that. I'll tell you more as it starts to come together a bit more. If you're interested in getting involved as an early stage investor or partner, hit me up with an email.