And it's widely expected that Live Nation will have to strike a
distribution deal with an established label to handle promotion and get
Madonna's upcoming albums in stores.
In theory, that could lead
Live Nation back to Warner Music, home of Warner Bros. Records, where
Madonna signed as a new artist in 1984.
"It comes down to, do
you need a label? Possibly not. Do you need the expertise that a label
traditionally brought? Absolutely," Cohen said.
Despite the turmoil in the industry, the major record companies continue to exert considerable influence in the marketplace.
Major labels are not likely to disappear or become irrelevant, although
the role they play might change as digital music overtakes CDs and
other physical formats, Flohr said.
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