Damian Kulash is the lead singer of OK Go, the band that made that treadmill video somebody forwarded you a few years back. The video above is from their latest album, Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky
On today's Planet Money, Kulash talks about the sinking ship that is the music business.
Management Secrets Of The Treadmill Video Guy
He's not a fan of the major labels. But his former label, EMI, took a risk on his band that he wouldn't have taken himself:
I certainly didn't have $150,000, $200,000 to dump on trying to make my band work. And if I could have gotten a banker to give me that loan, I wouldn't have taken it because the chances are I'm going to fail.
Now that OK Go has made it big, though, they've left EMI and started their own label. That would have been tough back in the day, he says:
Way back in the day — by which I mean like eight years [ago] — before the culture at large had picked up on digital distribution, before everybody saw an MP3 as sort of equivalent to a CD, you really did need a brick and mortar system. You needed things to get on a truck and things to get across a country and to get into the hands of people so they could put it in their CD player.
Distribution's a snap now. But the rest of the music business is a mess, and there's no clear path for a young band that wants to make it big.
There's no known way from point A to point C or D or F anymore. ... There's all sorts of room for people to try new ideas and try innovative things. If people make cool stuff, and people are savvy in the way they deal with their cool stuff, I have no doubt that young bands will continue to rise to the top
Read Kulash's New York Times op-ed. Download the podcast, or subscribe. Music: OK Go's "This Too Shall Pass." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook/ Flickr.