Radiohead's decision to release its new album "In Rainbows" by itself—online, without a record label's help and at any price the user chose—rocked the industry last fall. Some hailed it as the beginning of the end for record labels. Other dismissed it as merely a publicity stunt. But everyone wants to know: Who's next? So far the only artist to do so is classical soprano Barbara Hendricks. Some of the followers may be megastars like Radiohead, with enough riches and fans that such a move would prove little risk. Others may be smaller acts that are either past their prime or no longer viewed as good investments by today's penny-pinching labels. The following 10 acts represent where the smart money is on such speculation. Let the games begin.
He's already shown a willingness to distribute music outside traditional label structures by releasing new music on his Web site, via his NPG Music Club and by offering his latest album as a covermount with the Daily Mail newspaper in London. Prince is also staging a massive effort to "gain control of the Internet" by suing the Pirate Bay and forcing independent fan clubs to remove images and other content, suggesting perhaps that he wants all eyes on his site in the future.
Trent Reznor/Nine Inch Nails
After a highly publicized departure from label Interscope and Universal Music Group, Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor came right out and declared his intention to release the group's next album from its Web site for $5. He also collaborated with Saul Williams on the "Niggy Tardust" release, which was offered online in a Radiohead-like fashion. This one is money in the bank.
For the full list of artists, click here.