Want to hear the latest emerging artists breaking into the music scene? Better have an MP3 player. Both major labels and independents alike are increasingly issuing digital-only releases for their baby bands as a way to test the waters in an inexpensive way.

Six Degrees Records, an indie out of San Francisco that recently signed a distribution deal with Fontana, has introduced an Emerging Artists Series for exactly this reason. Citing a decline in retail and growth in digital, the label says digital only releases allow them to be "more adventurous."

The first release in the series features newcomers Rara Avis, DO, Zaman 8 and Hafez Modir. It will be available for download via the label?s Web site, as well as iTunes and eMusic.