When veteran producer David Kahne (Regina Spektor, Paul McCartney, Kelly Clarkson) was leaving his A&R position at Columbia Records in the mid-'90s, more than 200 artists were on the label's roster. Not only are there less than half as many acts on Columbia today, many of the bands that would've signed with a major label for support have carved out sustainable careers on their own funded primarily by touring and synch licenses, a growing trend that appealed to Kahne.

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