Warner Music Group is preparing a digital-only music division, dubbed an “e-label” by chairman/CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. at a recent speaking appearance.
Artists signed to the e-label will have their music distributed only as digital downloads, not CDs or other physical media. Speaking to the Progress & Freedom Foundation, Bronfman said the strategy is to give emerging acts a channel for less-costly distribution without the usual label pressure of widespread commercial hits.
“While the old system allowed an artist time to develop and grow, today’s business is such that an initial commercial failure for most artists means they no longer get a second chance,” Bronfman told attendees.
The e-label, he added, will not require artists to have enough material for a full album, or adhere to normal album release schedules. Instead, the e-label will publish three or more songs released every few months. In addition, artists signed to the digital-only label will retain full ownership of their masters and copyrights for as long as they’re signed to the e-label.
Bronfman did not indicate when the label would launch, but sources at WMG tell Billboard.biz it is expected to begin operating before the end of the year.