I am not a gun guy. I hear rappers talking about them all the time though. Using the “gun talk” references from many rappers, I am going to make an analogy of sorts regarding the record industry.
If the Big 4 major labels (Universal Music Group, EMI, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group) were guns, they would be some sort of machine gun like a Tommy Gun or an assault rifle like an AK-47. In this piece, I would like to use the Tommy Gun analogy as I feel like that is the best imagery of their current effectiveness. Think about it – you’re watching a Prohibition-era movie with the bad guy slinging a Tommy Gun rapidly firing in the general direction of the police. The bad guys hits a couple officers, but he rattles of 100 rounds and only 3 out of 20 die. As this is a movie of course, the bad guys always lose eventually. It is a bit ineffective, if you ask me, much like the major labels today.
Now independent labels are handguns. The heavier the acts they carry, the higher caliber of the gun they use. They do not shoot as much, but in the hands of a marksman they can be deadly with fewer shots. Much like Eddie Murphy’s characters in the infamously hilarious scene in Harlem Nights.