Here's a good article which ran in the Wall Street Journal about independent musical artists finding an audience for their music through the internet, and then signing with indie labels. Much thanks to reader Andres Rosado for bringing it to my attention.
Musician Finds a Following OnlineComplete article
Word-of-Mouth on Blogs and Other Sites Attracts Fans -- and a Record Deal
By SHELLY BANJO and KELLY K. SPORS
In late 2006, Justin Vernon, a musician in Eau Claire, Wis., recorded nine songs while staying at his parents' hunting cabin in northern Wisconsin after a breakup with a girlfriend and his long-time band. He used just a desktop computer with recording software, a three-piece drum set and a guitar.
A few months later, Mr. Vernon posted the songs on his MySpace page, hoping to get some listeners and feedback. He also printed 500 copies of a CD with those songs to sell to friends and fans and send to music bloggers for review.
He got that and much more.
Thanks to the buzz his online tracks generated on music blogs and social-networking sites, Mr. Vernon has played at numerous venues and appeared on the "Late Show With David Letterman." He signed a record deal in October 2007, and his first album, "For Emma, Forever Ago," sold about 87,000 copies through mid-December, with about half of those downloaded online. With a band he formed early this year, called Bon Iver, Mr. Vernon is now playing sold-out concerts across the U.S. and abroad.
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