Periphery guitarist/mastermind Misha “Bulb” Mansoor recently spoke to MetalSucks about the release of their self-titled (and recorded) debut album. What started as an interview to get to know the promising experimental band quickly became an analysis of the music industry. Recording Periphery’s debut in his basement, Mansoor owns the bands’ masters and licenses them to five different labels Periphery is on worldwide (the album is out on Sumerian in the States). While it took over four years for them to record their debut album, the only cost they had to lay out was a computer and the equipment it took them to record the album. Mansoor says that technology and the Internet are pretty much the great equalizer:
That’s sort of one of the revolutions that half the people would say is destroying the recording industry, and half the people would say is reviving it. Because you can do what I do, which is bypass the need for advances on records because we recorded our album for free. It cost us nothing. I just did it in my apartment. Hey, anyone can do that if they put the time into it. 20 years ago that would have been impossible. If you wanted a pro-sounding recording, you had to turn out some real cash. We’re talking like $100-200 grand, and you have to use your album as collateral so owning your masters was out of the question as well. It’s just that all of this is affecting the industry in ways that we can’t even predict because of the ripples that it causes. It really opened up new kinds of deals that you can do. It allowed us to sign the kind of deal that we signed. We’re signed to 5 labels.
Forward-thinking musicians like Mansoor are the types of people that keep music quality good while the industry is struggling to stay a float. As solid as Periphery’s music is, their business model is even better. There’s an old model and a new model, and Mansoor, like the No Label Needed contest, are proving that there are ways to get things done outside of the big label system.