Cuneiform Records have announced that founder Steve Feigenbaum will take a year’s sabbatical to “determine what direction the label could or should take to be viable again in the future.”
The label, like many others, has seen a decline in CD, LP and digital sales in recent times, due to the rise in music streaming – and they say that 2018 will be a year to “rethink, retool and evolve the label” as it is “no longer feasible for us to run a record label in the same manner as we have for the past 35 years.”
A statement from the label reports that Feigenbaum will continue to maintain Cuneiform’s catalogue and oversee other responsibilities, but that the label, who released an average of 15 albums a year over the past three decades, have no new releases scheduled.
A statement from the label reads: “The digital revolution changed everything for everyone in the music industry. When Cuneiform began, its international business was conducted by mail or phone, and later, fax.
“When the internet arrived, we became ‘early adopters,’ embracing it as our ideal ‘dream’ tool for international commerce. But there was also a downside – digital theft.
“When digital theft began taking a toll on physical sales around 2009, we had to adapt to survive. We began releasing music in electronic format in addition to traditional physical ones, making it available for sale on a variety of digital platforms, and we embraced new media, expanding promotion to internet radio, online press and social media.”
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Cuneiform say that as sales of recorded music in all formats have declined, “it’s become increasingly difficult to finance the release of new high-quality musical content.”
The statement adds: “A glut of free music on the internet and nearly free music on streaming platforms has devalued music.
“Surrounded/drowning in free music that’s ‘good enough’ for casual entertainment, there is little incentive to purchase music. This unsound climate endangers the future of professional music.
“Music that sustains deep listening costs money to create, record, release, distribute and promote. In 2018, Steve will explore how Cuneiform could further evolve to continue releasing music of substance.”
Cuneiform will remain in its current offices in Silver Spring, Maryland but as a result of the changes, the label’s Department of Publicity & Promotion will be dissolved at the end of January due to in-house production costs.
The statement concludes: “In 2018, Cuneiform Records remains a precious resource for musicians, for fans, and for cutting-edge music itself. Steve Feigenbaum welcomes your encouragement and support as he resets Cuneiform for the future.”