This genius video of hipster chic is for the track Thrift Shop by rapper Macklemore and producer Ryan Lewis. The track is the first ever song by an artist not signed to a major record label to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
The independent album went platinum recently and Thrift Shop was number one in Australia and New Zealand for six weeks.
This heralds an inevitable change in the way the music industry works. In era where every aspect of the music industry has been democratised – songwriting, recording, production, marketing, distribution, video production, merchandise etc – it's been only a matter of time before an artist reaches the top of the popular music pole without the assistance of any of the major labels.
While the Seattle-based outfit are not "signed" to anybody, they do make use of the services offered by the major labels. In this case, they have partnered with ADA, an independent distribution arm of Warner Bros to market their album The Heist to the alternative radio market for a period of three months. The duo pay for the company's services up front out of their own pocket.
They retain hands-on control of their music and their brand. A visit to macklemore.com reveals a bunch of personal tour photos, pics of the guys chilling with their girlfriends on their global adventures. This isn't some corporate platform – it's a business run by friends, who have built it from the ground up with quality music, media savvy and the personal touch.
Once they'd built that, doing business with a major music label was a partnership of equals. There was no question of signing over their rights to their tunes. They just paid ADA for their marketing servies.
"It all comes down to leverage," Macklemore told Billboard.com. "...You've got to want to still have creative control in order for a deal like this to be intriguing to you. It's figuring out how to maintain your connection to your core fan base that has ridden with you from the jump and remembering them as you continue to grow."