Music Business

The sharps and flats of the music business

By Zoë Keating

September 1, 2013


This year marks the 10th anniversary of the day I quit my software job. There was nothing wrong with my job; it was rewarding and I liked it, but "information architect" was not my calling. I didn't want to sit at a computer all day. I wanted to make music.


The Real Story Of How Macklemore Got 'Thrift Shop' To No. 1


The No. 1 song in the country right now is "Thrift Shop" by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, a rap group out of Seattle. Their claim to fame: They got the song to the top of the chart by themselves, without being signed by a major label. They've bragged about this success in a video spoof and on Twitter.  But the story they've been telling — the story that's been widely reported — is not entirely true.  The truth is that Macklemore and Ryan Lewis hired a company to help them get their music into stores. That company, Alternative Distribution Alliance, is an arm of Warner Music Group, one of the most major of the major labels.

Still, the rise of "Thrift Shop" is something new. It's an indication of a power shift away from the major labels to the artist themselves. Clearly, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis accomplished a lot on their own.    Listen to the NPR story ....