Rocker TRENT REZNOR is urging all musicians to follow in his footsteps and ditch their record labels.
Reznor's band Nine Inch Nails broke away from their deal with Universal in 2007, after a tempestuous relationship with the music giant.
The singer describes the experience as "liberating" - insisting big labels make too much money from musicians and are completely out of touch with the industry.
Reznor says, "Anyone who's an executive at a record label does not understand what the internet is, how it works, how people use it, how fans and consumers interact - no idea. I'm surprised they know how to use email. They have built a business around selling plastic discs, and nobody wants plastic discs any more. They're in such a state of denial it's impossible for them to understand what's happening.
"One of the biggest wake-up calls of my career was when I saw a record contract. I said, 'Wait - you sell it for $18.98 and I make 80 cents? And I have to pay you back the money you lent me to make it and then you own it? Who the f**k made that rule? Oh! The record labels made it because artists are dumb and they'll sign anything' - like I did. When we found out we'd been released (from their recording contract) it was like, 'Thank God!'. But 20 minutes later it was, 'Uh-oh, now what are we going to do?' It was incredibly liberating, and it was terrifying."
And Reznor adds that musicians should be exploring other ways to sell their own music, rather than relying on labels: "As an artist, you are now the marketer."
Dubai was meant to be a Middle-Eastern Shangri-La, a glittering monument to Arab enterprise and western capitalism. But as hard times arrive in the city state that rose from the desert sands, an uglier story is emerging.
The wide, smiling face of Sheikh Mohammed – the absolute ruler of Dubai – beams down on his creation. His image is displayed on every other building, sandwiched between the more familiar corporate rictuses of Ronald McDonald and Colonel Sanders. This man has sold Dubai to the world as the city of One Thousand and One Arabian Lights, a Shangri-La in the Middle East insulated from the dust-storms blasting across the region. He dominates the Manhattan-manqué skyline, beaming out from row after row of glass pyramids and hotels smelted into the shape of piles of golden coins. And there he stands on the tallest building in the world – a skinny spike, jabbing farther into the sky than any other human construction in history.
But something has flickered in Sheikh Mohammed's smile. The ubiquitous cranes have paused on the skyline, as if stuck in time. There are countless buildings half-finished, seemingly abandoned. In the swankiest new constructions – like the vast Atlantis hotel, a giant pink castle built in 1,000 days for $1.5bn on its own artificial island – where rainwater is leaking from the ceilings and the tiles are falling off the roof. This Neverland was built on the Never-Never – and now the cracks are beginning to show. Suddenly it looks less like Manhattan in the sun than Iceland in the desert.
Once the manic burst of building has stopped and the whirlwind has slowed, the secrets of Dubai are slowly seeping out. This is a city built from nothing in just a few wild decades on credit and ecocide, suppression and slavery. Dubai is a living metal metaphor for the neo-liberal globalised world that may be crashing – at last – into history.