More and more often, bands are breaking away from the traditional label model in order to produce albums. Amanda Palmer raised over a million dollars on Kickstarter in order to fund the production of her album Theatre Is Evil with the Grand Theft Orchestra along with its resulting tour, and the $2200 that Vultures United raised may be much more modest, but it was more than enough to produce their release Girls.
The fact is, bands are relying on labels less and less to produce records, eliminating them as middlemen and turning directly to their fans in order to bring their releases to fruition.
The latest band to join the ranks of crowdfunding are the Canadian metalcore band Protest The Hero who, having fulfilled their obligations to their label, decided to take control of their careers and ask their fans to help fund the production of their new release on Indiegogo.
The fans responded enthusiastically, allowing the band to hit their $125,000 goal within 24 hours. As I write this, the band has raised over $227,000, with 24 days to go.
Removal of the labels from the equation is a big way to ensure that the music that gets produced is the music that fans want to hear, rather than what the labels want to force upon them. Sure, it's no way to remove the lowest common denominator and there is no accounting for taste (yes, brokeNCYDE will somehow still manage to exist), but it is a way to ensure that bands with a following can continue, no matter what the labels say. If there were a television equivalent, perhaps Firefly would still be on the air.
If you want to kick in on the Protest the Hero record and get some cool perks, check out their Indiegogo page.