A netlabel (also online label, web label or MP3 label) is a record label that distributes its music primarily through digital audio formats (mainly MP3 or Ogg Vorbis) over the Internet. These music-files are often called netaudio. While similar to traditional record labels in many respects, netlabels typically emphasize free distribution online, often under licenses that encourage works to be shared (e.g., Creative Commons licenses), and artists usually retain copyright. Most employ guerrilla marketing to promote their work; few netlabels earn money for participants.
Online music groups date back almost as far as the history of personal computers, and share close ties with video games and the demoscene. Early music groups released music in MOD formats, typically as part of a music disk, which often included a MOD player, visual effects, and textual information.
Netlabels began to branch out from the tracker scene when the MP3 file format became popular in the late 1990s. Most are still dedicated to electronic music and related genres, though this is rapidly changing.
Today there is a wide range and fast increasing number of netlabels all over the world. Though netaudio music is still a niche within music business the easy way of distributing the music via download/ stream from the internet and the modern license system are the strongest arguments for the growing importance of netlabels and netaudio.
- Netlabel release collection from the Internet Archive
- Netlabel Catalogue Netaudio/Netlabel-Directory with information about netlabels
- Bleepshow Non-commercial netlabel web radio showbg:Net label