Brad, you may be right that artists’ collectives are a better way to go. Right now, the netlabel form creates a way of distributing music which “feels” analogous to the old concept of a record label–Statsisfield or The Resting Bell netlabels release material with a kind of “branding” that is dependable, just as Nonesuch or Philo did in “realspace”. Yet it’s true that netlabel thinking as a construct may should wither–and artists gathering into “collectives” or “schools” or the like may help.
Brad, you’ve done a great deal to spread your music through your own efforts–and it’s been very impressive to see. I think it’s true, as Lucas mentions, that your work is “net-native” rather than “netlabel”–and that alternative has been perfectly workable for you.
I think that perhaps “netlabel” and “collective” are old ways of thinking, and that viral music spread will evolve ways of thinking about releasing music which move beyond either idea.
Tags, links, mutual friends, shared music, social networks–a whole set of tools, and software and websites that aid in their management may be the true tools needed when it all shakes out.