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I believe the GP covered that function under "generous press" -- but even still, this isn't really a reason to make yourself beholden to a label; marketing is a service you can pay for like anything else, where the marketing agency is beholden to you.

Stripping off distribution and press, "labels" are really just left as VC firms and/or incubators for music-production "start-ups" (in est, bands.) Which sounds about right.

Yep, that's what I meant by press in my comment, I should have probably worded it as "marketing budget" or something more obvious as I can see how it could get confused with press as in pressing a copy of a record.

You are right about labels one day just being startup incubators and venture capitalists for bands. I guess when you factor in all of the benefits the Internet brings to a band, there aren't many left a label provides other than cash. For a true decent recording you need cash for studio time, a producer and then more money to get it mixed and mastered.

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