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L.A.'s string of indie labels succeeds with a jack-of-all-trades approach
L.A.'s string of indie labels succeeds with a jack-of-all-trades approach

Part of a series of occasional articles. Two weeks ago, rock band Arcade Fire landed the No. 1 spot on the Billboard charts with its third album, "The Suburbs." For the band's devoted fans as well as some online music prognosticators, hitting the top in a country hopelessly devoted to Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga looked to be one of those watershed moments when art trumps commerce and some sort of musical reboot occurs. For North Carolina independent label Merge Records, which signed Arcade Fire in 2004 and released "The Suburbs," the coup served as a reminder that a tectonic shift has taken place in the music business. No longer reliant on big-box...

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