Indie labels, sick of getting a bad rap for all the BS their older siblings at the RIAA are trying to pull, have joined forces to create a "fifth major label." While each label on their own is pretty tiny, when they all join forces they have more artists repped than any of the major labels.
The new licensing authority is called Merlin, and they're already making waves by paving the way for their artists to sell their tunes on MySpace. This will also help indie labels get their CDs into major retailers that they had trouble breaking into before. All in all, it's a great thing for smaller labels, who generally take more chances and put out more interesting and forward-thinking music than any of the majors. Rock on, indie labels.
Indie labels combine to form a "virtual fifth major" [Ars Technica]