Editors' note: This blog initially misstated the first name of the founder of Downtown Records. His full name is Josh Deutsch.
The service is an interesting combination of things we've seen elsewhere, such as blog postings, streaming audio, player widgets, and free downloads, but I wouldn't call it groundbreaking. Most of the artists on RCRD LBL are also on traditional labels and have so far only released a few songs through the site. I could see bands with devoted followings like Art Brut and Cold War Kids releasing excess material--live tracks, B sides, outtakes--through the site, while saving their favored material for old-fashioned physical albums or paid downloads. Less popular artists might make more material available through the site for promotional purposes, in hopes of boosting tour attendance and merchandise sales.
That said, I do like RCRD LBL's approach: much of the material on the site is licensed under a Creative Commons license that lets users share and remix it as much as they like. In other words, here's a business that acknowledges what's actually going on in the digital world rather than fighting it and alienating customers in the process. And if you're a fan of the artists or labels on the site, the blog postings and podcasts could be a great way to stay on top of what's happening.
Will other indie labels follow? That depends on how big an audience RCRD LBL can draw, which will determine how much the company can charge advertisers.