Mike Skinner, aka the Streets, put his label the Beats out to pasture last month. In a little ceremony that took place the Friday before Christmas, Skinner and fellow label head Ted Mayhem gave a speech and had a poetry reading, while Skinner performed a song as a sort of eulogy in the presence of friends of the label.
While it existed, the Beats served as the home of the Mitchell Brothers, Professor Green, Trim, Example, and Neon Hitch, among others. A limerick addressed from "Warner Bros Promotions" and pictured below (via Skinner's MySpace blog) explains the Beats' retirement concisely: "the profit margins got thinner and thinner."
Skinner spoke to NME.com today and elaborated a little on the decision to end the Beats (no rhymes here, alas): "It just comes down to the fact that the traditional record label is dead. The Beats represents me growing up. Spectating was more nerve-wracking than performing. What I'm doing now is looking for the thing you can create that embraces the next generation. I'm really into what you can do online and I'd rather be at the center of it." Insert obligatory Radiohead mention here.
As for Skinner's live-instrumentation follow-up to 2006's The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living, it's still coming along slowly but steadily. He's obviously overshot his goal of a release by Christmas, but he hasn't announced a make-up release date. May we suggest he title the album It'll Get There When It Gets There?