The Counting Crows are the latest band to leave the major label fold. Eighteen years after signing to Geffen (actually to Geffen imprint DGC), the Northern Calif.-based band wrote on its website.

 The letter, penned by front man Adam Durwitz, is a sweet shout out to a time that doesn't really exist any more on major labels, when bandmates felt like they were all playing for  winning team.  He notes his label mates when they joined DGC were Nirvana, Sonic Youth, the Posies, The Sundays, Maria McKee and That Dog. "Bands knew each other, played on each other's records, toured together...It was a dream environment to be a musician, even for that time."

 The band doesn't say what comes next, but hints that it will, natch, be an internet play. "The internet opens a world of limitless possibility, where the only boundaries are the boundaries of your own imagination. We want a chance to push those boundaries back as far as we can. Unfortunately, the directions we want to go and the opportunities we want to pursue are often things that our label is simply not to do."  (We read that to mean that the band wants to bundle music or give it away in ways that labels can be reluctant to try since they can cut into the revenue stream).

 As a little gift, the band posted their version of Madonna's "Borderline," recorded at Royal Albert Hall, as a free download.

 Although the light on the Crows has dimmed lately (their underrated 2008 album "Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings" was excellent), they were huge during the '90s via such hits as "Mr. Jones" and "hanginaround," as well as the early '00s, with their cover of "Big Yellow Taxi" and Oscar-nominee "Accidentally in Love" from "Shrek 2."