In this morning’s news thread via MSN Music News http://music.msn.com/music/newthisweek/ was a post by an indie musician who is clearly attempting to get a career off the ground. The article dishes on the touted careers of Sara Bareilles, Interpol, Stone Sour, Robyn, and Jerry Lee Lewis – all of whom are associated with power players in the music industry: Major labels, notable recording studios, and producers.
I look at examples of this sort of behavior all the time and ask, “What are you doing to yourself?” Why do indie artists promote the legacy of the music industry they rail against with a vengeance?
It’s human nature to align a burgeoning career with the sort of aspirations one wishes to achieve. But I simply do not understand in the current music climate, why true indie musicians fall in line promoting the raging machine that will likely keep them from achieving a sustainable career.
I’ve seen emerging indie artists accept large arena bookings with LiveNation allowing the behemoth’s evil twin, Ticketmaster, to sell tickets for them. Really, now. Isn’t this the height of hypocrisy in a political music war?
This year Lilith Fair held a competition soliciting indie female artists to join the renown annual tour supporting girl power. What they ended up with was rather tasteless. The tour was promoted and supported by the Axis of Evil when indie music is screaming rape in a undemocratized society of working class musicians.
Over the years I’ve worked with musicians who were under contract with major labels, then kicked to the curb and blamed for declining sales. Royalties were rationed at rates less than their legal contracts stipulated. Musicians were understandably livid at being undersold, then hung out to dry.
At this very moment, some of those musicians are at conferences across the country seeking out another industry deal. What? Are you kidding me? This is akin to PETA and Green Peace killing polar bears to make fur coats to drape across the shoulders of America’s royalty. It just doesn’t make sense!
Reaching across party lines is one thing when circumstances are political. Commerce is political, but he who has the most money wins. In this commercial climate any musician can be pistol whipped with their own money at the hands of those who refuse to democratize an art form this country clearly needs to bring people together.
The commercial music industry has often been called a mafia, and that’s not far off the mark. But it’s a well-known fact once you sign up with any kind of lynch mob, you can never leave unless they find a way to be rid of you.