Why music today does NOT suck! 2019 pt 2
Last time we spoke about a number of issues with people saying that music today sucks and also a few different angles to look at that statement. As promised, tonight we'll go into a little information about what we hear through various radio stations, streaming services etc. and how that affects our thinking and opinion on certain music.
As artists and creators, we tend to have those who will say "I don't do my art for the money, it's my passion". This is true for many of us. Many of us also need at least a steady stream of income to survive in this wild world. If we could all share our gift with the world and the world paid us accordingly, there probably wouldn't be any more world wars (lol!)
On the business end of things we have owners of labels and music companies who in essence serve as gate keepers for us artist. Make no mistake, these people's main goal is to MAKE MONEY. If they see you as profitable to them, they will almost always find a way to get that money, often time at your and my expense. It really is a business model for them and in reality, you can only knock them for not being fair oft times. They have the means to put in money and invest in you as a musician, while expecting a return on their investment in the form of money. This model is not bad in my opinion, it is the unfair payment that we often hear about that is wrong. And this unfairness is coming from people working in the music industry.
Let's briefly look at a fictional scenario. Say we have a music label executive who has 1 million dollars at his disposal and is looking to sign someone or a few artists to double or triple that amount. He finds an artist to invest in, we'll call this artist Oven Fresh (I'm looking at the side of a pizza box) and the executive we'll call The Exec. The Exec through his A&R team find Oven Fresh playing a gig at a club, let him know that he is what they're looking for, and offer him a contract. We've heard these stories a million times. Oven Fresh gets a $100,000 "advance" check, finishes recording an album, shoots a couple of videos, get airplay and sales, rides the charts, and then the ride starts slowing down a few years in. And recently it seems like that "few years in" is getting shorter! In the end, Oven Fresh has to pay for all of that recording time at studios that The Exec set up for him, he has to pay for the videos that were shot, and now the worst part, he doesn't own his masters. That advance he got is almost certainly dissolved and since The Exec and his company owns Oven Fresh's masters (or a great percentage of the masters) Oven Fresh is making only a small amount of money when his music is played or used in the mass media. You can look at old episodes of Unsung to see this story played out dozens of times.
The above scenario happens quite often and it's really a shame how many of us fall into the trap. But honestly, if that money was swinging in front of our faces, how many of us would take it? Knowing the possible strings attached? I've heard some wild ways that people claim they would handle it. Some claim they would "trick" The Exec. I don't doubt that its possible, but what is the likelihood of that being a reality? Others say they would NEVER take a contract......cuz they're woke..... those same people will ask for a thousand rides to band rehearsal and not once offer gas money. I'm not really believing that person either. Still another one will say he or she will take the ride and just be smarter. I truly believe nothing is impossible but I also believe many things are improbable.
How does the above relate to music not sucking today in 2019? It relates because The Exec and his types and his peers own the avenues of radio and television that a lot of people around the world come to know about your and my songs. If I asked some of the musician friends I know to let me hear their music and when they started to play it I turned it down and said "wait, when was this music made???" they reply "Oh I just made it this month" then I say " Oh naw man sorry this stuff sucks bro, it was made in 2019". ( Side note, people who know me, KNOW I will actually say something like this lol). My friends would probably become angry with me! But there are honestly people who as we spoke of in part one of this article, truly believe that music WAS only good in their time and will NEVER be good again, or will never reach the level it was when they were a certain age.
My point in the above was to show that there are many factors in music "sucking" today. If someone like The Exec is hiring and firing artist, his friends who own multiple television networks are playing only the artists he is hiring, and then you and I as artists are struggling to get our music heard but some of us are low key saying we will deal with The Exec, but just "smarter", I see a vicious cycle of madness with an unlimited amount of suckers to join in the cycle. How will this change? Are we doomed to repeat this cycle? Has technology and the internet helped or hurt independent artists' chances of getting our music heard? (And us getting paid!)
There is always much to talk about, hit us up in the comment section and we'll see you next time :)