Blog #1 The Problem With Music

“The band members have each earned about 1/3 as much as they would working at 7-11”

The Problem With Music, by Steve Albini, is one of the most informative articles I’ve read in a while.  I’ve always known that the music industry is corrupt however, this article puts it all into perspective. 

Before reading this, I wasn’t sure what an A&R’s exact job was.  I found it fascinating that the record companies hire-what seems to be “sold out” musicians to hunt for new aspiring bands/artists.  They know that they are new to the business so the bands will trust the A&R reps.  I am a huge punk music fan and to find out that Lyle Preslar-the guitarist for the early 1980’s punk band Minor Threat was one, blew my mind.  He has worked with many famous artists including: Glenn Danzig of The Misfits.  If I were a musician trying to get my big break and Lyle came up to me, I would trust every word he said.  After all, he lived through it, and I’d trust he would have my best interest in hand.  Little would I know is that he is at the bottom of the food chain-having little or no control of the contract I would be duped into signing.  It is almost a lose lose situation.  You can’t get money or publicise yourself without being signed; yet, once you are signed you are bound into a contract that prevents you from profiting on your own royalties. 

The breakdown of profit versus expenses shows that it is almost impossible for an artist to make money as a musician. (It really does give a new idea behind the label, “starving artist.”) This helps to explain why bands-in fact very GOOD bands, take years to become known and have a breakthrough into the mainstream industry.  It also makes you question why a band that has been around for a while, seems to change their ‘sound.’ Is it due to the band feeling they need to find a new niche or are they controlled by the industry? It also makes you wonder why so many seem to have disputes and leave the band-playing interchangable musicians with other bands. Does the industry hinder the creative juices that the artist fought to make known? 

Reading this article reminded me of a band that I discovered in middle school.  They were, at the time, not as well known.  After their first mainstream single topped the charts, their sound seemed to change. They came out with a few more albums after and their sound continually to something unrecognizable when comparing to their first album.  This band is the Goo Goo Dolls.  Originally, they were a punk/rock band signed with Metal Blade records.  Their single off of A Boy Named Goo, titled Name,was their first single to be played on the air.  It combined their original punk sound with a grunge/alternative twist.   Under their new label Warner Bros., they released to what is their most successful album to date, Dizzy Up The Girl.  Their single Iris topped the charts and was featured in the City of Angelssoundtrack-coincidentall distributed with Warner Bros. as well.  For this, they toned down their image and sound to something that is more received by the alternative/adult alternative community.  So, I pose the question: was it the bands choice to explore a new sound or was it the record label encouraging them to alter their sound in order to accommodate the interest of the label-to what they feel would make them more money in the long run?

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1 Comment

  1.   pit Said:

    on June 20, 2012 at 7:10 am


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