moments before the wind.

January 26, 2006

the choice is yours, don’t be late

Filed under: authenticity, business, distribution, indie, labels, marketing, music, news — alimarcus @ 1:54 pm

At PopMatters today, Ryan Gillespie has some interesting things to say about independent music (link here).

It's true that indie record labels work like majors. It's true that a whole lot of them, especially big ones, are subsidiaries of majors. It's true that they sacrifice artistic integrity for business purposes. I've seen it happen a whole bunch of times, right in front of my eyes. I mean, come on, what independent record label owner would protest if a major label wants to sign one of their bands? $500,000 later, masters properly in place, there's a lot to be said for hard work and entreprenurial success. And plus, as Gillespie responds to his own criticism:

Isn't having an audience important? Doesn't everyone want as big of an audience as they can get, a large forum for their ideas? Why should financial success negate artistic integrity? Couldn't it verify it? And as the bands get bigger audiences and more money for tours, music and videos, the world becomes full of better music. Where's the harm in that?

This article gives me hope, because somewhere out there, people are looking for something that means more than $15 well spent. I think that Gillespie is right; indie artists have to get better at business in order to gain control over their careers. What really gets me, from what I've seen with musicians and music biz people around me, is watching people compromise what matters most to them. I simply can't imagine what allows a person to…well, I certainly know what motivates people to "sell out," but there is a boundary between motivations and actual decisions, signatures, etc. On a personal level, there are some things that you can't compromise. On a business level, it absolutely must be possible to manifest these same instincts.

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