note: The following manifesto was written a few years ago, and I want to make it clear that while I still BELIEVE all of this, Turtle Rock practices no longer directly mirror these beliefs. Due to the usual trials and tribulations of working musicians, sometimes things cost money now. See www.turtlerockrecords.com for more information, and please be patient. This philosophy wil be updated at some point in the near future. Thanks!
Turtle Rock Philosophy
Turtle Rock Records is in the business of sharing music. Typically, record labels are in the business of selling music. People cease to be people; they become consumers. Records cease to be artistic creations; they become advertisements. Musicians cease to be artists; they become brands, like Mr. Clean or Energizer batteries. Don’t get me wrong, Turtle Rock believes in products and Capitalism and all that. It’s just that somewhere along the way, music has all but lost its artistic credibility, in a sincere attempt on the part of the entire music industry to turn a profit. This has been quite a successful enterprise, to such an extent that even the laws surrounding the entire mess exist to support thriving, money-hoarding monopolistic factories (a.k.a. “Major Labels”). Basically, as soon as musical performance could be captured in a tangible, sellable form, music began its slow but steady descent to merely a presence on the shelf in your local big box depot.
Turtle Rock is not interested in lashing out at the state of our modern society. It is well understood that the events that have brought us from 1905 to 2005 are myriad, and not to be reversed nor repented. Turtle Rock is not a record label that is trying to compete with – or even criticize – the practices of other record labels, major or independent. It is simply going its own way.
Nevertheless, the materialism of our culture has become an ecstatic caricature of itself, unabashedly reveling in its own greed. The desire to identify with intangibles like ideas or thoughts has been supplanted by the need to acquire things in order to establish a sense of identity. This perhaps indicates a more shallow, de-intellectualized cultural landscape, and it definitely signifies the growing importance of surface appearances, and therefore a reliance on external possessions for a sense of one’s own self worth. An ominously growing disconnect between what’s within and what’s without threatens to destroy what we perceive as a sense of collective culture. Yes, the internet provides a new kind of global culture in so many ways, none of which involve physical touch, face to face interaction, or usually even communication by voice. So sure, it’s an unbelievable way to speak to and with the world, but it is a certain degree removed from humanity in a visceral sense.
Good art, successful art, can include any number of elements, but an implicit sense of humanity is what draws people in; it is what gets into their heads and their hearts and their fingertips; it is what changes and affects. Which brings me back to music. Music provides and propagates culture through a unique sense of connection that cannot be found any other way. Recordings have done well in this respect, bringing sounds and inspiration to places which otherwise would have been lacking. The success, though, has led to a profound imbalance, and now there is a need to cultivate that sense of connection in the most basic way.
Cultural exchanges need not be financial in order to turn a profit. So Turtle Rock Records is not selling music, for that would be an altogether different pursuit.
Listen. Be affected. Be changed. It doesn’t cost you anything, and think of what you can gain. It’s not just the music business; it’s everybody’s business.