I'm amazed to report that She Dates Creeps was downloaded 122 times in June! In fact, various songs from both of my CDs totalled 602 downloads last month. That's without me playing gigs or promoting the CDs or anything. Apparently I've gone viral or something... Wow, am I ever glad I'm not stuck on some major label where I'd be ignored.
Speaking of which (warning: rant ahead), a friend of mine recently did a set at Reverb for one of the umpteen "new music nights" that happen around Toronto. This particular shindig was a bit different though, in that there were three "judges" making notes on each performer, and then discussing their observations with the performer after that performer's mini-set. One of the judges was from an indie thrash metal label, and the other two were A&R weasels from major labels. I know EMI was one of the majors represented, but I forget the other, not that it matters, they're all pretty much interchangeable. Anyway, since my friend's style is a unique sort of fusion of pop, jazz and world music, the guy from the thrash metal label wasn't able to offer anything in the way of career advancement. He did say he really liked her music though, and was just generally really encouraging. His demeanour was in sharp contrast to the major label lunkheads however, who suggested that my friend should show more skin, and should watch a lot of MTV so she can pattern herself more along the lines of the pop tartlets whose videos make MTV the culturally enriching experience that it is. And the major labels wonder why they're in trouble. Talk about having your head up your ass...
I think many would agree that the majors have worked tirelessly to bring about their own inevitable demise, and that their policy throughout the 1990s of conning the public into repeatedly paying upwards of twenty smackers for CDs that only held two decent songs each has a lot to do with their current predicament. But that's only part of the picture. Music in a digital form is sort of like Frankenstein's monster, and the major labels have unwittingly cast themselves in the role of Dr. Frankenstein. In a twist on the original story though, this time the monster was in need of foster parents, and we were the suckers who got stuck with that particular gig. Think about it, the "monster" was born around 1982 (when CDs first hit the market), we started the adoption process in the late 80s (when we were conned into believing that we should replace every one of our vinyl LPs with its CD equivalent) and by the time the monster turned 18 in 2000, it was old enough to leave home and go out into the big world and wreak havoc on its creators (Napster).
In hindsight, a lot of audiophiles now feel that vinyl LPs actually sounded really good, much less bright and brittle sounding than CDs, and one can't help but think that if we'd been allowed to stay with our tried and true analog musical formats, the majors might not be in the trouble they're in. Looks good on them, eh? Perhaps the term "A&R" stands for "Artless & Repetitive". Okay, I'll stop there. Thanks for tuning in!