by Xerxes Praetorius Horde
It’s finally here. For decades now, big business with proven fool-proof recipes for the perfect tasting burger have dominated the economic landscape of the food industry. They have the money to set up shop anywhere, advertise to anyone and sell their product at an astronomical mark up. They control what people like, because they have the influence to tell people what’s good. The new BBQ Bacon Burger – gotta have it! Homestyle Chicken BLT – for a limited time!
Except….something happened. You can now get the SAME hamburgers for free, anytime, without leaving your home…if you want. Baby Boomers could care less. They will still pay for the burgers. Generation X are hanging on to the novelty of the burger joints but still secretly enjoy the free food. Millennials don’t remember ever paying for a burger.
Oops…am I talking about food again? I meant MUSIC.
Now think about all that for a moment, because it’s easier to consider music as a consumer product than art. Or at least…it was.
The people who are upset that music is no longer profitable the same way it once was are the same people who want you to buy the same “food” they have been cooking for decades…
and now TWO THINGS have happened to mess that up –
1. The world has been rapidly introduced to THOUSANDS of brilliant independent musical artists
These new artists and fascinating new genres have all come into the public spotlight WITHOUT the money of major record labels, publicity companies, or the ailing music press that still relies on the rapidly depleting advertising dollars like a meth addict who is still insisting they do not need help.
2. If you don’t want to pay for the music, you don’t really have to.
No matter how hard the industry tries, there is ultimately no way to avoid people LISTENING to whatever they want at practically zero cost – whether it’s on a free Spotify account or streaming on youtube, there are legal ways to consume music that are still free.
So…if it costs upwards of $10,000 to record a decent album, then another $5000 to manufacture souvenirs like CDs or records (or cassettes if you are extra hip these days…), then WHAT is the logical financial reason to produce and release a new album in 2017? To tour and sell t-shirts?
I have been personally wrestling with this question ever since the release of our 2014 album “Soldiers of the Mark.” We released it on our own label, worked closely with reputable Canadian publicity companies and e-marketing strategists, toured Western Canada and the UK, and we have become moderately successful as independent artists. It’s been almost three years and we are doing wonderful things I never thought would be possible without a bigger label supporting the band.
But then the business side of the music industry rears its ugly head and laughs –
but now you will be expected to record another album!
Prepare to invest thousands all over again and struggle to make it back.
What if I say…
We operate independently. We are not required to.
Then I read something that enlightened me, and it came from the highest order of music industry business. It came from the top.
It came from Paul Stanley of KISS.
He and Gene Simmons were moaning about how financially pointless recording a new album would be. Gene blames college kids who like Radiohead and makes some very heartless comments about Kurt Cobain’s suicide and the substance abuse problems of former bandmates.
On the subject of whether or not there would be a new KISS album, Gene says
“unless and if there’s a financial model that works, personally I’m not interested in it.”
(read the entire article HERE if you like)
And there it is – from the kingpin of Rock ‘n Roll biz himself. There may be no financial model that works.
SO….why do artists continue to write, record and release music?
Paul Stanley is the one that made the closing statement of the interview –
“We’re in a situation now where artists have to take what they can get, as opposed to what they deserve…”
And what does Paul Stanley think of releasing albums in 2017?
“it’s only worth it if, artistically, you wanna do it.”
Yes we do, Paul. If you are saying that producing new music is now an exercise in creativity rather then album sales, then we are entering a new era of artistic sincerity.. Just think of how music and art in general will evolve in the 21st century. They say that art is a reflection of life…if this is true than artists are needed now more than ever to hold up that mirror for those who are refusing to look at themselves.
We are all fortunate to be alive at this moment, the future possibilities for art and human culture is exciting beyond words.
The new age of the independent artist is here…those who cling to the dependencies of the past will not endure.
They will be lost in an obscurity that their revered record deals and management and publicity cannot save them from.
The New Jacobin Club has seen firsthand that fans often DO give hardworking and sincere artists what they deserve, and for this we thank you all.
We will be begin working on our 6th studio album in the coming months, and to say “thank you” for all the support that the band has received since the release of our last album, we will be giving away an autographed 12″ coloured vinyl copy of “Soldiers of the Mark” as well as a signed 20th Anniversary poster.
To be entered to win – just hit the facebook share button below and then leave a quick comment here on the bogsite with your thoughts on the new world of free music and independent artists – do you pay for music? What other independent musical artists you are currently excited about?
Winner will be chosen Sept 8, 2017
RoTT ‘n RoLL