Do You Hate Signed Bands?
When I tell people what Independent Clauses is about, I, almost without fail, get the asked if I hated signed bands or if I’m a socialist. While the latter is true, it has nothing to do with my work with unsigned bands – and I do not hate signed bands. I am a music lover; I listen to music whenever and where ever I can. This means that I go out and find new bands whenever I can. My work with Independent Clauses is intended to help those great bands that haven’t been discovered yet. It is in no way intended to hurt the good bands that are getting attention. I may be a music snob and I may be offended when “emo” is associated with Fall Out Boy and Panic! At the Disco but I will never say a band is bad simply because they are signed.
The music industry has been getting harder and harder to crack into over the past 10 years. Declining record sales, due mainly to illegal downloading, have caused record labels to cut down on the number of bands they sign and the number of albums released. Those bands that get signed are expected to churn out a top 20 album every two years while touring almost non-stop and releasing a DVD or live album between studio albums. This set-up destroys bands and makes it almost impossible for a band who is able to live up to contractual obligations to produce quality music. Since May 6th, 2003, Fall Out Boy has released three full length albums, one nine track EP and will be releasing a fourth full length in two weeks, meaning in less than four years Fall Out Boy will have released 56 songs on five releases. A band can not be expected to produce quality music at this rate.
While I do not like what a lot of major labels are doing to their bands, I do not hate the existence of record labels. They enable the general populous to hear music that they wouldn’t heard if music was promoted by word of mouth only. Independent Clauses, Lovethatsound and other independent music websites are doing a great job at promoting bands, but the labels are needed so that a kid from Connecticut can hear a band from Kansas without jumping through too many hoops. While I think that a lot of record labels aren’t putting out the highest quality music, they are necessary to the music industry.
Basically, I don’t like record labels but I understand that they are necessary and hope that independent companies will be able to influence record companies in the future. Labels like Common Cloud and Ferret Records are doing the right thing; they help their bands instead of using them like musical cows, milking everything they can out of them until they die. Hopefully Atlantic and Sony Records will take a few notes.