Monday, July 4, 2011

The unfortunate side of Capitalism and the Arts (part 1)

I remember when I was a kid, and everyone I knew thought that being signed to a label was the best thing that could ever happen to a musician. The idea of American Idol was a dream come true to so many. My mom and sisters always said that I had a great singing voice and were waiting for the day that I would be “discovered”.

Back in those days I was hopefully waiting for the same thing. The idea of being what Miley Cyrus, or Justing Bieber are today was the big break I was looking for. I remember wandering around grocery stores, and shopping malls singing loud, so that someone would hear my voice and make me famous. When I was in eighth grade my voice began to change and I was terrified that my good singing voice went away mostly because of this moment from the Simpsons

The next time I was interested in music was when I was 17, I began to play guitar (that is a different story). When I picked it up again my sisters and mom were ready for me to jump into the American Idol scene, and even worse the Christian version of it... By then I knew that I didn’t want that for myself, I wasn’t sure why, but I knew then that my idols, Billy Corgen, and Jeremy Enigk wouldn’t be caught dead on those shows... So I resolved myself to get good at guitar, and based on talent alone I would get “discovered.”

My freshman year in college I was reading through lyrics from either Kid A, or OK Computer, and I read something that said “lyrics reprinted with kind permission from our label.” Being a mediocre guitarist, a less than inspired song-writer, and just plain bad lyricist, I was outraged (seriously my lyrics were bad). The idea that a label had to give me permission to print lyrics on the jacket of my CD was blasphemous ( I didn’t know they were bad).

By the end of my freshman year I had written and recorded my first song,

and I realized that labels didn’t only own your lyrics, they owned the recording, and the entire musical idea. I did this entire song by myself, and the idea of some unknown machine taking it from me made me weep (literally, I was a pothead back then and would cry a lot).

I was still convinced that I needed a label to discover me, but since my song was so good (I thought) they would just have to sign me and give me all the rights to my music (HA)!

I will have to continue this on Wednesday.... Happy Fourth n such.

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