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Janis Ian on life in the Music Industry

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Joined: 12 Jul 2002
Posts: 94
Location: France

PostPosted: Tue Oct 29, 2002 3:34 pm    Post subject: Janis Ian on life in the Music Industry Reply with quote

Janis Ian had a Q and A session regarding recording artists and the current business practices of the music industry.

Ian is known for her outspoken views on increasingly streamlined playlists and the economic pressure for major labels to create megastars rather than a diverse musical ecology.

The last remaining big five labels are corporate conglomerates who have to protect shareholder value. Which means that the record industry is a growth industry and one must cut costs while increasing profit. If you offer less choice to a greater number of people, the chance that one of your artists will be chosen increases.

This is your rock and roll menu and there isn't another restaurant in town. Well, there is, and its right next door, and its quite lively, but the patrons shop at Ross and depend on the Internet, word of mouth and live shows to sell their music. We have glamorous awards shows with CELEBRITIES GALORE! We have Rolling Stone to spew whatever crap our publicists put in their unimaginative hands as we all chase after the idea that whatever makes the most money is clearly the more important cultural product.

Because everything really all about money. Everyone and everything can be bought. Fame is for sale to the highest bidder. You buy airtime, you buy magazine stories, you buy billboards. And the people who are spending all that money aren't thinking "cultural relevance" they are thinking, "move product."

Which cheapens the whole process and forces us into deep cynicism about commercial entertainment media. It is vapid and meaningless. "It says nothing to me about my life," to quote The Smiths.

The Big Five labels (like the Big Seven Studios) and RIAA are actively working together to limit your options and subject you to a corporate sponsored mono-culture.

But if you want fame, you have to go mainstream and that route is through the major labels. Ian makes an interesting point when she talks about worldwide fame as a recent phenomenon.

"Artists whose fame went beyond regional were really rare; worldwide fame, even for classical artists, was almost non-existent. Nowadays, with television and magazines making it seem like there are more famous people than not, every artist figures they, too, can get really, really famous."

Read the whole article on Slashdot.org

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