I don’t hate Jack Conte.
I hate the people who are forwarding me this blog.
What don’t you get about capitalism? The law of supply and demand?
What I hate about artists is the constant bitching, as if the world owed them a living. I’ll go on record once again that I believe in a social safety net, I believe no one should starve, everybody should have a roof over their head, even health care, but no one is entitled to be a successful artist.
But what the internet has wrought is a bunch of sour grapes from people who think someone stole their opportunity, that if only there’d been no online, they’d have a deep-pocketed label to support them, that they’d be rolling in dough.
Let’s start with the audience. Who don’t want to come to your show.
That’s right. The way artist development used to work was there was a series of clubs across the country, which the labels supported. The companies bought drinks and tickets and the venues could survive. But what killed these venues is not the internet so much as people’s lack of desire to attend. They’d rather go hear a deejay. Or go to a sports bar. Going out to hear live music in a club just doesn’t have the pull it once did. Which may flummox those of you on the music treadmill, but get your head out of your rear and look around, most people just don’t care that much about live club music anymore. And don’t blame it on the internet, you can’t steal a show. Then again, the internet is more interesting than most music you make.
But you decide to hit the boards anyway. You record your music, bitching all the while that no one else is paying for it. Wait, let’s stop right here. Now we’ve got crowdfunding sites, so you can raise the money to record. But not a single act has ever broken out of Kickstarter. What I mean is crowdfunding is an echo chamber. You reach your fans, but you reach no more. Probably because most people just aren’t interested. Sorry.
And then you can’t get an agent and no venue wants to book you, and you don’t realize that they too want to get paid, that they too are in business.
But let’s say you get shows via an agent. You want to do it your way, with production and support. I’d like to drive an i8, but I can’t afford one. Furthermore, I’m not presently on a path to afford one. That’s my choice. But I don’t go around bitching the system’s stacked against me, that BMW won’t give me a break, that the world isn’t raining coin into my bank account.
Music is a business. And if you’re not getting rich, give up or change.
So Pomplamoose goes on the road and loses money. Why’d they go on the road to begin with? It says right in the article it’s an investment in their career. Good for them. But to believe labels supported everybody in this way in the past is fallacious. Labels signed very few. And they didn’t support those whose careers weren’t happening. Want to experience bitter? Talk to a baby boomer who was signed to the label. If the label didn’t work it you were dead in the water, there was no YouTube, no social media, no way to cheaply reach your audience. Labels pulled tour support just after rehearsals. You were beholden to the man. You’re yearning for those days?
And Pomplamoose is bitching that they didn’t make any money even though they sold 1129 tickets at the Fillmore in San Francisco.
Please put that in perspective. San Francisco is the 14th most populous city in America, hell, it’s the center of a metropolis with many more people, San Jose is close and even bigger than San Fran, but they could only do one show there?
And then there’s all this claptrap about the million view YouTube clips. They’re novelties! Sing one Pomplamoose song, I dare you! Pomplamoose is Jenna Marbles once removed. Do you hear YouTube queen Ms. Marbles bitching that she can’t make it on the road?
OF COURSE NOT!
Jenna is leveraging what she’s got. And she’s not complaining. Which is pretty good, because her talent is limited.
I’d say the same thing about Pomplamoose. It is the MUSIC business after all. Where’s the music? So Nataly is cute and the videos contagious. OK Go can say the same thing, but I don’t see Damian Kulash bitching. And I hope Damian knows he’s the leader of a cult band, because that’s what OK Go is, and they were once on Capitol!
But Jack goes on how bleak it is for middle class artists.
And he’s right, the middle is getting squeezed. Because everybody has access to the best all the time. Want to bring back the middle? Stop shopping at Amazon, stop going to Wal-Mart. Pay a grand for a flat screen. Drive miles for your music.
I’m not saying times are not challenging. But I am saying let’s look at reality.
With the entire history of recorded music online, you’ve got to be as good as the Beatles and Led Zeppelin or else…most people are not interested. Believe me, if Led Zeppelin reunited they wouldn’t be bitching about money.
And neither does Katy Perry.
And you may say she sucks, but her producer/writer Max Martin does not. He knows how to create a hit. Which you don’t. Sorry.
That’s what I hate about the modern era. The cabal of cretins lamenting the system is stacked against them. It’s an echo chamber of delusion. The same way they used to say the major label was holding them back. It’s fifteen years after Napster. Show me all the great bands who were being held back by the man, they don’t exist. It’s all sour grapes.
But you forward articles about Spotify screwing you.
Everybody’s against you.
You’re a student of the game. You believe since you’re passionate, you deserve not only a chance, but success.
But the truth is everybody wants to play. And the sieve to success is extremely narrow. Because people don’t have time for mediocre, they don’t even have time for good! That’s right, Windows Phone can’t compete with Apple and Android and it’s a very good product, but not good enough!
But you think you are. Since you went to Guitar Center and bought an axe. Because you practiced in your bedroom and spammed everybody on social media.
I’m gonna tell you how it works. And it’s very simple.
It’s all about numbers. You’re either growing or you’re not. Either more people are consuming your art or they’re not. If you’re on the growth curve, you have the option of continuing, of even starving in the pursuit of your dream. But most people are not growing, they’re only bitching.
Evolve or die.
Ever think you weren’t destined to be a musician? That you’d be better off at the tech company? That if you hate your service job you’ve got to educate yourself and do something different?
Why does everybody believe they’re entitled to do everything?
Why does everybody have a chip on their shoulder?
Why is it that anybody who breaks through is the enemy, helped by the unseen machine?
Instead of tearing everybody else down, crying alone in your beer, why don’t you build yourself up.
That’s right, no one’s holding you back but yourself.
If you’re as great as you think you are, you’ll succeed. On what level? Who knows!
Maybe this is as big as Pomplamoose gets. Maybe the act has already peaked. Like PSY but on a smaller level. Maybe this tour document isn’t an explanation of middle class musicianship but the dying throes of someone who eluded the mainstream.
If you’re not a successful artist it’s your fault.
Over and out.