You make a good point, but here’s the thing. I don’t feel bad about stealing music on the internet. No amount of tsking at me is going to make me change my ways. I may be an exception but there ya go.
The one problem I have with this very good and thoughtful article and possibly your comment is that it seems to assume some golden age when artists made secure livings from royalties on records sales. Other than a very small elite of artists, most musicians mostly got screwed by their labels and never saw a dime in royalties because they could not cover the recording costs run up on advances.
I feel like lately things are a bit tougher to find for free. I’ll pay if I have to but I don’t really feel altruistic giving Amazon $8-$9 knowing the band may get a penny. That’s not much different than buying a CD or LP, just a bit cheaper.
Until there is a way for me to give way to give my money directly to the band (some have made this easy and I applaud it) I’m just going to look for the cheapest alternative.
I think this is similar to the sentiment some express that they’ll buy a t-shirt at the show. I don’t think they deserve to be shunned or persecuted. The idea is that we like to support bands we like but most of the time our money never gets to them. Show me a way I can guarantee my money ends up in the artist’s pocket and I’ll pony up.
I don’t doubt that Stickles supported Occupy. However, the freedom and responsibility that he praises are very much the same things I believe are embodied in the Constitution.
Your point is well taken about the libertarian views espoused. But when you say you think I find different things in the Constitution beautiful than he does I think you are wrong. The lyrics quoted in this article speak of self reliance and responsibility for one’s own actions. Those are conservative principles whether Stickles also believes Occupy espouses them or not. The upshot is that I think there are things conservatives and leftists can agree on. If there was just some way to get people to listen to each other. I fully concede that rightists don’t always listen well either.
Occupy may believe the nebulous 1% should be held responsible but they do not seem to hold themselves to that standard. I also feel like it’s a lot of low risk posturing. Dissenters in America don’t disappear or go to jail like punks in Russia or in Soviet era Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary.
rskva, I see that your comments here and above are well thought out. I take you at your word on contact with right leaning thinkers but I’ve lived in those liberal bubbles, still do if to a lesser degree (Athens, GA). I see that bubble mentality amongst leftists every day. Ironically, the only other bubble I experienced like that is Churchgoers. Most of us conservatives are well aware of opposing views. Not because we are so enlightened necessarily, but because we don’t have a choice.
Again, I don’t mean to be disrespectful, I really do appreciate that you made substantive remarks.
and btw- I think Titus Andronicus are a great American rock band regardless of their politics.
I didn’t say all of them.
I’m really glad this article went up here. Pelly is very thoughtful and I think she gets a lot of things right. Ironically, (and I don’t fault her for this) some of those things pointed out as somehow anti-conservative are very much conservative values. For example:
“BECAUSE in the America we were promised, there is no limit to how high you can rise with hard work, discipline, and ingenuity”
This could be from the GOP platform. What the Occupy Movement seemed to be promoting was not this value but envy and urge to punish people for being successful. Just because some other guy is rich doesn’t mean he took money from you.
Also, in this quote:
“Something about the Local Business concept of promoting “Main Street” seems idealistically American as well, right down to the red-white-and-blue scheme of the website the band has set up for fans to share info on local businesses to support in their town.”
I think Pelly makes a really good point here. This is very much an American ideal, even patriotic. It is also very much a part of conservative values.
Judging by the comments most Stereogum readers and writers live in a leftist bubble, rarely if ever coming into contact with living breathing conservatives. The caricature of corporate fatcats in bed with “conservative” politicians is not entirely accurate. These days the Dems are just as guilty of crony capitalism and right leaning pols that indulge it (I’m looking at you Bush years Congress) are betraying conservative principles. Mainstreet capitalism of small and local businesses are the core of America’s greatness. I think Pelly and Titus realize that. The the thing that conservatism is trying to conserve are those classical LIBERAL ideals espoused by the Founding Fathers and embodied in our Constitution and Declaration. Stickles is spot on in pointing out the inspiring beauty in those documents. I just think much of what passes for leftist thought is all about the freedom part, but not so much on the self reliance and responsibility part that is necessary to make it work.
It’s certainly true that the work market for young, entry level people is pretty shit. But Toth seems to think that anyone, himself especially, that really wants to make a living playing music deserves to be independently supported by only playing music. This has never been the case in music, even back in the bad old days of the big labels. I played in a great band in early 90s Athens, GA but guess what? LIfe happened and we all moved on. I went off and played in other bands in DC and NYC but got nowhere but nobody owes me anything just because I was willing to forgo “real” jobs while pursuing it.
Toth’s examples are interesting as well. Southern Lord especially illustrates what I think is the key. They started their own label to put out their own music and that of bands they really dig. I wonder, Mac McGaughan from Superchunk is probably doing fine but not “anti-gravity room” rich. He started a label. Fugazi, started a label. Thievery Corp. started their own label. Many or even most of the other bands on those labels probably didn’t make money for the label but the bigger bands act as tent-poles to keep smaller acts on the road. There’s not tons o’ money from ridiculous marketing budgets in big corporate labels anymore.That’s a good thing. Fuck the big labels. There are more quality bands out there today, I’d be willing to wager, than there were back in the day. Hell, we’re in a veritable golden age of metal right now!
My point is, you gotta hustle if you want to play music for a living. That has always been the case. For 1 in maybe 10,000 bands back in the day the dream of mega money happened. Most bands that got a deal at all got an advance that made them feel rich, not realizing the label would never pay them until the “album” sold enough to recoup the cost. Likely as not, the album never came out and the band gets dropped. Now they’ve got no deal, maybe no band, and they’ve squandered a year they could have been building their own path.
Those days are gone. There are plenty of jobs that aren’t soul killing (even, and especially in restaurants) that musicians work in all the time. I get the impression that any job that isn’t writing, recording and playing music qualifies as soul-killing for Toth. I feel for him but we have to do what we gotta do. I’m in grad school now to be a teacher. The big cop out. At the same time I will have a chance to play and record with my old bandmates without the pressure of trying to make money at it. Plus I’ll get to be a teacher.
In the full article Albini backs up his assertions. And I must say he’s totally right.
Palmer pulled in 1.2 Million Dollars from her kickstarter. Albini points out that he usually records albums (not just for himself, but this is his actual job to record big time albums for people remember) for about $10K or less. Not only did she make a ton o’ money from fan donations, she just kept a couple $100K (according to Albini) off the top of that. So she could have easily made an expensive album (let’s say $50K to be generous) and still have almost ONE MILLION DOLLARS which to go on the road. Also, take into account that she MAKES money on the shows so how can she not afford to pay musicians out of what she makes then?
The thing that’s gross is that she’s asking her fans to pay for everything up front so that she has no risk, but then begs for free labor after she’s got your money. I’d bet a lot of money many of the fans that would like to play have actually contributed to that $1.2Million so they’ll be paying her for the privilege of getting up on stage while she makes more money.
Stuart Copeland hilariously hates the shit out of Sting. Apparently by the end he would set up his drum kit so the kick drum faced Sting so he could see where SC taped “Fuck You” onto it.
Basically Sting is a super douche. Put down the lute asshole!
A few things struck me here.
First, how can someone have a beef with Wiig? I don’t always find her funny on SNL (Gilly makes no sense to me at all) but she’s never Jim Carrey level of muggin.
It’s kinda funny for the author to (correctly in my mind) point out how people making Bridesmaids out to be some kind of feminist triumph being weird. I thought it was funny regardless of “Oh isnt’ it great to see womyn being funny!” stuff. But I am a guy so mayby I relate differently to it. But then she gets into Pasternoster as some kind of feminist hero. Both premises seem to shoehorn a socio-political point where there doesn’t really need to be one.
It seems to me the goal should be that female (and male) artists are judged on the quality of their work regardless of gender role politics. Again, maybe as a guy it’s easy for me to say. But it always seems to be female/feminist writers that are pushing the gender role arguments. I can confidently say that guys just don’t think about that stuff (blanket generalization) that much.
As to Pasternoster I can’t really say anything, I’ve never listened to her band. But I loved Helium back in the day and thoroughly enjoy Sleater-Kinney just ’cause they rock, end of. Also, I’d like to point out PJ Harvey especially for showing a female artists can just do her thing and be well respected for it. I can’t think of anything she’s put out that was bad. Bjork comes to mind as well. Do they say something about feminism/gender politics I’m missing? Honest question maybe I’ve got dude blinders on.
I’ll admit to being someone down on the idea of girls being badasses instrument-wise in the past. I got turned around on that when a band I was in found a girl to play drums. She could put us dudes to shame and hold her own as the only girl in the band. But she did like to play in other bands with all girls as well. Understandable I suppose.
I feel your pain. When I lived in Korea all my American friends loved the KPop and it IS pretty inescapable. I sort of made peace with Miss A and a few. However, I saw a great Korean band in Busan that played basically Irish inflected punk music. There were some western expat bands there too. I can’t remember the name of the club, in was in the Gwan go li beach area but they have live bands all the time. The only landmark I can give you is that it is close to where the Turkish kabab truck sets up. A friend that’s been in Korea for 4 years or so told me there’s a pretty thriving scene there in Busan and in Seoul too if you know where to look.
I find it shocking that nobody has mentioned Zach Condon, I mean, DUH!!!! Maybe I just missed it.
It could cut either way actually. He may be too high minded to stoop to the level. But he might just be goofy enough. Teeny boppers would love him and he can sing. Plus he’s talking about how great it is that Singing! is being appreciated by indie-types these days (re: Dirty Projectors, TuNeYaRdS or however that’s done).