Monday, December 15, 2014

Music - Nothing More Than A Corporate Business Plan

This is the latest from me, Fid
There's a whole bunch more at my website - link below.

It’s 1955, “Talent Scouts” are out looking for talent to sign to their record companies.  They look for talent, appeal, an appealing look.  They hear things, they go to where they know a certain band or artist is, when they locate them, they set up a meeting, if they think the artist or band will be a sellable item, meaning if they think people will like them enough to buy their music, they offer them a recording contract.

Fast forward to 1960 (or thereabout), Elvis and the Beatles are out there doing what they do.  The promotional teams for these artists, as well as a few others, decide to Hollywood these guys up a little – make them out to be actors as well as musical acts.  So, they pay young good looking girls to scream, cry, and act crazy – figuring that the rest of the girls will follow suit.  You see, it’s easy to predict the behavior of teenagers – one of the things they do so well is follow what everybody else is doing – feeling the need to belong to a crowd, to feel accepted, and to not feel like they’re missing something.  The screaming caught on.  Later artists and bands now had choreographers – showing them dance moves, teaching them facial expressions, and what to do with their guitars, or their drum sticks.  Yes, there were a few bands who told these sales types to go screw themselves, but many of them just did what they were told – with the promise that if you do what our knowledgeable team tells you, you’ll be even bigger sensations than you ever dreamed of.  They started to hire “Staff writers” writers who wrote for hire – writing cliché songs, with preconceived “hooks”, they hired studio session players – guys who played what they were told by the studio producers – doing so mostly with no heart or soul, it was “Play the lines”.  Around the late 60s, some of the artists and bands rebelled against this practice – especially the straight out rock and roll bands, as well as most of the folk acts.  The early 70s gave birth to Disco – which should have been aborted, but well, that was the record industry doing their beta test – to see just how gullible the record buying public could be, if they, the record companies – could pump out computer generated crap, dress the bands in polyester and sequins, put ridiculous hairdos on them, and see if it would sell.  Well, it did, beyond anybody’s wildest expectations.  There was still room for the rock bands on the airwaves, but by the early 80s, the corporate machine was seeing what it was capable of – which was putting out mindless, contrived white noise, putting barely dressed pretty girls on the stage to recite the lyrics, dance around provocatively (at least so to the little boys), and voila – another genre was born.  Yes, we could say that there were “sexy” girl singers before that, but it wasn’t till the early 80s when it really took hold.  I don’t know exactly when the whole “Boy Band” thing started, I’m guessing around the same time – early 80s – which was nothing more than more corporate bullshit.  The “Rock” scene was slowly but surely being iced out of their position in music – making way for more pretty young girls who couldn’t carry a tune if you gave them a dump truck, and more Boy Bands that made true music fans sick to their stomach.  This phenomenon carried over into the Country Music scene in the early 80s – with “The Urban Cowboy” movie.  This was the beginning of the destruction of Country Music.  “Pop Country” was taking over the airwaves, leaving room for less and less true country music.  The country artists and bands that had been around for a while – the ones doing true country music – were either being told to go Pop, or were losing their contracts.  I remember at least a few great country artists who started out doing traditional country sounding songs, went Pop, then quickly lost their footing with fans, and subsequently disappeared from sight, never to be heard from again.  By the late 80s, not only was there very little traditional country music still being played (if any at all), the Country Line Dancing craze was in full swing.  These were the leftover disco ducks – who were now middle aged, all of them divorced, hair permed, wearing gold chains and cologne, with their sickening, greasy demeanor even worse than it was when they were in the discos.  These greaseballs would monopolize all the good seating, as well as any female who would walk into the place.  The middle aged womenfolk were by now carrying around an extra fifty to a hundred pounds, guys not looking at ‘em anymore, angry, and demanding.  This horrid line dance crowd would order a bottle of water for a dollar, and wait, do you think that when they finished it, they would pay for another one, NOPE, they would go into the restroom and fill it back up – keep in mind, these were the people monopolizing the place, not to mention, demanding what the bands played.  About this time, though, DJs started to take over in the dance halls.  They would have monster sound systems, and they must’ve taken decades to learn how to press “Start” and “Stop”.  They were also usually the biggest greasebuckets in the place.  By the early 2000s, most of the Country dance halls and bars were gone.  From around 1990 till now, Country music has been contrived, phony, mindless, and performed by pretty faces dressed to the hilt - in country garb, fake southern accents, and ridiculous back stories.  More and more “Awards Shows”, and more and more country specials are all over TV, with the Music Biz bigwigs desperate to push their mindless noise to the youngsters – youngsters who know how to get music for free - which caused the music biz bigwigs to change their format..  From what I’ve observed, the whole music business is now set up pretty much the way television has always been – where the “music” is only the side show that will bring in the listeners to hear all the commercial bullshit in the form of ads.  They sell what’s known in today’s world as “Merch” – CDs, T Shirts, Jackets, cozies, and whatever other souvenir type objects that these gullible teenagers would pay money for.  They have their websites set up to sell, sell, sell, they have separate websites that are also set up to sell, sell, sell, the performers’ clothing, as well as their stage gear – all endorsement outfitted – with the somewhat more subtle, but sole objective of sell, sell, sell.  There is a certain gifted girl singer/songwriter who, right from the start, has been nothing more than one gigantic business plan.  Yes, she has talent, but her career has been carefully planned, paid for, and carried out – which to me, is a shame beyond anything I could have imagined when I was myself a 15 year old, waiting not so patiently for my favorite band’s next single or album to hit the music store – the difference then being that music was music, music was real – at least most of it was – and so were the artists and bands.  This whole corporate sham gets worse by the day, their sales/promotions teams, consisting mostly of trained psychologists and sales gurus, pushing their ever worsening white noise on the unsuspecting teenage customers, having long since squeezed out any real artists or bands, and alienating listeners who would actually pay for music if there was something out there for them to listen to.  I cannot begin to tell you how many 45+ year old people I’ve talked to at my shows, who have told me how sick and goddam tired they are of all this phony music.

Well, I don’t have a business plan, I don’t have the funds to pay my way into opening for major acts, or to invest in some part of the business in order to buy my way into being buddies with one or more of the music biz people.  I play music, I play ten instruments – and yes, I actually play them, as opposed to some I know who make the claim, but do nothing more than B.S. their way through a song or two, having to bury them in the mix so it will be harder to hear how inept they are.  And, don’t get me started on ukuleles and six stringed banjos.

As for me, I don’t know where I go from here.  My enthusiasm for playing music is all but completely gone – not by choice, but by being so damn fed up and disgusted with the corruption – not only in the music business, but in the world.  Short of hacking into all TV channels at the same time and beating everybody over the head with my music, I don’t see me ever getting past the place I’m at – meaning, I’m sure I will never get my shot at national exposure.

If you’re one of the folks who is disgusted by what I’ve talked about here, and you support the unsigned artist, that’s great, I shake your hand, and keep up the good fight.

Here’s my big sales pitch:  You can find me at:

I feel bad even doing that much.

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