Friday, December 12, 2014

Sell, Sell, Sell, No Matter How Bad The Product

A friend of mine and I were discussing the horribly corrupt music business earlier, and among other things, including me thinking seriously about getting the hell out of this disgusting music business, he mentioned “Dumbing Down”.  "Dumbing down" is exactly right - people are being programmed, brainwashed, even bullied into listening to crap - mindless, talentless crap.  The songs wander mindlessly, there is no structure, no good melody, and mostly sung by pretty faces who wouldn't know an A from an F.  And yes, the music biz is so highly organized now - they have "staff writers" who mostly do "Work for hire", meaning that they get a flat fee for each song, while the record company gets all the royalties and other fees that should go to the artists and writers.  And yes again, it's quantity over quality - to the point of poisoning the product on purpose - for reasons of control, power, and of course, money.  It's very easy to attract listeners when they have psychologists on their sales teams who know exactly what to do and say in order to hook the youngsters - no matter how bad the product - present it to them in such a way, and they'll buy it.  It works much the same as cigarettes - hook 'em when they're young - tell 'em how cool it is to smoke - show celebrities doing it, show derelicts doing it, tell 'em that if they're not doing it, then something is wrong with them - that they are missing out on something wonderful and cool and hip - that they won't be part of the crowd if they don't buy their stupid product - and they'll fall for it, hook, line, sinker, rod, reel, and right arm.  There are also other ways that these horribly corrupt mega corporations make money - "Merch" being a big one - concert tickets being another.  Only a handful of major "Artists" and bands are doing the 10,000+ seater rooms, but with the tickets costing at the very least, $75, and up into the hundreds - they make a killing - not to mention the 500 seater circuit - where most of the other "Artists" and bands play.  There's online sales for this "Merch", and advertising similar to TV on sites such as Pandora and Spotify - with new ones popping up every day.  There are tons of new magazines - both paper and online versions - of music related crap - guitar magazines, ukulele magazines, bass magazines, drum magazines, celebrity magazines, "Secrets to Success" magazines, gossip magazines, and, endorsements - which brings billions in profits.  All these "Artists" and band members - everything they say is geared towards sales - all this scripted crap that comes out of their mouths is sell, sell, sell.  If you look at their Facebook and Twitter pages, it's "I'm SOOOO excited... please buy my CD, my touring jackets, my books, my concert tickets, my whatever else, and visit my website (where they have unlimited crap for sale)".

I got out of the business twice - both times in the 90s - once for six months, once for a year.  I got back in because people would say, "Just do the one night a week", or "Just do this one event", then it was right back in.  Those times it was conscious decisions to get out, but this time it's not that I'm deciding to to anything, it's that I can't bring myself (at least not at the moment) to play an instrument, to learn the songs that I just recorded, to sing, or to do anything relating to music.  As I said, it was drudgery to finish recording (in fact, I still have at least one more fiddle part to do, and I'm not sure I can even bring myself to do it), and the same to go out and do the video the other day.  (Blake Shelton is on Letterman right now in the other room and I have this urge to throw a 90mph fastball through the TV screen - can't stomach his fake southern accent, his ridiculous music, and all the phony bullshit that comes out of his mouth).

In the back of my mind, I have the thought that says I can't have come all this way - learning how to play all those instruments, learning how to sing; and how to be in front of an audience, how to connect with them, and whatever else - for nothing.  Then I see the reality that has been in front of me for no less than five years, and I have the mind to run for the hills.  Maybe this horrid feeling will pass, and I'll feel like playing again, but for now, the last thing I want to do is look at a guitar, or any other instrument for that matter.  As for encouragement, I've always been the one to give that to myself - it has always been the case where most people have done whatever possible to discourage me, take me down, stifle me, destroy my life, and then some - and as time goes on, it gets worse, not better.  It's never me that I doubt, but I do get damn tired of some of the vicious, despicable, and cowardly things that so many have blasted me with - always sneaking up on me from behind the bushes - and always with everything working in their favor.  It's much worse than the devil - these are live people who would stop at nothing to take me down, and if you think that doesn't get tiring after 35 years, think again.

Keep in mind, I wasn't born with this disgust - this is a result of decades of B.S., of being lied to, stolen from (tens of thousands of dollars worth - if not more), exploited, attacked from behind, and otherwise beat over the head with every brand of cowardly B.S. you can imagine - and a bunch that you couldn't imagine in your wildest dreams.

So, that's where I am as of now.  I take one day at a time, seeing how I feel when I drudgingly get out of bed in the morning.

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