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February 08, 2008

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» Musicians vs Music Biz from HearVox News
In The Observer, Simon Napier-Bell, manager of bands from the Yardbirds to Wham!, details a history of adversarial relationships between musicians and their record labels: The life and crimes of the music biz: Systematic thievery,&... [Read More]

Comments

Fatherflot

Damn, Napier-Bell certainly nails the WFMU ethos:

"Here there were 6,000 radio stations. Four thousand were said to have playlists under Mafia control. To promote my record would require cocaine and sex and suitcases full of cash."

That's how B.J. Snowden achieved Breakout status here, no?

illlich

WOW-- there are some great quote in that article:

"For a while I was producing records with Ray Singer and we went together to see the Roulette label, rumoured to be connected with the Mafia. People told us not to, but what the hell, we wanted all the work we could get and dealing with the Mafia sounded fun."

(HAHAHA working for the Mafia is "FUN"!!)

"Whenever a rock singer experienced success, the ambition lobe in his brain seemed to develop a permanent, painful erection."


"Eventually RCA had more than 100 artists who were not achieving chart success so it had to hire yet another new president especially to fire them all."

"Artists had to pay their own recording costs yet companies ended up owning the records. 'The bank still owns the house after the mortgage is paid,' is how Senator Orrin Hatch described it. Could we imagine film stars having to pay the costs of the movies they starred in and then giving the rights to the company that distributed it?"


"For 50 years the major labels have thought of themselves as guardians of the music industry; in fact they've been its bouncers. Getting into the club used to be highly desirable. Now it doesn't matter any more."


and more. . .

illlich

Years ago i was working at a larger independent record company, in the mail room. Once in a while we got statements from major labels addressed to the recording studio next door, where a band management company also had a base. The statements were mostly just 2 - 3 sheets of paper folded over and stapled and addressed, so obviously once in a while they arrived open. One we saw was for a relatively underground artist who had finally signed with a major, and it was telling-- they were in debt to the label for ridiculous studio fees and promotion fees and other mystery costs. The Albini article is dead-on. They turn the artist into a de-facto indentured servant: turn out a hit or you'll never be free.

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