The Problems with Music
My friend Todd K has this great way of explaining The Carter Administration‘s philosophy: “We listened to Steve Albini and we believed him.” The music business is an awful place and if we were just discovering this, it would be one thing, but Albini’s been telling it like it is for 20-odd years.
Here’s Steve Albini in GQ. Read the whole thing but here are some great statements:
His measured, thoughtful reply to a question about Sonic Youth’s major label deal:
I don’t know the exact circumstances of Sonic Youth’s decision, so I’m not comfortable saying they did it wrong. But a lot of the things they were involved with as part of the mainstream were distasteful to me.
And what Sonic Youth did when they brought other bands to the mainstream:
They validated the fleeting notions that these kids had that they might one day be rock stars.
And this amazing, hopeful statement:
This is a terrific time to be in a band. Every band has access to the entire world by default.
He’s totally right:
People put stuff on YouTube or torrent clients or whatever, not because they’re going to make money off of it, which is the only reason the mainstream industry would do something, but because they think it’s good. It’s a like a worldwide mix tape.
His awesome assessment of a young band he recorded:
Because they didn’t have a record label or any promotion schedule to adhere to, they were able to get their record manufactured and distributed within a couple of months. That’s the kind of nimble, efficient behavior that was previously impossible when there was a corporate structure involved.