You are the future of the music industry

       It is a tragic but preventable situation. Seeing the Artist and Listener get ripped off while the big companies make off like the organized criminals they are. As it stands major label artists make less than 50 cents of that 18+ dollars you spend supporting them with a CD purchase. At the same time the cost to manufacture that CD is about 50 cents. Where does your hard earned cash go? It goes to limo rides and inflated salaries for CEO’s. It goes to $1000 dollar haircuts for performers whose music cannot stand on its own merit. It funds Demographically targeted promotional campaigns to gain market share and move x number of product. It goes to systematic production of product strategically produced to sound like product that moved x number of units last year. It funds modern payola arrangements as media conglomerates buy up independent radio. It subsidizes an unpleasant horde of promoters, distributors, retailers, manufacturers, and parasitic middle men whose efforts have steadily sterilized music into mediocrity. It gets a lot worse though.

       Unless you are doing some homework your CD purchase may be supporting nuclear waste, promoting malt liquor in the inner city, subsidizing slave labor conditions in the 3rd world, and helping the corporate media consolidate its grip on our access to information. Almost all of the biggest record companies are owned by parent companies with diversified holdings. Such conglomerates often include the arms industry, alcoholic beverages, radio, newspaper and other media outlets. Your dollars are buying quite a bit more than entertainment. The point is not that all major label artists are without merit and independents ones are divine beacons of artistic integrity. The point is that We must collectively make a concerted effort to liberate the Soul of Music from commercial constraint. At a time when capitalism is attempting a hostile takeover of democracy, the voting power of your dollar is more important than ever. Be conscious of what you are voting for. A better world depends on it.

       Why support such a greedy, shallow, bloated, corrupt, inefficient, and dysfunctional industry when you can help create a new one? Start by supporting Independent artists and labels. Go see local music and if you like it, buy a CD. Play it for your friends. Get to know the band and put some fliers in a coffee house for them when they have a show coming up. They will probably thank you with a slot on the guest list. If the band permits, tape a show and put it on the net. Phone in requests to local radio to hear them. Put a link on your web sight. Throw a house party where they can play. Get to know some DJ’s you like and find out what they are listening to. Support independent and internet radio. Become a regional distributor for indie bands and make some extra income doing it. If we really want a vibrant and soulful music industry, it must be supported by all of us who care about music.

       We must take it upon ourselves to unearth the vital artists before the current system extinguishes their creative flame. Far too many of histories most gifted artists have suffocated under the weight of an indifferent and unaware world only to resurface well after their death. Our generation can make a change, but it starts with us. We need to take the time to slow down and appreciate art in general. We need to take advantage of each others unique knowledge. We need to do more listening and less talking. We need to open our hearts to Music created for purposes beyond just fitting the parameters of the lowest common denominator. People in America so often mistake commercial product for actual music. The consequences to our airwaves has been devastating. The independent artist who pushes the creative envelope beyond the marketing formulas is quite literally on their own in such a climate. Many have sacrificed comfy day jobs, health insurance, even housing to bring you their love for music that may well live longer than they do.

       The future of Music needs the hearts and minds of listeners to become actively engaged in the promotion, distribution, creation, and discovery of tomorrow’s music. No longer can we passively expect that others will bring us exactly what we want. We need to find and create it for ourselves. Or as the Godfather of Soul James Brown said, “Get Involved, Get Involved, Get Involved”. The necessity to get involved extends far beyond Music. If we collectively take conscious responsibility for the direction we are headed, a future we can all groove to is possible.

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