Being On A Major Label

Newsgroups: uk.music.alternative Date: Sat, 23 Dec 2000 12:00:38 +0000 Organization: Bzangy Groink

“Rod Penguin” redddpenguin@hotmail.com wrote:

“How would you feel if EMI came along and threw hundreds of thousands of pounds at a no-sale artist that you like?”

Ey up, this sounds vaguely familiar to me…

Hmmm… Being on a major label…

In my bizarre experience, you can’t be on a major label and make artistically uncompromised music. Even if you’re dead famous (which I wasn’t), there’s always some cloth-eared A&R telling you the kick drum sound needs more oomph. They don’t really think this of course, but how else can they justify being employed without sticking their oar in?

So you end up with art made by committee. Not intrinsically a bad thing since this is what democratic-type bands do anyway. But at least they’re all musicians.

Personally, I don’t see why non-musicians should tell musicians how to make music. Maybe I’m being prejudiced but if they’re that fucking clued-in, why don’t they sign themselves and have a string of no. 1s?

It’s not even the old joke about buying a dog and then barking yourself. Major labels buy dogs and then are surprised and annoyed when they don’t miaow.

But major label money is *very* nice. You can sign off, or quit Uni or finally tell your boss to fuck off. You can buy recording gear that’s actually new. Treat your mates to trips or presents they could never afford themselves. Maybe have a studio that’s bigger than a boxroom. Create music with a wider set of resources than you ever had before. Which doesn’t automatically mean it’s better, just that you’ve got more choices in its creation.

So you have two choices. The first is to shut up and take the money and be resigned to fighting your label over every tiny fucking detail. You might still make great music (despite the label interference) that millions of people get the chance to love and hear. But every time you see *that* cover or hear *that* mix that you hated but the label pushed through, you wince and die a little inside. But hey, the fans really love it and don’t know how great it could have been… If only…

The second choice is to take the money, get dropped and then become a one-hit wonder. Then carry on making music you totally love which will probably never trouble the charts or radio again. You’re insanely proud of every release but every Christmas your Dad looks at you sadly and asks you when you’re going to have another number one.

Hmmm… mince pie, anyone?
love and kisses,
Jyoti