Published on September 28th, 2014 | by Dylan Lott0
Maybe We’re Letting Bands Off The Hook Too Easy
Full Disclaimer: I started writing this piece last week, but I felt recent events warranted posting this a little bit sooner than I meant to. Anyway, back to business.
Bands aren’t these perfect little angels.
You know what really grinds my fucking gears? Good thing you’re reading my blog post, cause I’m about to tell you.
I see it all the time, and I know you do, too: Bands putting a label on blast, fans calling a label greedy, a record label owner getting called out, a booking agent being called a scam artist, a manager being accused of stealing money.
It’s an everyday type of thing in the music industry. And it’s bullshit. These bands are always held up on some sort of pedestal; They’re above reproach to an insane degree.
They can do no wrong! They’re always these perfect little angels, who are just out there giving it their all, creating art that will move the millions one day, and they’re JUST SO PURE OF HEART. Every time you hear about them, a montage plays somewhere of them training their guitar flips and their stick tricks, and they spend 18 hours a day laboring away and practicing their musical craft, and then the other 6 hours a day they spend doing humanitarian work and praying, because they’re perfect souls, that band! They can’t do any wrong ever!
Are you with me? Okay, good, glad we drove that point home. The problem with this whole image is that it’s not in any way true. Bands are made up of people. Labels are made up of people. And what are people?
People are shitty. They’re really fucking shitty.
Somewhere along the line, people seem to forget that bands are still people.
Bands, at the end of the day, are just groups of people making music or noise or art or whatever they wanna call it. And that fucking rules, we’re all about that!
What gives me this really bad taste in my mouth is when bands overstep their boundaries, are generally thankless bastards, and completely fuck people over who were working with them, and don’t get so much as a single sideways glance from anyone.
Now, I want to be perfectly clear about this next part: Labels, managers, and agents are people, too. They can be shitty, we’re not exempting them from that. I’m not saying they don’t do anything bad or that they’re the good guys in this industry. I’m saying that maybe, just maybe, they don’t get the same chance to tell their side of the story when issues arise, and that maybe, just fucking maybe, fans absolutely don’t care about what the facts are, the band is right.
How many times have we seen a label ripped apart on social media? How many times have you seen a member of a band absolutely lay into an agent about a deal that went sour, and they get their name dragged through the mud on a fairly small deal that went bad?
And how many times did the label or agent or manager get a fair chance to state their side of the story? How many times did you even hear the label’s or agent’s story?
Probably next to never. They never get the chance to tell their side, and even when they do release a public statement and try to remain transparent about the situation, they get torn to bits.
I’ve seen death threats, racial slurs, sexual harassment, threats of violence, etc… All over a situation where it’s someone’s word against another’s. The music industry wants to think it’s this progressive place that’s embracing change and equality, but it still calls people “faggots” and suggests certain people should “hang themselves” when things like this arise.
How professional is that?
I’ll give you a hint: It’s not.
When bands can get away with straight-up slander and libel, but labels can’t even defend themselves in a calm manner (and when their statements aren’t even taken into consideration in the slightest), we all need to take a step back and think that maybe there’s some overall bias going on that we’re not being honest with ourselves about.