Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Infections, or how I now hate the music industry too

I unfortunately had the chance to but heads with the ugly world of the music industry today, and let me tell you, it hurts much more than I thought it will.

It all started last Friday when I had the misfortune to meet the boys from Infected Mushroom for an interview. I didn’t want to ask any questions because I had no inspiration whatsoever. There was someone else there with me, doing all the real work. Except that it all hit me as the thing went along, and I did ask a few questions, some interesting others not. I also got answers, obviously, but to my great dissatisfaction they were either ridiculously cliché or boring or when they were good, it was the exact same answers that I would have given. Really, I was bored by the interview process and mostly interested in the role that the boys were playing at moments, that of musicians that have to answer, a situation that probably somewhat helps them convinces themselves the importance and the value of their art. Interviews for the sake of being asked questions, feeling like someone cares about you and not really interview for the sake of reaching your fans.

Sill, the experience was pleasant. I was actually happy to see that they were regular human beings and not some outer-space arsti-intellectual junkies. But there isn’t much to say about regular people. Wait, I am wrong here, there is tons to say about regular people, but in the eyes of the world Infected Mushrooms aren’t regular people, and so they are to be treated differently; for example they deserve an interview on my site. Your plain wrong here, buddy. They deserve only what I feel like writing. It’s my site, it’s my ideas, it’s my work. I do whatever I want with them. When I have no inspiration for an interview I won’t write one. Maybe one day I’ll post the original article here, when this whole things dies out, so you see what the fuss was all about.

So, here I am, all innocent, believing in the sincerity of the band, the coolness of their manager (hell, they chose him after all, and he travels with them, they MUST get along, he MUST be a nice guy, cause they are nice guys, no???) and in the all-powerfulness of my independent journalistic integrity. I publish my piece at around noon, only to get the weird phone call, less than four hours after the article is up (someone has no life, to check my site so often). It’s some women, with an annoying British accent, calling me from the PR company in New York, the one that organized the interview, and asking me to remove my article, on the grounds that it didn’t look professional and wasn’t an interview. I simply flipped out. At first I was nice and tried to explain that the article did no harm to the band’s image (which was true) and that the writer had thought that an interview was a poor subject to have the piece on (which was again true). She still insisted, and I started loosing it. I was raising my voice, and openly expressing my utter disappointment at the fact that a PR company was trying to pressure me to change MY own content. Apparently, the band’s manager had called the PR company in New York to complain about the article, and now they were shitting in their pants. We were both yelling at the end, I was red and fuming, until she hung up on exactly 3 milliseconds before I was about to do it.

The rest of the story is long, but let’s just say that the pathetic situation in which one of the employees of the PR company was put in because of my text, and because I had directly involved other people around me into this pig fight, I backed down and removed the text entirely.

Now, after all of this, I have come to realize the nastiness of this industry. It’s fake, it’s rotten, it’s pretend to be artsi but actually corporate whore till the bitter end. Techno music, which has the concept of free and open built into it, is no exception. I shouldn’t talk about the music, it’s the people that do it that are corrupted, or at least the people that manage them, and you know why, cause they manage, that’s their job, make money, more and more and more money, on the backs of the artists (who should open their eyes and either acknowledge this or change the people that surround them). And it’s also the fault of the whole apparatus that artists believe they need, or maybe that managers impose, like PR firms, disguised advertisement firms parasite-ing people that really create content for the sake of entertaining. I rather deal with an advertising agency, at least they admit they do it for and about the money, they give you some of that money too, and they even do some (and often, a lot) of creation, real artistic expression (true, used for an un-noble goal, but artistic nonetheless). What do PR companies create? Nothing… press-releases; a six year old can do that painstakingly useless and boring job.

Don’t take me for a fool. I knew the music industry was foul; I knew it was exactly that, simply put, a real industry. But I never expected bands like Infected Mushroom, that are in my eyes a small band (and thus couldn’t have been corrupted so much), bands that do techno (and thus should think differently than the mainstream, cause they aren’t mainstream) would still be caught in this trap.

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