An Honest Question


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Ramco
12-31-2007, 12:35 PM
Let's say your band receives a call from an A&R rep from a label, telling you they saw your band at your last show and he wants to meet with you. The dashing young A&R rep along with an attractive girl who you later find out is part of the label's promotional department take you and your bandmates out to lunch at somewhere nice but casual downtown, talk about music and how much they liked your band. During the meeting they hand everyone in the band a piece of paper - the oft-coveted label contract - and encourage you to read it over, think about it and call them back in a week.

You read the contract and it seems like a good deal; not a huge advance, but a great royalty rate and you get to keep ownership of your songs, and the label will take care of manufacturing and distributing copies of your latest CD. They will get you into the studio right away to record a new album, and the contract specifies that they will pay for two albums after that. You're still playing it smart, though, and you take it to a lawyer who mainly handles music contracts. He says it's a really good contract, and even if the label can find a loophole you have the ability to walk away at any time.

You get your band together to talk about it, and everybody says it sounds like a good idea - nay, a great idea - and you call your friendly neighborhood A&R rep as promised, putting him on speakerphone so your entire band can talk to him. He's jovial as usual, asking how everyone has been since lunch a week ago, and asks you what your decision was. You tell him that your band has decided to sign the contract, and he says that he'll fly in tomorrow, treat you all to dinner, and he'll collect your signed contracts. He says that the pretty promotions girl will be finding some new promotional opportunities for you, including possibly getting you on Fuse and hooking up an interview with Spin. He also mentions something else - she wants to get you to dress a bit more like other current musicians, namely with eyeliner, jet black hair and other "emo cliches". You won't need to change your music at all, but this will undoubtedly bring criticism towards you, especially when one of your news stories breaks on Ultimate Guitar. You will be called a sellout, and you will be lumped in with whatever other "poppy" rock is on the market right now. Your band will be called emo by the musically uneducated (read: nearly everyone), despite the fact that you sound nothing like emo. Also, if you do play punk, or metal, or whatever style you play, you'll be accused of killing the genre, just because of your image and your fans.

This is honestly how music works. Would you change your image into one that will bring you ridicule by some to be loved by many? Would you secure your financial future doing something you love in return for being branded a sellout? Is it really selling out if you're playing the exact same music, only with a more "popular" image? I really want to know what everyone thinks about this, if they'd go along with it, and what kind of situation they're in now, both musically and financially.

brooklynsoulja1
12-31-2007, 12:49 PM
if i were in that position i wud definatly go for it
one i dont see anyting wrong with dressing that way n two why wudnt i want to become famous?if im geting money im doin it cuz trust me i dont live very rich-like and id do it to support me and my family
who cares about the haters that call u a sellout uhhh are they getting payed liek you r
r they getting publicity?no so they have reasons to be jealous.

Zakkmann
12-31-2007, 12:52 PM
tell them that your image is not their problem, and seeing as how your face is still attached to your head and shoulders they can't effectively influence you into changing it.

say that, but use your own words because i copyrighted it. well not really, use those words! see you on the cover of Kerrang! soon. i dont buy that magazine but i walk past it at the cd store from time to time and scowl, i admit, i scowl. but if you're face is on there its all good.

of you could do the really punk thing and at the end of dinner (after he's payed) rip up the contract in front of them and yell at him that you'll never sell out and how you're soul is way to important to be bound in pen and paper! well that might be mean, go with the first one

dilbert_5150
12-31-2007, 12:52 PM
Fuc* that, I would take the eyeliner :D

Why? Because life is too short. It's better to regret you did something, than thinking for the rest of your life like: "Maybe I should go with that/Maybe I should did that?"

cheers

Zakkmann
12-31-2007, 12:59 PM
Fuc* that, I would take the eyeliner :D

Why? Because life is too short. It's better to regret you did something, than thinking for the rest of your life like: "Maybe I should go with that/Maybe I should did that?"

cheers

ah but he's got his soul too look after =/ to be honest he shouldn't have to sacrifice any of him for this, music is his and his bands expression, NOT the record company. and if they screw you up cause you dont want to wear eyeliner you can record a cd yourself and i'll help you distribute it. i'll buy a mule and a big backpack and travel cross country selling cd's for your band!

Ramco
12-31-2007, 01:03 PM
tell them that your image is not their problem, and seeing as how your face is still attached to your head and shoulders they can't effectively influence you into changing it.
Because of this they deem you difficult and unmarketable, and will terminate the contract before even processing it.

ah but he's got his soul too look after =/ to be honest he shouldn't have to sacrifice any of him for this, music is his and his bands expression, NOT the record company. and if they screw you up cause you dont want to wear eyeliner you can record a cd yourself and i'll help you distribute it. i'll buy a mule and a big backpack and travel cross country selling cd's for your band!
This is not me we're talking about, but you. This is a "what if" situation; I'm not asking for advice. I want to know how your average musician feels about this.

axemanchris
12-31-2007, 01:04 PM
Aside from some of the extraordinarily unlikely details you proposed in the contract:
-no multi-album deals these days. One at a time, baby, cause if you don't sell, they don't want to be tied down to you or have to buy out your contract, or let you record albums that don't get released because some suit decided it would be more economically prudent to bury it than to invest further money in it by promoting/marketing it.
-ownership of your songs is invariably split 50/50 between you and the label. That's part of your cost of doing business.

But the point of your question is valid nonetheless.

Telling the label you're NOT going to present their image will basically be suicidal. They'll thank you for coming out and will quickly move on to one of the thousands of other bands that will. If they can't sell you, they won't invest in you. Simple economics.

So.... what are your options?
1. Do you have another job to fall back on - long term or short term?
2. Will being a pop star (or an almost made it) fit in with your long/short term goals, and will it be something you will be in a position to commit to?
3. So, yes, it will come with a cost, but given #1+2 above, will it be worth the cost?

CT

Zakkmann
12-31-2007, 01:11 PM
also you don't necessarily have to jump on the first offer that comes your way. my image is something thats unimportant to me, as such its important to me that no one try and tell me its wrong money or no money. i think if saying no is out of the question maybe come to a compromise with them about which parts of the image have to be changed and what changing the image involves. after learning that i'd regress into further contemplation.

Retribution
12-31-2007, 01:11 PM
Aside from some of the extraordinarily unlikely details you proposed in the contract:
-no multi-album deals these days. One at a time, baby, cause if you don't sell, they don't want to be tied down to you or have to buy out your contract, or let you record albums that don't get released because some suit decided it would be more economically prudent to bury it than to invest further money in it by promoting/marketing it.

There's still plenty of multi-album deals, especially from indie labels (but they still exist within majors). However, you're correct in that they're going on a steady decline.

As for the question asked in the thread - Just tell them you're not comfortable being anyone but 'normal guys', and if any of the other band members want to wear eyeliner, let them.

Ramco
12-31-2007, 01:12 PM
Aside from some of the extraordinarily unlikely details you proposed in the contract:
-no multi-album deals these days. One at a time, baby, cause if you don't sell, they don't want to be tied down to you or have to buy out your contract, or let you record albums that don't get released because some suit decided it would be more economically prudent to bury it than to invest further money in it by promoting/marketing it.

Maybe not for major labels, but the label in this scenario is an indie label that's had success in the past creating good two or three album contracts, putting one label out and then selling the contract to the major labels (Fueled by Ramen, Drive-Thru, Wind-Up). While I agree it's not usual, I used this for the sake of the story to show that the band would have longevity, and the label wouldn't just release one lackluster release and forget about them.


-ownership of your songs is invariably split 50/50 between you and the label. That's part of your cost of doing business.

Holy crap, I'd hate to be signed to something like that. I have heard of deals like that, but I've always been told to avoid them. Thank God every contract I've ever signed has kept me ownership of my music, or I'd be screwed. So they'd not only be getting the HUGE markup on the CD, but make half of the 8 cents per song the writer gets?

dilbert_5150
12-31-2007, 01:18 PM
ah but he's got his soul too look after =/ to be honest he shouldn't have to sacrifice any of him for this, music is his and his bands expression, NOT the record company.

It's true, but I don't think he's gonna waste his soul after changing some clothes. I mean, the record company wants to make cash, they're not here to give opportunities for nothing, it's business for them. They want to invest into people, and for many young bands they might be only chance to start a real career. Maybe he's gonna succeed, maybe he will become a rock GOD and be able to afford a private jet and stuff like that... :) As long as the record company doesn't want to screw with your music taste, they might be worth a try.

Gurgle!Argh!
12-31-2007, 01:21 PM
major record labels don't hand out contracts. they **** you over with a 'deal memo' instead.

Zakkmann
12-31-2007, 01:30 PM
It's true, but I don't think he's gonna waste his soul after changing some clothes. I mean, the record company wants to make cash, they're not here to give opportunities for nothing, it's business for them. They want to invest into people, and for many young bands they might be only chance to start a real career. Maybe he's gonna succeed, maybe he will become a rock GOD and be able to afford a private jet and stuff like that... :) As long as the record company doesn't want to screw with your music taste, they might be worth a try.

after very long consideration i have decided you my friend are correct.

however, only only cautious word of advice is that you be careful. today its a little eyeliner and a new hair due, tomorrow.... you're giving the record company head in the limo =/ its a bug eat bug world out there

well no thats probably not going to happen (but still it did in team america) but be wary. record companies these days -.-

dilbert_5150
12-31-2007, 01:40 PM
today its a little eyeliner and a new hair due, tomorrow.... you're giving the record company head in the limo =/

HAHA, I guess this can happen! The trick is probably to keep them in distance as long as possible. If they see you're weak and willing to give your ass very easy, they will take an advantage over you.

take_it_t
12-31-2007, 01:42 PM
I just find it amazing how some people believe these contract offers are a dime a dozen, and how easy it should be to just wait for this "perfect contract" to come along. To be honest in that situation, I wouldn't see taking on a new image at the labels request to be the biggest of your concerns. Thats just one of the sacrifices you may need to make to get your foot in the door. To me it really doesn't seem like a very big one. In any business you're always going to need to make some sort of sacrifice or risk to rise to get anywhere. No matter what you are going to be criticized and labeled by someone, somewhere.

Ramco
12-31-2007, 01:43 PM
major record labels don't hand out contracts. they **** you over with a 'deal memo' instead.
Boy, you just love pissing in people's cornflakes, don't you?

I agree, labels screw you over, but that's not what this thread is about. This is an extremely rare case where a benevolent (or at least neutral) party is willing to give you the best shot at living your dream that you could ever hope for, but at a price. I want to know what the average UGer would do.

z4twenny
12-31-2007, 01:49 PM
honestly, i wouldn't do it. i don't wear eyeliner and cut myself in real life so im not gonna pretend to do it for some douche so he can sell a couple records. thats just me though. honestly i would say "you know the people that we're trying to appeal to are going to think we're sellout hacks if we go changing our image into whatever the hell is selling" either that or you can do the whole "so what you're saying is because our music isn't good enough to stand on its own we gotta look like every other sh!tty band out there?"

lolmnt
12-31-2007, 02:03 PM
Well I don't ever want to be on a major label, on FUSE, or in Spin so I wouldn't do it. The only way I'd sign to one was if they gave me complete control of my music, and enough money so that I never have to work another day in my life.

The way major labels treat bands is horrible, and they seem to care more about money than music. Personally, I just want to make music and have fun doing it. I don't care about hit songs, which seems to go against the major label view.

Ramco, it's cool to see another Orlando UGER

JW123
12-31-2007, 02:15 PM
I would think most acts playing in coliseums or arenas are wearing makeup, so I dont see what would be wrong with a little eyeliner.

If someone is going to invest in or excuse me makes a monster loan to you in order to get you out there, you better get used to kissing a little ass.

People work at McDonalds and have to wear a cute little suit and hat for minimum wage, so do you think someone is going to hand you the money to do a couple of albums with no strings attached. If its some label with a lot of selling releases they probably know what they are doing and they want you to sell product.

Artistically, the real question is are they going to butcher your music or leave it alone. If they are talking to you at all they probably already like your music.

Zycho
12-31-2007, 02:44 PM
If you're not changing your music who the **** cares? Toss me some guyliner.

Aramis
12-31-2007, 04:33 PM
My take on the issue.

If you've been offered a contract which gives you complete ownership of the songs and is offering to help you get that kickstart, I think that in your shoes, I would take it. I mean what's a little eye-liner and jet black hair? If that's a non-negotiable no-no, then try and negotiate something that would work. But what's more important, your look or your sound? I would never let the record company **** with my music, but you will have dissenters whatever you do. So if they're going to be so pathetic as to not listen to you for your look, ignore them.

tbca
12-31-2007, 10:16 PM
Ok if the music is good and you're sure people are going to like and all they want you to do is change your looks then do it. Who cares if your called a sellout. Staying true to something like that isn't worth not paying rent. If someones gonna give you money you go and never look back

freshtunes
12-31-2007, 10:50 PM
I'm going to be straight with everyone here....I'd sellout in a second. I love music enough where I want it to be my life, and I want to be self sufficient as I get older. Work ain't work if you're doing what you love. Honestly, I'll wear whatever the **** they tell me too wear, but I'd write the music I felt like writing. I'd rather be a rich sellout getting laid every day than struggling from paycheck to paycheck for the rest of my life. Anyone who calls anybody a sellout is just jealous because they don't have the fat check in the mail. I don't have to be a starving artist to have my music meen something to me.

shredder1223
12-31-2007, 10:57 PM
I'd do it.

For sure. When opportunity comes a knockin; open the damn door.

Ramco
12-31-2007, 11:05 PM
I'm going to be straight with everyone here....I'd sellout in a second. I love music enough where I want it to be my life, and I want to be self sufficient as I get older. Work ain't work if you're doing what you love. Honestly, I'll wear whatever the **** they tell me too wear, but I'd write the music I felt like writing. I'd rather be a rich sellout getting laid every day than struggling from paycheck to paycheck for the rest of my life. Anyone who calls anybody a sellout is just jealous because they don't have the fat check in the mail. I don't have to be a starving artist to have my music meen something to me.
I believe you win the thread. Congratulations.

I'm a bit saddened, however, at the number of people too prideful to accept something like this.

There was a second purpose to this thread, and it is to hopefully give people a new respect for the bands they hate. Maybe Fall Out Boy or My Chemical Romance are following trends you don't like, but they would have broken up by now if they didn't enjoy the music they're making. Nobody can continue with a band very long if they don't enjoy the music they're making. I see those two bands, as well as countless others, become the central focus of everyone's hatred, when all they did was make music (and with real instruments, no less - that's something admirable in this day and age!). I hope that at least one person will start to think "good for them" even if they can't stand their music.

As a final note, when I first joined UG it was Blink-182 and Good Charlotte that got the brunt of the ridicule. How times have changed.

MetalMusicianAl
12-31-2007, 11:12 PM
**** that ****. thats wat basically happened with iron maiden, record ppl wanted them to cut their hair into mohawks and play punk only maiden said **** that and stuck it out in the clubs for 7 years

GentlyWeeps
01-01-2008, 01:42 AM
I have naturally jet black hair...course it's long, curly, and naturally bleached red in the front.
I always thought emo-clothes were quirky, I like quirky.
My hair covers my eyes already, so eyeliner would be hidden.
Best of all, the song remains the same. I ain't gonna be an elitist bitch about it. And who says you gotta dress like that forever. If your album does good, and its tour does well as well, they'll probably let you loosen up.
That being said, I wouldn't wear a stupid tie. F uck. That.

freshtunes
01-01-2008, 03:57 AM
I believe you win the thread. Congratulations.

I'm a bit saddened, however, at the number of people too prideful to accept something like this.

There was a second purpose to this thread, and it is to hopefully give people a new respect for the bands they hate. Maybe Fall Out Boy or My Chemical Romance are following trends you don't like, but they would have broken up by now if they didn't enjoy the music they're making. Nobody can continue with a band very long if they don't enjoy the music they're making. I see those two bands, as well as countless others, become the central focus of everyone's hatred, when all they did was make music (and with real instruments, no less - that's something admirable in this day and age!). I hope that at least one person will start to think "good for them" even if they can't stand their music.

As a final note, when I first joined UG it was Blink-182 and Good Charlotte that got the brunt of the ridicule. How times have changed.
You are also very right. Everybody should have full respect for anyone being featured on MTV that uses live intrumentation.

lolmnt
01-01-2008, 05:08 AM
I believe you win the thread. Congratulations.

I'm a bit saddened, however, at the number of people too prideful to accept something like this.

There was a second purpose to this thread, and it is to hopefully give people a new respect for the bands they hate. Maybe Fall Out Boy or My Chemical Romance are following trends you don't like, but they would have broken up by now if they didn't enjoy the music they're making. Nobody can continue with a band very long if they don't enjoy the music they're making. I see those two bands, as well as countless others, become the central focus of everyone's hatred, when all they did was make music (and with real instruments, no less - that's something admirable in this day and age!). I hope that at least one person will start to think "good for them" even if they can't stand their music.

As a final note, when I first joined UG it was Blink-182 and Good Charlotte that got the brunt of the ridicule. How times have changed.I don't want to be famous and on the radio. That's why I wouldn't accept it. It has nothing to do with the eyeliner or changing my image

SlackerBabbath
01-01-2008, 09:03 AM
After being in a similar position, twice, I wouldn't do it.
Honestly, you don't need a label to be a sucessful musician nowadays. Yes their money is very nice and comes in handy when you have a load of promotion, and recording, and hotel bills, and instruments ect. to pay for, but they always make that money back (because they are a business) and if you ain't doing as well as you dreamed you were going to do, they take what's owed to them and leave you without enough to live off.
It's almost the same question as 'If the bank manager offered to lend you £100, 000 would you take it?'
Probably yes, if you're young and wreckless, but think about it for a moment. They're gonna want that cash back, are you sure you will be able to afford to do that in 6 months time? If you can't, it could set you back legaly and financialy for the rest of your life.
Similarly, any money the label invests in you, they will want it back at some point. If you haven't been as succesfull as you or the label thought you might be, as quickly as you or they thought you might, they're gonna want to recoup their losses as quickly as possible.
What happens then is that they stop investing in you, (there'll be some hidden little clause in the contract that allows them to do this) practicaly zero is spent on marketing and you end up living on a percentage of what you can make just playing gigs (once the agents and promoters appointed by the label takes their percentage)
It'll probably also be in the contract that they take a 'gross' percentage of your earnings.
This is a standard rip-off that lots of labels like to pull.
Let's, (for the sake of easy reckoning) say your deal is 50/50 with the label.
Now imagine a gigging scenario.
You play a gig and you make £1000 over the door, but there's £500 to pay in venue and PA hire. Rather than paying what's owed to people and splitting the remaining £500 between yourself and the label, (£250 each) if the contract says that the label takes 50% 'gross percentage' the label will take 50% of the initial £1000 (£500) then leave you to pay everyone including yourself and your band out of the remaining £500. (leaving you with nothing apart from t-shirt and badge sales profits)
ALWAYS make sure that any deals with labels that you sign are clearly marked as the label getting a 'net' percentage. This means that in the same scenario, everyone would get paid first before you split what's left between you and the label.

To sign a deal with a label, I'd want net percentage agreements and guarantees that if it doesn't all go according to plan, then we both have a simple 'get out' clause without being contractualy obliged to repay any money invested in either direction.

But, labels are not the same creatures as they used to be.
Once upon a time, they 'ran' the music scene. Nowadays, they're not so powerful because almost everything that a label does for you can now be done by yourself with the aid of the internet, producing CDs is waaay cheaper than vinal records used to be and anyone with a CD writer and a printer can make them and any expert help that you may require is available to you via websites like this one, so why bother with a label?

axemanchris
01-01-2008, 01:57 PM
I totally say "good on 'em" to those bands that can pull it off. Blink, Sum41, MCR, whatever. Clearly, they have something I don't have, and that is the ability to write hit songs. I could criticise all day long, but you know what they say about glass houses and throwing stones.

With major labels, there is no such thing as anything better than 50/50 publishing (ie. ownership of the material) between the artist and the label. That's what it costs to deal with a major. You pay and play, or don't and walk.

I don't know how typical it is for the label to take your touring money or merch, aside from whatever costs they have fronted to put the show on or to manufacture the merch.

Your entertainment lawyer (assuming a certain level of competency) will point out to you those danger clauses, like Slacker's example of net vs gross. I would be surprised to see any major label allowing the artist an escape clause if things aren't going well. As brutal as it is for the labels these days, they now have to be even more vigilant about getting their money back, and there are still a thousand artists willing to play by the label's rules that they know they don't have to bend to any pressure an unknown artist is going to try to levy against them.

The label wants their money back, of course. Your entertainment lawyer will go over with you what is expected to be recoupable and how it is to be recouped. You either agree to the terms of the agreement or you don't. The labels aren't evil. They just know that they are offering a service that they expect to make money on. They know lots of people would practically give their first born to be able to have a chance at accessing those services, so there is a HUGE demand and a low supply. They can call whatever rules they want. They're not imposing anything on you. As I say, you either choose to play by their rules, or you don't. If you don't, there are 1000 others that will.

To go large-scale, you DO need a major. Really, how many bands in the last 50 years have become "stars" without the help of a major?

The Offspring's album was an indie-release.
Ugly Kid Joe (but that didn't last long)
Barenaked Ladies.

Of course, all of those bands elected to go with major labels following their independent releases. There must be a reason for that. (and I think in all of those cases, the independent album was re-released by the major to take them from localized popularity to international success).

Arguably, OK Go did well for themselves entirely independently.

How in the world do you get your name out there and get your music in front of listeners around the world (or even coast to coast) without large financial backing? The internet? Right. They'll visit your website because..... why? Because it's there? Nope. Sure, you can make a CD yourself on your own terms, but the trick is getting the potential buyer to hear that CD and connect it to your name. That is what takes the money.

CT

NSG
01-01-2008, 05:42 PM
Major labels can kiss my ass. In a few years the internet should kill them off (RIAA is dying, labels are next on the blacklist). People can say that the internet is not a good way to 'promote' your music... and it isn't. It is, however, a good place to showcase your musical expression.

There will be no more mindless superstars in the future, art is becoming a democracy.

I don't give a **** about money, I play music for myself and myself only.


Back on topic. If the label came to you, then you were already 'commercially viable' and completely unoriginal. Why not 'sell your souls,' it is not like they actually confront 'competent' musicians.

If you play 'pop' (pop refers to 'commercially viable' music) and stay 'indie' then you are either just a really ****ty pop band or really stupid. I doubt any self-respecting 'musician' joins that kind of band without thinking it is a 'get-rich-quick' scheme.


Though, in all fairness, I play some weird **** (not weird to me, but you would HATE it)... and the music you probably like music literally makes me vomit (I am not kidding)... so don't take me too seriously, I am not like you (to put it bluntly). I would not even think about modern music if it wasn't for one Experimental Rock song that solely gave me the respect for music I have today (respect for music in general, not band worship).


they have something I don't have, and that is the ability to write hit songs.
Then you aren't looking at it from the right perspective. Exploit not deliver.

JackFlash19
01-01-2008, 08:14 PM
I dunno, I'd probably do it. In all actuality of it, you are being hired for a job. Even though it is your music, you are being paid by an employer for a certain amount of time to do a certain job. And if they require you to wear a 'uniform' (eyeliner, all black, whatever), you have to either suck it up and wear the uniform, try to negotiate, or just say 'no thanks' and try to find another label that will sign you. Which for a relatively new band in the industry (say 4-5 years together) it may be tough to find another label. If your music isn't emo, you aren't emo IMO. Half of everything on stage is theatrics, for the visual show that needs to accompany the music. I'd do it, as long as they didn't suggest drastic changes in our music (which sometimes they do in certain songs).

Gurgle!Argh!
01-01-2008, 08:40 PM
I dunno, I'd probably do it. In all actuality of it, you are being hired for a job. Even though it is your music, you are being paid by an employer for a certain amount of time to do a certain job. And if they require you to wear a 'uniform' (eyeliner, all black, whatever), you have to either suck it up and wear the uniform, try to negotiate, or just say 'no thanks' and try to find another label that will sign you. Which for a relatively new band in the industry (say 4-5 years together) it may be tough to find another label. If your music isn't emo, you aren't emo IMO. Half of everything on stage is theatrics, for the visual show that needs to accompany the music. I'd do it, as long as they didn't suggest drastic changes in our music (which sometimes they do in certain songs).

i don't buy this whole 'oh, but its a job' bullshit, because music should be art. people make these comparisons between music and ordinary jobs all the time, and almost without exception they're inappropriate because being an artist is not the same as being a dentist or working in burger king or whatever. if you take the attitude that its just a job then i don't really want to hear the music you write.

Mouse25314
01-01-2008, 08:48 PM
Whoa, very deep thread. I'm very impressed how you guys have handled everything so far.

To by honest, despite what type of music I played and what type of music people thought I played, no one could ever get me to dye my hair black and wear mascara. End of story. But yeah, that sounds like a really good contract, and I think you guys would regret it if you didn't take it.

As long as you stay true to the music you guys like to play, I'd say you aren't sell outs.

The Con
01-01-2008, 09:22 PM
Nope. I'm in it for the music, not the publicity.

Blind In 1 Ear
01-01-2008, 09:58 PM
Let's say your band receives a call from an A&R rep from a label, telling you they saw your band at your last show and he wants to meet with you. The dashing young A&R rep along with an attractive girl who you later find out is part of the label's promotional department take you and your bandmates out to lunch at somewhere nice but casual downtown, talk about music and how much they liked your band. During the meeting they hand everyone in the band a piece of paper - the oft-coveted label contract - and encourage you to read it over, think about it and call them back in a week.

You read the contract and it seems like a good deal; not a huge advance, but a great royalty rate and you get to keep ownership of your songs, and the label will take care of manufacturing and distributing copies of your latest CD. They will get you into the studio right away to record a new album, and the contract specifies that they will pay for two albums after that. You're still playing it smart, though, and you take it to a lawyer who mainly handles music contracts. He says it's a really good contract, and even if the label can find a loophole you have the ability to walk away at any time.

You get your band together to talk about it, and everybody says it sounds like a good idea - nay, a great idea - and you call your friendly neighborhood A&R rep as promised, putting him on speakerphone so your entire band can talk to him. He's jovial as usual, asking how everyone has been since lunch a week ago, and asks you what your decision was. You tell him that your band has decided to sign the contract, and he says that he'll fly in tomorrow, treat you all to dinner, and he'll collect your signed contracts. He says that the pretty promotions girl will be finding some new promotional opportunities for you, including possibly getting you on Fuse and hooking up an interview with Spin. He also mentions something else - she wants to get you to dress a bit more like other current musicians, namely with eyeliner, jet black hair and other "emo cliches". You won't need to change your music at all, but this will undoubtedly bring criticism towards you, especially when one of your news stories breaks on Ultimate Guitar. You will be called a sellout, and you will be lumped in with whatever other "poppy" rock is on the market right now. Your band will be called emo by the musically uneducated (read: nearly everyone), despite the fact that you sound nothing like emo. Also, if you do play punk, or metal, or whatever style you play, you'll be accused of killing the genre, just because of your image and your fans.

This is honestly how music works. Would you change your image into one that will bring you ridicule by some to be loved by many? Would you secure your financial future doing something you love in return for being branded a sellout? Is it really selling out if you're playing the exact same music, only with a more "popular" image? I really want to know what everyone thinks about this, if they'd go along with it, and what kind of situation they're in now, both musically and financially.

well seeing as i play blues, classic rock, acoustic stuff and some jazzy stuff, i doubt that would ever come up. if it did, id ask how they can be that stupid to think it would actually work for my style.

Blind In 1 Ear
01-01-2008, 10:03 PM
I dunno, I'd probably do it. In all actuality of it, you are being hired for a job. Even though it is your music, you are being paid by an employer for a certain amount of time to do a certain job. And if they require you to wear a 'uniform' (eyeliner, all black, whatever), you have to either suck it up and wear the uniform, try to negotiate, or just say 'no thanks' and try to find another label that will sign you. Which for a relatively new band in the industry (say 4-5 years together) it may be tough to find another label. If your music isn't emo, you aren't emo IMO. Half of everything on stage is theatrics, for the visual show that needs to accompany the music. I'd do it, as long as they didn't suggest drastic changes in our music (which sometimes they do in certain songs).
music isnt a job, its an art. if you are in it for the money then you are doing it for the wrong reasons. if they came at me with that offer, id turn it down if they didnt want to change their stance on it. id be just as happy making music in my room and recording home made CDs and just letting anyone listen and playing small shows here and there.

axemanchris
01-01-2008, 10:41 PM
I guess it depends on what your other options are too.

If you are looking ahead to a lifetime of making your own music in your room that hardly anybody ever hears, and working full time for minimum wage and a bit as assistant manager at Burger King, and you're happy with that, all the power to ya.

For me, I wouldn't take anything like a record deal at this point in my life, whereas at one time, I would have given up my proverbial "first born" to do so. Right now, I have a full time career as a teacher that I have worked hard to establish and that I enjoy. It is a good income, and it is reliable and secure. That allows me to stay in a reasonably nice house in a nice neighbourhood and financially support my wife and three kids. A record deal would put me on the road for the next 24 months, and I could very well come out at broke at the end of it. It's a chance I could have taken when I was even 25 or so. Not now.

But as a professional musician, by definition, music is your livelihood. If you want it to be a hobby, great. If you want it to be your livelihood, then yes, it IS your job. You just lucked out as having a job that you like, whereas many people face the daily grind of work as an almost unbearable drudgery. It is still your job, though. Your job is to create art. Hell.... that was Bach's (and many of the other "great composers") job. Did that make him any less an artist? No... didn't think so.

CT

Ænimus Prime
01-01-2008, 10:56 PM
If someone gave me an opportunity to be paid that much for creating and sharing my music I'd put on a little make-up.

Me and my best mate have been dressed as girls with wigs, make-up and fake boobs singing bohemian rhapsody, and it wasn't even for money.

So yeah I'd do it. I don't care what I look like or what people think of me.

Dethvone1
01-02-2008, 02:01 AM
Honestly, I would tell them to shove it where the sun doesn't shine. Short and simple, the "black hair and mascara eye-liner"/emo/every-band-popular-today appearance represents the music that I despise most. My reasoning would be that when I write my songs, I look back at all the bands and songs that disgust me. Then, I write with those in mind so I can be sure there's as little similarity as possible. I don't want to be associated with them in any way what-so-ever. Call me shallow if you like- I couldn't care less.

I think today's mainstream music is at an all-time low. Something needs to change, and conforming won't do a damn thing.

Matt Chavie
01-02-2008, 04:25 AM
Metallica use to wear tight pants I saw it in Guitar World therefore I don't think "metalheads" hating on "emos" for there clothes makes any sense at all. Alice Cooper wears makeup, is he emo? I don't think so at least.

But I would sign it, I'd put the eye liner on lightly and all music these days is hated by someone, so what's the big deal? If they are open minded and you are good they will listen, I'll take those fans over any others any day.

NSG
01-02-2008, 04:33 AM
I guess it depends on what your other options are too.

If you are looking ahead to a lifetime of making your own music in your room that hardly anybody ever hears, and working full time for minimum wage and a bit as assistant manager at Burger King, and you're happy with that, all the power to ya.

For me, I wouldn't take anything like a record deal at this point in my life, whereas at one time, I would have given up my proverbial "first born" to do so. Right now, I have a full time career as a teacher that I have worked hard to establish and that I enjoy. It is a good income, and it is reliable and secure. That allows me to stay in a reasonably nice house in a nice neighbourhood and financially support my wife and three kids. A record deal would put me on the road for the next 24 months, and I could very well come out at broke at the end of it. It's a chance I could have taken when I was even 25 or so. Not now.

But as a professional musician, by definition, music is your livelihood. If you want it to be a hobby, great. If you want it to be your livelihood, then yes, it IS your job. You just lucked out as having a job that you like, whereas many people face the daily grind of work as an almost unbearable drudgery. It is still your job, though. Your job is to create art. Hell.... that was Bach's (and many of the other "great composers") job. Did that make him any less an artist? No... didn't think so.

CT
God, I would love to meet you in person :rolleyes:

P.S. Is it bad that I laughed when I read that (snickered at the half-ass attempts at superiority, laughed at the middle paragraph)?

You do realize that there is other music than pop music right?

JackFlash19
01-02-2008, 06:32 AM
i don't buy this whole 'oh, but its a job' bullshit, because music should be art. people make these comparisons between music and ordinary jobs all the time, and almost without exception they're inappropriate because being an artist is not the same as being a dentist or working in burger king or whatever. if you take the attitude that its just a job then i don't really want to hear the music you write.

Just because it is a job doesn't mean it has to be 9-5 or something you hate. You sir, are truly ignorant if you think people can't pour passion into thier job, or livelihood. Just because it is art doesn't mean it's not a job. But if you don't have another job that will pay the bills, it IS your job. If you are getting paid to perform a task, it IS your job. I don't take the attitude that it's 'just a job'. What an ignorant supposition. I play music because I love it, and if I can do it as my job (my sole form of income) then I'll sure as hell do it. But the simple fact that you think that performing in the music industry is not a job makes you truly ignorant and NOT a musician. You don't necessarily think of it as a job because it's not the ordinary '9-5'er, but as long as you are making money from it to survive, guess what sherlock, IT IS YOUR ****ING JOB.

NSG
01-02-2008, 07:47 AM
What is with these mothe****ing elitists on this mother****ing board!?

Gurgle!Argh!
01-02-2008, 09:22 AM
Just because it is a job doesn't mean it has to be 9-5 or something you hate. You sir, are truly ignorant if you think people can't pour passion into thier job, or livelihood. Just because it is art doesn't mean it's not a job. But if you don't have another job that will pay the bills, it IS your job. If you are getting paid to perform a task, it IS your job. I don't take the attitude that it's 'just a job'. What an ignorant supposition. I play music because I love it, and if I can do it as my job (my sole form of income) then I'll sure as hell do it. But the simple fact that you think that performing in the music industry is not a job makes you truly ignorant and NOT a musician. You don't necessarily think of it as a job because it's not the ordinary '9-5'er, but as long as you are making money from it to survive, guess what sherlock, IT IS YOUR ****ING JOB.

yeah, nice one moron but i never actually denied it was a job. read my post again. i said that it is different to other jobs. i contrasted it with ordinary jobs, which by definition implies that it is an extraordinary one. so your post entirely fails.

the point however, is that it is not the same as other jobs. just like if you're a professional artist, that is not the same as any other job. if you work as an exhibiting artist, i expect to see some artistic integrity. if i can't believe that your art is genuine, then i can't take it seriously. and i'm well aware that people can pour passion into other jobs, thankyou. but its not really the same, because in other jobs the passion is incidental. in art, the passion is half of the point.

Retro Rocker
01-02-2008, 11:57 AM
Jet black hair? Eyeliner? Alice Cooper is my biggest influence in life, pretty much, those things are welcome to me.

axemanchris
01-02-2008, 05:03 PM
i don't buy this whole 'oh, but its a job' bullshit, because music should be art.

I think he was talking about comments like this.

CT

axemanchris
01-02-2008, 05:16 PM
If you play 'pop' (pop refers to 'commercially viable' music) and stay 'indie' then you are either just a really ****ty pop band or really stupid. I doubt any self-respecting 'musician' joins that kind of band without thinking it is a 'get-rich-quick' scheme.


I call myself a self-respecting musician. I like pop music, so that is what I write and choose to play. Does that make me a sellout for doing pop music, or does it mean that I am staying true to myself in an age where pop music is villianized by many? Irony!! I have no pretensions of it being a get rich quick scheme.

The pop music genre is THE most competitive genre out there. If you do pop music thinking you'll be able to take it to the bank one day, you're more optimistic than what is probably good for you.

Your suggestion that any self-respecting musician who choses to do pop music is doing so to get rich is just as narrow-minded as the thinking you seem to be so against.

And I know there are other genres out there other than pop music, but the topic we're discussing here is about a major record label offering a multi-album deal, but asking a group to alter their physical image to make them more marketable. Pop music is clearly the point here.

I'm glad you found my paragraph about me not being in a position to take a record deal so amusing. :rolleyes: I ask you.... does it make sense for *anyone* to leave their family that they support financially and emotionally for two years (or however long), leave their job, and risk coming out at the end with nothing? The most likely result being coming back at the end of it all with a small amount of success, so that you don't owe any money, but what comes out to less than half of what you would have made at your 'regualar' job.... never mind the potential 'personal' costs you would incur along the way? Seriously... what is so funny about that? Tell me. I'm listening.

CT

BrianApocalypse
01-02-2008, 05:26 PM
If you've been in that situation, you've made the first mistake.

You've let yourself work for the record company.

You need to assert yourselves - the company must be made to work for YOU.

Having said that, most bands' images suck though, so unless you're one of the good ones with something to offer, you can't complain that such a request has been put forward.

bi-ah!
01-02-2008, 06:02 PM
i would not dress emo...no matter what my band played like, i would not dress like a big gay

SlackerBabbath
01-03-2008, 12:50 AM
How in the world do you get your name out there and get your music in front of listeners around the world (or even coast to coast) without large financial backing? The internet? Right. They'll visit your website because..... why? Because it's there? Nope. Sure, you can make a CD yourself on your own terms, but the trick is getting the potential buyer to hear that CD and connect it to your name. That is what takes the money.

CT
Ahh, that's where the all important 'publicity stunt' comes in. It's a sadly dying art nowadays, but once upon a time, loads of bands used to do them.

A good example was Mansun who made a video for their single 'Taxloss' in 1997 (I think) by throwing loads of money off balconies in a busy train station and filming the crowd's reactions.
By 6pm that day they were on the evening news and a few days later they were in the charts.
Of course, we can't all afford to do something like that, but you get the gist.
The Sex Pistols did the same thing when they sailed down the River Thames playing their new single 'God Save The Queen' during the Queen's silver jubilee celebrations. They got arrested, the whole thing was on the news and the single instantly sold out.
Ozzy Osbourne was just a washed up wreck of an ex Sabbath singer, until that series of pictures with him biting the head off a dove at a record company meeting hit the presses, then everyone knew the madman was back and his concerts suddenly all sold out and the rest is history.
If you're a resident of the UK, you have probably heard of 'Fathers for Justice' a group of fathers who have gone through divorce and ugly custody battles for their children and are battling for more sexual equality during custody cases. But why have we heard of them? Because they keep dressing up as super heroes like Bat-Man, Spider-Man and Superman and climbing up buildings and getting on the news.
Publicity see?

Your website is just a tool to help promote your band, but you still need to promote your website outside of the internet (as well as on the internet) in order to get full advantage of that tool.
So do something that gets you noticed, something wacky and silly or artistic or even something for charity, but not dangerous or illegal. Something that'll get you noticed and maybe in the newspapers or if you're lucky, on telly, then watch your site get thousands more hits.
Of course, you first need to make sure your site's set up to sell your stuff.

Just having your website address on any t-shirts you sell or even just mentioning the address during your gigs creates more hits to your site, so imagine what a bit more original thought can achieve. It might even be worth doing a few gigs and putting all the proceeds from them towards placing a small but noticable advert for your site in newspapers or magazines.

huevomax
01-03-2008, 09:25 AM
Well. That's sorta my style anyways. And my music is like heavy metal mixed with punk so I don't think I'd care.

FreedomFighter
01-03-2008, 04:56 PM
I would take it.
You live once.
With a record label where you own your own songs, but sacrifice your image to do so is worth you.
What is your image anyway? Does it matter? So long as the music is good, who cares about the face behind it?

Damascus
01-05-2008, 11:53 PM
I would take it.
You live once.
With a record label where you own your own songs, but sacrifice your image to do so is worth you.
What is your image anyway? Does it matter? So long as the music is good, who cares about the face behind it?

I wouldn't take it because life's too short to be dishonest about your dreams.

To my mind, being a musician is only similar to having a 'normal' job in the sense that people pay you for it - the payment in a normal job is the motivation for doing it (your enjoyment is variable) whereas pay for a musician is incidental.
Being a musician (or indeed, an artist of any kind)* is about doing with you life exactly what you want to do, expressing yourself honestly through whatever artistic medium you use, whilst being allowed to do this by virtue of the fact that people want to give you money to pursue your dreams, because they get a kick out of the result.

*or even one of the lucky people whose true passion is also conviently a well-defined career, like a soldier, doctor, laywer etc.

JackFlash19
01-06-2008, 03:36 AM
yeah, nice one moron but i never actually denied it was a job. read my post again. i said that it is different to other jobs. i contrasted it with ordinary jobs, which by definition implies that it is an extraordinary one. so your post entirely fails.

the point however, is that it is not the same as other jobs. just like if you're a professional artist, that is not the same as any other job. if you work as an exhibiting artist, i expect to see some artistic integrity. if i can't believe that your art is genuine, then i can't take it seriously. and i'm well aware that people can pour passion into other jobs, thankyou. but its not really the same, because in other jobs the passion is incidental. in art, the passion is half of the point.


So if I was to take the deal, put eyeliner on and change my clothes, would my music have any less passion in it? Just because you put on eyeliner does not mean it compromises your artistic integrity. If you were a punk rocker who liked to wear khakis and a collared shirt and they asked you to change clothes is that really any different? Granted my example is a bit extreme, but the basic premise is the same

axemanchris
01-06-2008, 10:24 AM
Really..... don't 98% of us adapt our appearance for our work? It might not be a suit and tie, or a McDonalds uniform, or a Wal-Mart apron or what-have-you, but it might mean wearing a longer-sleeved shirt to cover up tatoos, taking out some piercings, wearing a hair-net, or even just choosing clothes that are suitable for the job and making sure your hair is a bit neater than it was when you first got up.

None of those things affect our competency or passion (or lack thereof) in our jobs. In fact, it is merely a small concession that, if nothing else, gives us more credibility in the eyes of our supervisors, customers, clients, etc.

Just like being in a band!

CT

SlackerBabbath
01-06-2008, 11:10 AM
So if I was to take the deal, put eyeliner on and change my clothes, would my music have any less passion in it? Just because you put on eyeliner does not mean it compromises your artistic integrity. If you were a punk rocker who liked to wear khakis and a collared shirt and they asked you to change clothes is that really any different? Granted my example is a bit extreme, but the basic premise is the same
Gurgle considers himself a 'genuine' indie, whatever that is. It does beg the question of who actualy decides what music is 'genuine' indie and what is just the regular type.
It's probably more to do with teenagers coming up with a new fashion, and declaring that everybody who follows this new fashion is 'genuine' and everyone who doesn't, isn't.
Can something be 'genuine' to one person and not to another? I think in something as diverse as music, it probably can.
Now he's using the phrase 'genuine' in connection with art. Yet everyone knows that 'art' can be anything at all to anyone at all.
Some can see art in an ordinary everyday object like a housebrick or even in a dissected cow, others in a row of soup tins or a settee shaped like a pair of lips. It can be blobs of paint thrown at a canvas like in the style of Jackson Pollock, or impossible, dream-like scenes such as Dali painted. It can be a cartoonish style with strange angles placed into figures that make no logical sense, such as Picasso or Marcel Duchamp, or an almost photo perfect painting as in the styles of Edward Hopper or Andrew Wyeth, or even a veritable acid trip of swirling, unnaturaly bright colours as used in the styles such artists as Vincent van Gogh or Edvard Munch.
Of course there are those critics that would say that only landscapes painted in the style of Turner or Constable with oil paints or finely chiseled scuptures of well muscled figures in marble reminicant of Michalangelo's style is 'genuine' art.
And, of course, people who label one form of art as 'genuine' and disregard the rest are generaly laughed at for being narrow minded and not knowing what the hell they are talking about.
Anybody here have any idea what 'artistic integrity' is? I'll tell you, it's simply another name for 'image.' (Or it could even just simply be a phrase used by experts in the arts for an imaginary idea used by these very same so called experts to keep everyone else thinking that they must be experts because only they know what 'artistic integrity' means.)
So what's 'image'?
Image is just an arty way of saying 'lie' or 'fantasy'
How many punks do you know that are genuinely members of the mohican Native American confederacy of subtribes? How many goths do you know that are genuine vampires? How many indie acts do you know of that were actualy around during the 60s/70s era that they seem to be trying to re-create in their sounds and fashion?
Talent, whether it's in music or any other art form doesn't need integrity. Real talent stands up on it's own two feet. Any art form that needs 'integrity' and 'image' to promote it is simply using comercialism to sell the product.
Those that tell us that one art form is genuine and has integrity while another art form lacks integrity and is not genuine, is simply being elietist.
The strange thing is, if everyone suddenly shared the same sense of what was art and what wasn't, then art itself would be very bland and those very same people who label everything and tell us what is genuine and what isn't would be the very first people to try and come up with something different and original.
Many people say that van Gogh's insanity was his integrity.
Bollocks. If he wasn't insane, but instead very level headed like his brother Theo, would it have made his genius with a paintbrush any less?
To conclude, don't take image too seriously. It's just a tool that can be used to help sell a product, in the same way that axemanchris mentions a McDonalds uniform. Sure, it shouldn't be too much of a problem to accept an image that you might not normaly wear in order to make a living (within reason) but that shouldn't make any difference to who you are, what you prefere to listen to and how you prefere to dress at home.

Retro Rocker
01-06-2008, 11:23 AM
^ Wow.... Powerful post right there.

Gurgle!Argh!
01-06-2008, 12:59 PM
Gurgle considers himself a 'genuine' indie, whatever that is. It does beg the question of who actualy decides what music is 'genuine' indie and what is just the regular type.
It's probably more to do with teenagers coming up with a new fashion, and declaring that everybody who follows this new fashion is 'genuine' and everyone who doesn't, isn't.
Can something be 'genuine' to one person and not to another? I think in something as diverse as music, it probably can.
Now he's using the phrase 'genuine' in connection with art. Yet everyone knows that 'art' can be anything at all to anyone at all.
Some can see art in an ordinary everyday object like a housebrick or even in a dissected cow, others in a row of soup tins or a settee shaped like a pair of lips. It can be blobs of paint thrown at a canvas like in the style of Jackson Pollock, or impossible, dream-like scenes such as Dali painted. It can be a cartoonish style with strange angles placed into figures that make no logical sense, such as Picasso or Marcel Duchamp, or an almost photo perfect painting as in the styles of Edward Hopper or Andrew Wyeth, or even a veritable acid trip of swirling, unnaturaly bright colours as used in the styles such artists as Vincent van Gogh or Edvard Munch.
Of course there are those critics that would say that only landscapes painted in the style of Turner or Constable with oil paints or finely chiseled scuptures of well muscled figures in marble reminicant of Michalangelo's style is 'genuine' art.
And, of course, people who label one form of art as 'genuine' and disregard the rest are generaly laughed at for being narrow minded and not knowing what the hell they are talking about.
Anybody here have any idea what 'artistic integrity' is? I'll tell you, it's simply another name for 'image.' (Or it could even just simply be a phrase used by experts in the arts for an imaginary idea used by these very same so called experts to keep everyone else thinking that they must be experts because only they know what 'artistic integrity' means.)
So what's 'image'?
Image is just an arty way of saying 'lie' or 'fantasy'
How many punks do you know that are genuinely members of the mohican Native American confederacy of subtribes? How many goths do you know that are genuine vampires? How many indie acts do you know of that were actualy around during the 60s/70s era that they seem to be trying to re-create in their sounds and fashion?
Talent, whether it's in music or any other art form doesn't need integrity. Real talent stands up on it's own two feet. Any art form that needs 'integrity' and 'image' to promote it is simply using comercialism to sell the product.
Those that tell us that one art form is genuine and has integrity while another art form lacks integrity and is not genuine, is simply being elietist.
The strange thing is, if everyone suddenly shared the same sense of what was art and what wasn't, then art itself would be very bland and those very same people who label everything and tell us what is genuine and what isn't would be the very first people to try and come up with something different and original.
Many people say that van Gogh's insanity was his integrity.
Bollocks. If he wasn't insane, but instead very level headed like his brother Theo, would it have made his genius with a paintbrush any less?
To conclude, don't take image too seriously. It's just a tool that can be used to help sell a product, in the same way that axemanchris mentions a McDonalds uniform. Sure, it shouldn't be too much of a problem to accept an image that you might not normaly wear in order to make a living (within reason) but that shouldn't make any difference to who you are, what you prefere to listen to and how you prefere to dress at home.

this entire post amuses me, because it just completely disregards the point i'm making in my posts. you seem to have this fixation on my use of the phrase 'genuine indie'. i'm going to clarify why i used the term. what a lot of people call indie music isnt indie. its pop rock. whether its right or not that the term has shifted in many peoples eyes, i need to emphasise what i'm talking about. i need people to understand that i'm not using the word 'indie' to refer to the fratellis or whatever other **** happens to have guitar and is in the charts. personally, i don't consider this to be indie, because it doesn't have an independent ethos. so i need to emphasise what it is that i'm talking about.

when i talk about art being genuine, i mean it in the most absolute sense. i want art to be meant, i want the artist to have invested himself into it. if its hollow, it doesnt really interest me that much. when i say i want to see genuine art, i mean that i want to see art which is honest. i'm not saying that art that doesn't have these qualities isn't art. but it doesn't really interest me. just like i'm not gonna go out and read hallmark card poetry, because its hollow and soulless, its motivation is money, and i don't think this usually produces good art.

if you don't believe there's such a thing as artistic integrity, if you believe that its just another image, thats fine. believe what you want. but it doesn't mean that there isn't such a thing, it just means you don't see it.

similarly, i don't why you seem to think i expect everyone to follow my way of thinking. rather, you're the one who seems to always want to weigh in and declare that your way of thinking or of doing things is the only good way. i don't really care that much what people's views on art are. i'm well aware that everything is subjective. but from my perspective, there most certainly is such a thing as artistic integrity. it what separates hallmark poetry from the waste land, and its what separates someone writing jingles from someone writing music thats interesting and engaging and passionate. there is, certainly, a place for both aspects, and all the points in between. but i can tell you right now which it is that i want to produce and which it is i want to read or hear.

inevitably, the reply will come that 'oh, buts it only how you dress on stage'. yeah, sure, but two points. firstly, everyone talks about how putting on a stage show or whatever is a big part of your act, and its true. your performance as a whole is a piece of art, and all these things tie into it, just like if you started jumping around and trashing the instruments if that wasn't something you really felt comfortable with. secondly, its the principle of the matter. you change one thing, it isnt long before your changing another. you have to stop compromise that you don't agree with early. thirdly, i'm also just talking generally about the issue of changing what you're doing to make it more commercially acceptable. my point is that i object to the idea of compromising art to make it more commercial.

SlackerBabbath
01-06-2008, 01:55 PM
this entire post amuses me, because it just completely disregards the point i'm making in my posts. you seem to have this fixation on my use of the phrase 'genuine indie'. i'm going to clarify why i used the term. what a lot of people call indie music isnt indie. its pop rock. whether its right or not that the term has shifted in many peoples eyes, i need to emphasise what i'm talking about. i need people to understand that i'm not using the word 'indie' to refer to the fratellis or whatever other **** happens to have guitar and is in the charts. personally, i don't consider this to be indie, because it doesn't have an independent ethos. so i need to emphasise what it is that i'm talking about.

when i talk about art being genuine, i mean it in the most absolute sense. i want art to be meant, i want the artist to have invested himself into it. if its hollow, it doesnt really interest me that much. when i say i want to see genuine art, i mean that i want to see art which is honest. i'm not saying that art that doesn't have these qualities isn't art. but it doesn't really interest me. just like i'm not gonna go out and read hallmark card poetry, because its hollow and soulless, its motivation is money, and i don't think this usually produces good art.

if you don't believe there's such a thing as artistic integrity, if you believe that its just another image, thats fine. believe what you want. but it doesn't mean that there isn't such a thing, it just means you don't see it.

similarly, i don't why you seem to think i expect everyone to follow my way of thinking. rather, you're the one who seems to always want to weigh in and declare that your way of thinking or of doing things is the only good way. i don't really care that much what people's views on art are. i'm well aware that everything is subjective. but from my perspective, there most certainly is such a thing as artistic integrity. it what separates hallmark poetry from the waste land, and its what separates someone writing jingles from someone writing music thats interesting and engaging and passionate. there is, certainly, a place for both aspects, and all the points in between. but i can tell you right now which it is that i want to produce and which it is i want to read or hear.

inevitably, the reply will come that 'oh, buts it only how you dress on stage'. yeah, sure, but two points. firstly, everyone talks about how putting on a stage show or whatever is a big part of your act, and its true. your performance as a whole is a piece of art, and all these things tie into it, just like if you started jumping around and trashing the instruments if that wasn't something you really felt comfortable with. secondly, its the principle of the matter. you change one thing, it isnt long before your changing another. you have to stop compromise that you don't agree with early. thirdly, i'm also just talking generally about the issue of changing what you're doing to make it more commercially acceptable. my point is that i object to the idea of compromising art to make it more commercial.
Ever stopped to think that commercialism could be an art form in itself?
Ever stopped to think that whatever is today's genuine artistic integrity is tomorrow's commercialism as it gains popularity?
Ever stopped to think that in 400 years time, the most crass, commercial sounding band that exists today could well be labeled as 'classical music' and gain a whole new integrity?

I've never said that you 'expect everyone to follow your way of thinking', I simply disagree with your views. This is a discussion site isn't it? All views on here are open for debate are they not?
I do know where you're coming from though, I was once very like you in your views about passion and integrity in music, until I allowed myself to be influenced by EVERYTHING around me and realised that there's no good music, no bad music, and therefore no integrity, just what 'I' prefere to listen to.
And that's the same for every individual. What is someone's throw away greetings card poetry can seem like Shakespeare to someone else. If something seems hollow and souless to us, it could be this very aspect that attracts others who 'prefere' hollow and souless. Therefore, all artistic creativity, no matter how personal or passionate, or at the other end of the scale, how crassly commercial it is, is equally viable.
Look at it this way, if everyone in the world shared your views on passion and integrity in music, then 'passion and integrity' would be 'commercial' by definition.
Another example, look at this picture.
http://www.shrewsbury.gov.uk/public/waste/streetcleansing/fly+posting.jpg

To some people, this is simply gross commercialism at it's worst, even vandalism, to others, it's a viable piece of art that takes a snapshot of life in a cirtain area from a cirtain time.

axemanchris
01-06-2008, 02:38 PM
Artistic integrity, to me, means staying true to your vision of how you want your art to be presented. Being a personal thing, to say that Bon Jovi has any more or less artistic integrity than John Cage or Charles Ives or whomever is kinda silly.

There is nothing wrong to want your art to be presented in a more commercial context, if that is indeed what you want. Making money does not necessarily compromise artistic integrity unless it forces you to pander to the commercial aspect as an end in itself.

Similarly, there is nothing wrong with refusing to allow your art to be presented in a commercial context if that is your intended aesthetic.

Image is packaging. Integrity is creating the content you want to create, for the most part.

That said, the other phrase "artistic merit" is something generally assessed by others and can be hard to qualify/quantify.

CT

useasdirected
01-06-2008, 03:39 PM
i think any smart person would. if your an aspiring musician and someone gives you an oppurtunity like that, it would be extremely dumb not to take it. chances like those don't come around often, and if you say no the first time, that will most likely be the last time you'll be in that position.

Gurgle!Argh!
01-06-2008, 03:46 PM
Artistic integrity, to me, means staying true to your vision of how you want your art to be presented. Being a personal thing, to say that Bon Jovi has any more or less artistic integrity than John Cage or Charles Ives or whomever is kinda silly.

There is nothing wrong to want your art to be presented in a more commercial context, if that is indeed what you want. Making money does not necessarily compromise artistic integrity unless it forces you to pander to the commercial aspect as an end in itself.

Similarly, there is nothing wrong with refusing to allow your art to be presented in a commercial context if that is your intended aesthetic.

you're quite right, and thats part of the point. if the question postulated above is framed as a dilemma, then that suggests that a commercial context isnt what you want, so to agree to it is to go against what you don't want. what i'm saying is that if the decision is a dilemma, then by definition you would be compromising yourself by agreeing with it.

Ever stopped to think that commercialism could be an art form in itself?
Ever stopped to think that whatever is today's genuine artistic integrity is tomorrow's commercialism as it gains popularity?
Ever stopped to think that in 400 years time, the most crass, commercial sounding band that exists today could well be labeled as 'classical music' and gain a whole new integrity?

yes, of course aiming for commercialism can be valid, and yes, commentary on commercialism is a valid artform. i'm not actually denying that anything is or isn't a valid artform, i'm merely expressing a personal preference.

on the subject of commercialism as art, i have a soft spot for klaxons because i think they're doing something interesting by consciously saying '**** it, lets be poppy and throwaway'. i think theyre interesting for how they're basically just ****ing about with the commercial, how there's no desire for longevity or anything, it reminds me of a lot of modern art, in a good way. i think its interesting.

I've never said that you 'expect everyone to follow your way of thinking', I simply disagree with your views. This is a discussion site isn't it? All views on here are open for debate are they not?
I do know where you're coming from though, I was once very like you in your views about passion and integrity in music, until I allowed myself to be influenced by EVERYTHING around me and realised that there's no good music, no bad music, and therefore no integrity, just what 'I' prefere to listen to.
And that's the same for every individual. What is someone's throw away greetings card poetry can seem like Shakespeare to someone else. If something seems hollow and souless to us, it could be this very aspect that attracts others who 'prefere' hollow and souless. Therefore, all artistic creativity, no matter how personal or passionate, or at the other end of the scale, how crassly commercial it is, is equally viable.
Look at it this way, if everyone in the world shared your views on passion and integrity in music, then 'passion and integrity' would be 'commercial' by definition.

yeah, so you basically just said what i said. everything is subjective, personal preference. i already said this. but your post is flawed because you say there's no integrity, but that you have a preference. if you like some things and don't like others, then by doing the things you don't like you're compromising your integrity. i'm not painting integrity to be something huge and complex. to me, integrity is refusing to do things that you don't agree with. if i, for example, dislike a certain kind of music, then i'd be compromising my integrity by playing it in an effort to make money. integrity is personal, obviously.

SlackerBabbath
01-07-2008, 11:25 AM
yes, of course aiming for commercialism can be valid, and yes, commentary on commercialism is a valid artform. i'm not actually denying that anything is or isn't a valid artform, i'm merely expressing a personal preference.

on the subject of commercialism as art, i have a soft spot for klaxons because i think they're doing something interesting by consciously saying '**** it, lets be poppy and throwaway'. i think theyre interesting for how they're basically just ****ing about with the commercial, how there's no desire for longevity or anything, it reminds me of a lot of modern art, in a good way. i think its interesting.
So we are in general agreement on this matter.
But how do you know that Klaxons arn't just doing it simply for the money?
After all, the first thing they did when they signed to Polydor Records in 2006 was to take all of their videos off youtube. Thereby saying, 'if you want to watch us and listen to us, then you have to buy our product or watch us on MTV, who will pay us royalties for showing our videos.
Looks like someone's more bothered about money than music.
But where does that now leave yourself?
You've already said that choosing money over music is against your ethics, so having a soft spot for this band must also go against your ethics.
Now, you can be stuck with this moral dilema or you can say 'Fu*k the ethics, I like 'em anyhow.'



yeah, so you basically just said what i said. everything is subjective, personal preference. i already said this. but your post is flawed because you say there's no integrity, but that you have a preference. if you like some things and don't like others, then by doing the things you don't like you're compromising your integrity. i'm not painting integrity to be something huge and complex. to me, integrity is refusing to do things that you don't agree with. if i, for example, dislike a certain kind of music, then i'd be compromising my integrity by playing it in an effort to make money. integrity is personal, obviously.
This is where we differ because I maintane that integrity in music is just an illusion.
If integrity just means doing something out of preference, and everybody's preference is different, then how can anyone possibly judge the integrity in another's art form?
We can say we like or dislike it but that's about it, because we are tied to our personal opinions.
So let's say for a moment that musical integrity is a purely personal thing.
But it's still possible to try something out, music wise, that you wouldn't normaly do, in the name of broadening your horizons, develop a taste for it and end up enjoying it.
It's the old addage, 'You never know if you like something or not until you try it.'
So where's the integrity in a case like this? Is it gone because you've done something you previously didn't agree with, or is it intact because you're enjoying yourself?
The dictionary says that integrity means 'Adherence to moral and ethical principles.'
Yet people's musical tastes and fashion sense change all the time, (f'instance, in the 80s, I was really into spandex metal bands such as Motly Crue, and my music that I played then obviously demonstrated this, but when I listen to it now, it makes me cringe because it sounds cheesy to me.) so how can you adhere to a principle if your principle keeps changing?
The answer is, you can't, so if musical integrity doesn't work when we talk about other people's music because that's just personal taste, and it can't work when talking about our own music because our own musical tastes are subject to change, then it must just be an illusion because it sure as shootin' doesn't serve any other purpose.
Now, you might agree with this or you might not, but if you don't, that doesn't mean the argument is 'flawed,' it just means it's a different opinion to your own.
See?

My point is that many would stick to playing the same genre and wearing the same fashion items more out of a fear for their integrity in the eyes of others, than their own personal integrity.
I'm simply saying, don't let that fear steer your decisions because then you're just limiting yourself, and stifling your creativity for something that's just an illusion anyway.

Strati
01-07-2008, 12:59 PM
Since we got a good chance to establish our bands own label soon enough, I would without doubt say no to this. Music isn't about popularity or wearing makeups that you don't feel 100% with. I'd rather play in europe-only-known funk or blues (doesn't matter what genre) playing on small venues for the rest of my life, as long as I can be myself.

Yahz0r
01-07-2008, 02:14 PM
Easy. If you are that great, you can find another label who let you dress however you want, and be succesfull anyway.

Gurgle!Argh!
01-07-2008, 03:35 PM
So we are in general agreement on this matter.
But how do you know that Klaxons arn't just doing it simply for the money?
After all, the first thing they did when they signed to Polydor Records in 2006 was to take all of their videos off youtube. Thereby saying, 'if you want to watch us and listen to us, then you have to buy our product or watch us on MTV, who will pay us royalties for showing our videos.
Looks like someone's more bothered about money than music.
But where does that now leave yourself?
You've already said that choosing money over music is against your ethics, so having a soft spot for this band must also go against your ethics.
Now, you can be stuck with this moral dilema or you can say 'Fu*k the ethics, I like 'em anyhow.'

i don't actually recall them doing anything of the sort, and i would find it bemusing if they did so in some effort to make money, since there's no way it would actually do so. in this case though, i'm not sure i care whether they're apparently 'in it for the money' or whatever (and for the record, i don't think they are). i don't think its really possible for them to compromise their ethics because the whole point of their music is that its ethicsless, and in that sense is a comment on commerciality, on pop music and on independence. i'm not dictating ethics to others, just talking about my own. generally, things which fit with my ethical beliefs are going to interest me more, but the fact that i'm willing to have this discussion surely indicates i'm intrigued by the concept of commerciality. klaxons appeal to that intrigue.

This is where we differ because I maintane that integrity in music is just an illusion.
If integrity just means doing something out of preference, and everybody's preference is different, then how can anyone possibly judge the integrity in another's art form?
We can say we like or dislike it but that's about it, because we are tied to our personal opinions.
So let's say for a moment that musical integrity is a purely personal thing.
But it's still possible to try something out, music wise, that you wouldn't normaly do, in the name of broadening your horizons, develop a taste for it and end up enjoying it.
It's the old addage, 'You never know if you like something or not until you try it.'
So where's the integrity in a case like this? Is it gone because you've done something you previously didn't agree with, or is it intact because you're enjoying yourself?
The dictionary says that integrity means 'Adherence to moral and ethical principles.'
Yet people's musical tastes and fashion sense change all the time, (f'instance, in the 80s, I was really into spandex metal bands such as Motly Crue, and my music that I played then obviously demonstrated this, but when I listen to it now, it makes me cringe because it sounds cheesy to me.) so how can you adhere to a principle if your principle keeps changing?
The answer is, you can't, so if musical integrity doesn't work when we talk about other people's music because that's just personal taste, and it can't work when talking about our own music because our own musical tastes are subject to change, then it must just be an illusion because it sure as shootin' doesn't serve any other purpose.
Now, you might agree with this or you might not, but if you don't, that doesn't mean the argument is 'flawed,' it just means it's a different opinion to your own.
See?

well, my point that your argument was flawed was more because you were suggesting that given that taste is subjective, there can't be such a thing as integrity. when actually, that just means that integrity is subjective. also, on the subject of people's feelings changing over time, so. i might split up with my girlfriend at some point in the future, but it doesn't mean i'm going to cheat on her now.

My point is that many would stick to playing the same genre and wearing the same fashion items more out of a fear for their integrity in the eyes of others, than their own personal integrity.
I'm simply saying, don't let that fear steer your decisions because then you're just limiting yourself, and stifling your creativity for something that's just an illusion anyway.

i'm not suggesting that fear should steer people. at all. what i'm saying is that if the idea suggested in the original post is something which makes you pause, which strikes you as wrong, then agreeing to it would be a compromise of your integrity. if the question doesn't strike you as a problem, then obviously go for it. but if its a big deal to you, then of course you're compromising yourself by agreeing to it.

axemanchris
01-07-2008, 10:11 PM
Easy. If you are that great, you can find another label who let you dress however you want, and be succesfull anyway.


It doesn't matter in pop music (and its various and many forms) how good you are if you are not marketable.

CT

guitar guy 6006
01-08-2008, 12:25 AM
no no no i got the perfect one, agree to it but when your getting ready for your first appearance with eyeliner on. stab yourself in both eyes with the eyeliner thing then sue the company.

1. Dont sellout
2. really cool bloody eyeballs
3. ???????
4. Profit

SlackerBabbath
01-08-2008, 10:45 AM
i don't actually recall them doing anything of the sort, and i would find it bemusing if they did so in some effort to make money, since there's no way it would actually do so. in this case though, i'm not sure i care whether they're apparently 'in it for the money' or whatever (and for the record, i don't think they are). i don't think its really possible for them to compromise their ethics because the whole point of their music is that its ethicsless, and in that sense is a comment on commerciality, on pop music and on independence. i'm not dictating ethics to others, just talking about my own. generally, things which fit with my ethical beliefs are going to interest me more, but the fact that i'm willing to have this discussion surely indicates i'm intrigued by the concept of commerciality. klaxons appeal to that intrigue.
I can assure you they did.
Question, what do you think of their cover songs "The Bouncer" by Kicks Like a Mule and "Not Over Yet" by Grace?



well, my point that your argument was flawed was more because you were suggesting that given that taste is subjective, there can't be such a thing as integrity. when actually, that just means that integrity is subjective. also, on the subject of people's feelings changing over time, so. i might split up with my girlfriend at some point in the future, but it doesn't mean i'm going to cheat on her now.
The difference is though, you're girlfriend is a person with feelings and such, music is just music.



i'm not suggesting that fear should steer people. at all. what i'm saying is that if the idea suggested in the original post is something which makes you pause, which strikes you as wrong, then agreeing to it would be a compromise of your integrity. if the question doesn't strike you as a problem, then obviously go for it. but if its a big deal to you, then of course you're compromising yourself by agreeing to it.
Well the reason I mentioned it was because the thread starter was asking everyone elses opinion on the matter, which to me suggests that they are more bothered about other people's opinions than their own.

OpposingForce
01-08-2008, 12:43 PM
No thanks, I would rather keep doing basement recordings with Audacity and cheap mics, and maybe sell CD's for like 5 bucks at some shows rather than change myself like that to get the record deal.

Damascus
01-08-2008, 02:19 PM
Just because you put on eyeliner does not mean it compromises your artistic integrity.

If the artist wears eyeliner when he honestly would not normally do so, the artist has sacrificed (to a greater or larger extent) the artist's integrity.

Therefore the integrity of the artist is compromised.

Therefore the integrity of his or her art is compromised.



I don't think you're the devil incarnate if you would wear the eyeliner, but there should be no (and cannot be any logical) debate about whether the integrity of the art is compromised or not.

It is.

BrianApocalypse
01-08-2008, 02:40 PM
Amen Damascus.

The concept of Artistic Integrity is not a purely musical one. It is inextricably linked to the musical aspect, sure, but it's not as narrow a boundary, and Image and values fall under it.

Gurgle!Argh!
01-08-2008, 03:09 PM
I can assure you they did.
Question, what do you think of their cover songs "The Bouncer" by Kicks Like a Mule and "Not Over Yet" by Grace?

i think they're quite good. you'd be kidding yourself if you think that they used those to achieve success though. they're actually a great example of a band which didn't do what you talk about.

The difference is though, you're girlfriend is a person with feelings and such, music is just music.

interesting. y'see, this assumes that cheating on a girlfriend is only bad because it upsets them. i would suggest that its intrinsically a betrayal, whether they find out about it or not. if the girlfriend never finds out you cheated on her, was it still wrong? yes. of course. ergo, its not an issue of hurting their feelings, its an issue that the act is just wrong.

Well the reason I mentioned it was because the thread starter was asking everyone elses opinion on the matter, which to me suggests that they are more bothered about other people's opinions than their own.

in fairness, the thread starter is clearly not in this position. i think they more wanted to throw it out to debate. which is whats happening. hooray.

SlackerBabbath
01-08-2008, 05:38 PM
interesting. y'see, this assumes that cheating on a girlfriend is only bad because it upsets them. i would suggest that its intrinsically a betrayal, whether they find out about it or not. if the girlfriend never finds out you cheated on her, was it still wrong? yes. of course. ergo, its not an issue of hurting their feelings, its an issue that the act is just wrong.
No, my point is that the reason that it's obvious to everyone that cheating on a loved one is moraly wrong is because it creates a victim, in their most basic form, that's what all morals are built upon, if it creates a victim, it's moraly wrong. But to compare this to putting on a bit of slap in the name of entertainment doesn't really work because it creates no victim. People do it all the time in various different branches of the arts and put as much thought into the morals of it all as anyone else would put into putting on their trousers in the morning. Clowns, actors, stage magicians, mime artists, wrestlers, practicaly every TV personality going, (hell... my wife won't even even leave the house unless she's wearing her makeup :rolleyes: ) what makes musicans any different to any of these people? It's all still just entertainment, right? I'm just saying that people make a bigger deal out of this than it deserves.
It's just a bit of slap, no one's gonna burn in hell for wearing it.