Every pop culture item available today has been boosted to the public through corporate intervention. From ABBA to Zeppelin, the broadcasting of messages and music over the intricate corporate network has been molded to fit the stereotypical nature of generations and eras. However, some artists are being excommunicated and ostracized from their diehard fans simply due to the fact that they wish to broaden their horizons. There exists a dire confusion in the war against corporate America, possibly brought about by the confusion in the war against terror. However, this problematic misunderstanding cannot deter the true music-lover from understanding the messages conveyed by artists. The corporate scandals have finally forced the public into revolution, but the unorganized effort has left many, revolutionaries included, torn in public opinion. Truly, an organization must be found among the rubble if this corporate machine is to ever be toppled, and unfortunately, it seems that the only way to destroy the machine is to become its friend.
Beginning with the advent of recording technology, the fate of artists and corporations had been sealed. As new generations and new recording mediums progressed, so did types of music, each with a different sound and message to match the stereotype of the era. How did the music of each age become so much a distinct sound with almost identical messages? The answer is simple - corporations, in the seeking of profit, eagerly advertised artists that would match the new sound that fitted the stereotypes and just as eagerly shunned artists that tried the new and inconceivable. Reflecting back in time, the only true fringe artists, despite refusal to imitate, that were widely publicized, were those who shaped the changing of eras. In the gaps between every generation's signature sound, new artists sprang up to effect yet another new sound for a new generation. These artists, on the norm, took characteristics of the previous stereotype, and added it to their own new ideas - thus creating a transition that lacked true imitation but yet also lacked pure originality. Though many love the birth of rock-and-roll that sprang up in the fifties, or the big band era, or even the psychedelic reformation of music, the artists that created these types of music were often advertised via corporate schemes, and unknowingly these artists were the building blocks of the corporate machine that faces America today, the very structure that now dictates to the people of this nation what to watch, hear, enjoy, and think about.
The corporate machine cannot be destroyed by petty effort. Yes, the underground attempts to boycott large labels in preference of independents caused a marginal wound on the CEO Dictator Squad, but the wound is just that, marginal. There are still millions of normal Americans that are victims, marching to the corporate beat, and until the machine is destroyed, these citizens will continue to be entranced by the mind-numbing excess of amplifiers and lack of literacy existent in today's so-called musicians. Most people have a radio, cassette tape player, and CD player in their home or cars, but cassettes are obsolete and turning on the radio's Top 20 can be a painful experience as the ad-libbing of orgasmic pop women or flaming pop men fill the speakers. Thank God (optional Allah, or the Great Universal Sphere for political correctness) that the use of illegal file sharing programs and CD burners allow those who despise conformity to crank their stereos to the Carpenters if they so choose. However, though marginally significant, the somewhat ill-fated efforts of the ignore it and it will go away group has proven itself unsuccessful in its endeavors. Something more is needed, something as crafty and underhanded as the corporations themselves, a leech.
The easiest way to destroy something is to become its friend, and this same methodology can be applied to the war against the corporate music industry. Perhaps bands that begin small, advocate common man values, and work their way up deserve some credit, even if the go corporate. In truth, these bands are the ones with a message, usually against corporate America. What is not realized is that these artists need to go to the major leagues in order to spread the message. If the band, which operates on very little cash earned from birthday parties to bar gigs, tries to spread the message, exactly how far can they go? They certainly cannot spread the message via advertising due to limited capital, and they can't get the big corporate venues that the Top 20's enjoy. In effect, the band is left with a 100 mile radius in which their influence has partially spread, entirely by word of mouth. Though highly commendable for their effort, the band has reached its climax and cannot continue to spread the word due to financial limits. However, if that band is picked up by the CDS (CEO Dictator Squad), then their capital limit is sky-high, and the limits to broadcast cannot be reached. Here, when the CDS is the friend of the little band and gives out cookies, candies, and cash, and this is where the double-crossing begins. Just as corporations did in their disguised effort to gain profit by faking true concern over what America really likes, artists must use corporate capital to spread the anti-corporate message. And also, here is where those that shunned that band for its selling out of the Indie label must support the anti-corporate effort and realize just how detrimental the message is to the corporate machine.
However, just as any covert operation is, there are innumerable fine lines that must be treaded on perfectly. The first exists in just how friendly the artist and corporation should get - if they are too friendly, the artist can be sucked into the trap, and if they aren't friendly enough, the anti-corporate message can leave the artist flat on his/her face with the chance to effect change no longer attainable. Also important is the fine line existent for the fans - feeding the corporate machine just enough to support the artist is necessary, but feeding too much or too little can cause the machine to grow larger or shrink, causing contracts to be denied renewal in favor of stronger music. Also, the covert band must realize its fate in that the machine that is feeding them they are trying to topple: in the end this is a suicidal mission to a career. If that machine no longer exists, the artist is no longer guaranteed a position in the people's hearts in the rubble following the falling of corporate America. Just as great as the advantages of this plan are the disadvantages; it will take a group or artist with true integrity and vision or execute such a plan. Despite the seemingly terrible odds of this happening, there are many young bands that would eagerly become a martyr for the cause they so willingly advocate, and it is these people that will bring about the downfall of corporate America.
Can we hope for a new age in which America chooses what it enjoys without the subliminal messages and stereotypical nature of corporations that feed the people their entertainment? Will the machine built over a lengthy period of time ever fall to its knees when it discovers the incredible power of people's unwillingness to be spoon-fed? The answers to these questions lie deep in the future, but perhaps, with great effort and honest intentions, the end of corporate America does lie ahead, if not for us, then the next generation the follows.