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The Reality of Reality
By Kenny Love
(more articles from this author)
2000-08-04
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A few weeks ago, I posted a news release on a number of news sites and incurred severe wrath and backlash from a particular sector of artists for doing so. The release, referencing a new Houston-based label, at which I am now Chief Information Officer, contained prerequisites that these particular artists greatly disagreed with.

Our company, seeking an "R&B/Urban" artist, restricted the age range of the prospective artist to that of 18-25 years of age. The reason being, was that this range is accepted as the largest music buying market as well.

Furthermore, the news release also generated responses from every other genre including Rock, Country, Folk...you name it, even though we were clear on our required genre.

The initial Email response to the news post came from someone whom I shall refer to as "Lorrain," so as not to reveal the true identity. Lorrain had quite a bit to say about how awful it was that we were not allowing more "mature" and more qualified artists the opportunity to be signed. By "mature," I assumed she meant artists over the age of our requirement, and in their 30's, and above.

First, in all honesty, beside the fact that it was no one's business as to what age range our company stipulated, I also felt compelled to advise Lorrain that our label was not the Music industry's "Red Cross" designed to save artists from their inability to get signed, for whatever reason...that this was not a charity operation.

I also expressed that if she was not happy with the requirements, she was free to search elsewhere. But, it did not end there.

Other similar letters were forthcoming as well, with one even calling me a shallow person, and a few other colorful metaphors which I shall fail to mention. And, a few even decided that they could no longer remain on our newsletter list and, subsequently, unsubscribed (I still don't see the connection in that).

That particular act reminded me of little Charlie who, after repeatedly striking out in the baseball game, eventually, would take his ball and bat, and go home. Little Charlie, however, was only 7 years of age.

Now, let's reverse this situation for a moment. These are the same artists whom, if I was to interrupt their recording session, demanding and insisting that they replace an F minor chord with an F major chord they were playing throughout a song, simply because I didn't like it, would not think twice of throwing me out on my %$#.

And, not because of a wrong chord selection that they would throw me out, but because it was their turf...their decision about their own music, and their calling the shots about which chord would, or would not, be acceptable. And, who could get angry with them for that? However, these artists failed to see the reciprocative element.

This now presents to me that there exists, at least, a couple of extreme personalities regarding the attitudes of musicians.

The first extreme, which is the most common, or most overt, is the "prima donna" syndrome. This syndrome is the one that says, "I'm the best artist in the world, and I have just come out of the studio, with the absolute best recording in the world, and I can assure you that everyone in the world, is going to love my music."

The other extreme, and the one most recently visited upon me, alternatively, says, "I'm 30, consider myself over-the-hill, but don't want anyone to think this of me, and I've never had a deal, and at this point, the chances are slim to none that I ever will."

These are not my personal thoughts but, apparently, are the prevailing thoughts and attitudes I see in many artists who have existed in the world of music, unwilling to compromise their ideals and viewpoints to any degree.

Well, here's the deal...

1. Police departments, fire departments, the military, and almost every business industry we can think of, post requirements for particular positions, for whatever reason, among which almost always includes the age aspect.

2. When are musicians and recording artists who claim to be "professionals," ever going to pronounce and understand the word, "business," in the phrase, "Music Business?"

3. When will artists...unsigned, independent, or otherwise, realize that as a business, labels must make sound decisions they deem first in the label's best interest, if the label is to survive and remain functional in a highly competitive industry? And, I'm talking about the average independent label with the intention of truly assisting artists in their careers.

It is truly sad and disheartening to witness artists who, otherwise, should have acquired some degree of knowledge in regard to how the music industry works as a whole by this point in their careers, even if the acquisition of such knowledge is by default, but seem as uninformed as the first day they picked up their instruments.

For, whether accepted or rejected, reality shall forever remain one particular element...reality.


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