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