The Death of Music?
c 1997, Rory Cargill

     I have seen the future and it is bland. Your music will be written and/or vetted by teams of accountants and market researchers who will be known to you as A&R reps, management consultants or artistic directors. Total state-corporate control designed to maintain social order/stagnation and maximize profits from the stultification of your life, dreams and art. Music is slowly becoming muzak of one stripe or another. Elevator muzak. Nite club muzak. Punk muzak. Techno muzak. Classical muzak. Jazz muzak. Indie muzak. Vomit muzak. Enema muzak. Go deaf as a subversive act!
     We live in a sea of sound from before we are born and now, the powers that be are no longer content to let us create our own sounds. No, they insist on controlling everything using fatuous devices such as "fashion", pop/sales charts, market research, etc. Failing that, they'll resort to the traditional tried & tested methods of bullying, blackmail, coercion, co-option and assorted flavours of thuggery.
     Yes, it's going to be "Whine of the Commuter Belt", "Save the Bus Pass", "Lobotomies for fun & pleasure", "R U Reddy 2 Rokk?", "Bolshy boyz'n'grrlz who can't play worth a fuck shouting into a microphone", "Bland, Bland, Bland", "My manager's gay, so I've got to do this crap number for his boyfriend in L.A.", "Moronic tripe to maximize my record company's profits", "Commit suicide so that the rich can get even richer", "Obedience is Freedom", "Newspeak for the Masses", "Actuary of the Year", "Work, Consume, Die", "Thump, thump, blat, thump" and the oh-so-melodic "Thump-thump-thump-thump".
     Remember, it's not what you want to do but what your owners (they'll present themselves to you through your "manager" or "record company representative" or some such title they'll give a flunky of theirs) decide they want to use you for. Be it making themselves rich, having you going to jail for something they've done, being a source of replacement body-parts or being a general-purpose plaything. Beware of long-term contracts that don't involve you having to do very much and/or minimal input/commitment from your supposed benefactors. The best you can hope for is to save up some money (if you're allowed any of that stuff!) and leg it out as soon as possible.
     Aside from the predictable megalomaniac greed-driven types who just want to keep a tight control on their artist roster, there's also a growing squad of mind-control jerks who are intent on manipulating the sea of sound around us as a tool to control our minds. From encouraging & controlling mindless consumerism to making sure that everyone votes conservative, arrests themselves 5 times day and such useless stuff. You know the types already. Failed social anthropology undergrads with minors in political, cultural & social dynamics. Sad fuckers who get a kick out ruining other peoples' lives.
     So, forget about that meaningful, dynamic meisterwerk you've been toiling away at. Forget about making Wagner sound like ding-dong door chimes because ding-dong door chimes is about all the cretins running today's record companies understand. Forget about getting a band together and doing something original, exciting & fun. The world of music is controlled by congenital idiots and petty criminals who know less about music than the eraser on the end of your pencil. If you want to make a living as a musician, you'll just have to get used to the idea of serving up shit on a golden platter, because that's all the music industry is doing these days. Yes, professionalism in the world of music no longer refers to making music to the best of your abilities, excellence and general high quality of musical workmanship, etc., ad nauseam, but rather to being a servile tool to realize the greed-driven ambitions of selfish amoral 'businessmen' who've wormed their way into the world of music.
     Think of the crassest, dumbest, stupidest, most moronic crap that just barely manages to qualify as music. Spend millions of dollars/pounds on production and marketing, making sure that the "artistes" are either non-musicians like the Monkees or Spice Girls or else forbidden to actually play anything themselves if, heaven forbid, they can actually play anything competently and/or imaginatively. Spend even more money on market research just to make sure that you've fine-tuned your advertising & marketing strategies to a target audience with the mental age of 5 years old or less. Sit back, count the money coming in and think about all the greedy fatheads, talentless hangers-on and assorted parasites you've kept on the gravy train. It might even earn you an O.B.E. if you can keep it rolling for 20 years or more and make the occasional donation to whichever political party is keenest on taking bribes and dishing out favours. What a hero! Choke, gag, splutter…
     Never worry about how you've squeezed so much money out of the music marketplace that the punters haven't got any money left to spend on music produced outside of the corporate music industry. Don't even think about how your business practices are slowly, but surely, killing off music as an art form as you choke off any and all spontaneous 'grass-roots' music creativity.
     At the rate things are going, music will no longer exist outside the corporate environment, as you'll need a record deal of some sort or another or else loadsamoney just to have the time necessary to develop & maintain your musicianship as well as writing new material. No job with the record company, no time to work on your music. Ergo, music & musicianship have effectively become the property of employers (record companies) which they can then dish out like sweets to whoever kisses their collective ass the hardest or whatever.
     Music is slowly but surely being killed off and being replaced with corporate indentikit muzak. So, if you really care about music and want to do something about it, join my campaign to round up all the record companies and their assorted hangers-on onto a desert island somewhere and nuke the lot of 'em. It'd be the best thing that ever happened to music. To paraphrase that famous quote about politicians, "Don't take their money, it only encourages them."

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