I’m not much of a Mumford & Sons fan. I have nothing against them as musicians; I just find that my taste in music to be a little different. But I respect the hell out of them for the statement they put out today.
Pulled by Digital Music News from other sources this morning, M&S were reported as disliking Jay Z’s new service Tidal. They’re not alone; other mainstream artists like Lilly Allen and Mariana and the Diamonds have voiced distaste for the service. And that’s not even taking into account the near biblical response from music fans over the service, all of which I spoke about in my coverage of Tidal’s relaunch a couple weeks ago.
But what makes M&S’s statement so stark is the candor with which frontman Marcus Mumford explained the band’s view of the service:
We wouldn’t have joined it anyway, even if they had asked. We don’t want to be tribal. I think smaller bands should get paid more for it, too. Bigger bands have other ways of making money, so I don’t think you can complain. A band of our size shouldn’t be complaining. And when they say it’s artist-owned it’s owned by those rich, wealthy artists.
Wow, some pretty powerful words from the neo-folk rock frontman. I rest my case. I may not be a major fan of M&S’s music, but I for damn sure am a fan of how they see themselves and their fans. They know what they are, and they know what they’re not. And what they’re not is dying for money in the same way an independent artist is. What they are, according to this, are a group of artists who recognize their good fortune. They assert that other artists on their level should recognize similar good fortunes and stop “complaining.”
If this isn’t telling of the splitting we’re starting to see in the music industry, then I don’t know what is. It’s a big day when even mainstream artists are standing up and articulating the difference between themselves and independents. It’s a whole new world.