The Undeniable Hypocrisy of the Apple-Swift Saga

Image courtesy of Mirror

Image courtesy of Mirror

The Background

With Taylor Swift’s cleanup at the Grammys this year and attention over her misleading “victory” over Apple—and her subsequent partnership with the company—having waned (if not faded) over the last half year, it seems to be the appropriate time now to dissect what the fuck really happened back in July of last summer. Prior to the past few months when things seemed to have boiled down to a low simmer (focused mostly on SoundCloud and Spotify), the music news arena was blowing up over Taylor Swift’s push-back against Apple. Her open letter criticizing Apple, and subsequent statement that she would be boycotting the new music service—as she had done with Spotify—made it easy for the media to paint her as a martyr for “artists’ rights.” But that’s not the whole story. Not nearly.

When Apple announced early in June of 2015 that its new music service, aptly titled Apple Music, would not be compensating artists with royalties during the first three months of a user’s free trial period, there was significant push-back before Swift even got her letter out the door. The announcement was panned by the general music community, as well as by both artists within the mainstream paradigm, and the broad base of independents. When Apple retracted the statement and replaced it with a “fine, we’ll pay artists for the three-month trial period,” artists felt that they had won a major victory against the tech giant. Many even felt that Swift spoke up for them and that they benefited from her desire to help the general music community. Here’s why that’s wrong.

A Misleading “Victory”

Numerous sources reported on Apple’s recanting and Swift’s “victory,” from TechCrunch to Forbes to Mashable. But it wasn’t that at all. The retraction by Apple was telling of a much larger trend at play (and frankly, a much larger problem for independent artists which they should be focusing on). Swift made the same stink that she did when she “broke up” with Spotify, drawing on arguments like “artists shouldn’t give anything away for free” and her favorite “art needs to be rare to be valuable.” Soon after, Apple caved and said artists would be paid, and everything ended happily ever after.

Not.

While I wholeheartedly agree with Swift that artists shouldn’t have to give away their music for free if they don’t want to (as opposed to Swift’s catch-all “no free music ever/free music devalues your art” blah blah blah), I don’t think her motives are as angelic and altruistic as they might initially appear. People should be asking why exactly Swift made such a big fuss over this. Why? Because it really cuts into her bottom line. A bottom line that many of the independents she somewhat claims to “speak for” don’t have. Their economics are a very different reality from hers. Swift lives in a completely different universe, and no, as Matt Atkins wrote in a great Medium post , she is not an “independent artist.” Her signing to Big Machine Records makes her seem more independent than she really is; make sure you remember that she owns a huge stake in Big Machine, and that it’s distributed by Universal Music Group. So no, Swift doesn’t see it from the same perspective as that of an indie band in the garage in Ohio just trying to scrape by.

If an Independent Tried to Strong-arm Apple…

This doesn’t make Swift a bad person; it simply makes her human in looking out for her own best interests. At the time, that aligned with the best interests of the general music community. But people should not confuse happenstance with correlation.

Swift was able to strong-arm Apple into changing its position on paying royalties for the free trial period, and I commend her for that. But I can pretty much offer a dead guarantee that if it had been an independent artist who took to Twitter to complain (and many did, mind you) or write to Apple, nothing would happen. I’m not even sure they would receive a response email addressing their grievances. The fact that their position changed as a result of Swift’s vocal stance was a sheer coincidental benefit for the independent music community.

Artists who are not on Swift’s level (that is to say, most artists in the world) should be asking what could and would happen if and when their best interests don’t line up with hers. (Never mind the fact that Apple completely screwed up an independent artist’s entire catalogue upon Apple Music’s release). The moniker of Swift as “the Apple-Slayer” was nice and poetic, but all the more misleading. It painted Swift as the David to Apple’s Goliath, but that’s on a whole incorrect. Swift is just as much a Goliath as Apple is, and that’s precisely the reason that Apple caved to her in the first place. Had she been the David-level artist she parades around as (and which most independents actually are), she most likely would have been roundly ignored, as most independents usually are. When Apple caved, it was a good week for all artists. But what happens when Swift decides that what’s best for her is to choke the radio market and keep out other artists who might be stepping on her musical toes? I can’t imagine that she wants to give up any of her power.

It’s All About the Power

And that’s exactly what it’s about: the power. Swift has the power to turn heads and make things happen the way she wants. But that could be very bad for other up-and-coming artists. Swift, ironically, has become yet another gatekeeper, akin to the ones she so readily criticizes. She’s signed to an “independent” label which is distributed by one of the Big Three labels (Universal), and she has the clout to mobilize legions of fans (when she’s not suing them, I suppose).

But what about her whole “anti-free” mentality? That’s directly at odds with a lot of the thinking within the independent music community, where artists increasingly see their music as a means of marketing, rather than an end commodity for sale. What happens when push comes to shove and she’s on the other side of the fence from the much broader—but much more unknown—independent music community? She will still have the power to push her agenda, and they will simply be more obstacles in her way.

The reality is that no artist, of any caliber or genre, should have the power to dictate changes like that. At the time, it worked out for the better, but next time will be another story.

Subsequent Partnership

All of this made the announcement of Swift’s subsequent partnership with Apple more confusing, and in some ways, harder to swallow. After all the stones that were thrown, and all the press that was garnered (a calculated effort, I’m sure), the end result was somewhat anticlimactic. We were all ready for a super showdown of a major mainstream artist (yes, that’s what she is, live with reality) bucking the system and sending a message for musicians everywhere. What we got was…well…predictable.

As soon as Apple caved, so did Swift. She caved to using the service when it turned out that her open letter would get her exactly what she wanted. That sounds logical, except for the fact that she pretty much abandoned the “Apple-Slayer” independent gauntlet when she stopped focusing on how the new service would be for non-mainstream artists, and just said “ok.” In so few words, it seems that Swift was content to “take the money and run,” so to speak. Her victory really wasn’t a victory for anyone who wasn’t seeing massive streaming or airplay already anyway, so let’s not treat it as one.

A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words

Perhaps the most glaring result of Swift’s flirtatious battle with Apple, though, was the fallout over her own contracts. In the wake of her open letter, other types of creatives called her on her own hypocrisy, though this time, they weren’t musical artists: they were photographers. In an open letter of his own, professional photographer Jason Sheldon shined a light on Swift’s own hypocrisy in her company’s contracts with photographers at her shows. According to the Washington Post:

Swift’s management company, Firefly Entertainment, demands that photographers who shoot Swift’s concerts to do so on a “one-time-use” only basis and relinquish any rights to republish or sell their photos. Additionally, the contract states that Firefly has the “perpetual, worldwide right to use” the very same photographs in just about any way it sees fit, without compensating the photographer for their usage.

Wow, let’s just take a moment to let that sink in. Swift—the great “Apple-Slayer” and champion for artists’ rights and fair compensation—didn’t (doesn’t?) even feel that those same dynamics should apply when she’s the one who has to pay royalties. That’s pretty staggering.

As she wrote in her own Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, “Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for.” Considering just how much Swift seems to think that “valuable art should not be free,” it’s fairly amazing that she doesn’t go out of her way to create the best working opportunities for other creatives. In fact, the only thing it does is make her an undeniable hypocrite. If she wants to sit on top of the mainstream and act in a holier-than-thou way, that’s fine, but she should at least be honest about it. She shouldn’t be parading around as some “champion for the independent artist” when clearly her actions say otherwise. It essentially negates everything she’s done to “bring attention to artists’ rights.”

Perhaps the most upsetting thing of all is that many were lulled into thinking that Swift is something that she’s not, including other artists, and independents in particular. This was akin to telling someone that they now had a spokesperson they could trust and count on to speak up louder than they could for their general rights, only to find out that person wasn’t nearly as altruistic as they initially appeared. Most frustratingly, though, it has the power to negate arguments made by others who really are looking to campaign for artists’ rights. Swift’s hypocrisy has the power to undermine other voices (ones who might not be as loud as hers), and to take the focus off the matters that need to be addressed.

(Legal) Iceberg Ahead

Even as the fallout from the Apple-Swift roiling seems to have unfolded months ago, so too was there something else on the horizon for Apple which spelled a different kind of trouble: monopoly. As the FTC subsequently sent out subpoenas to competing music services following its initial probe of Apple Music, attention began to focus again on the tech giant in a way that is less than flattering. The “war” which Spotify started last July with Apple seemed to spread to other areas of the collective music business conscience. Apple Music may not have been “doomed” as Tidal was (or seemed to be) upon its initial release, but it does have new things to take care of that other services don’t need to account for.

Perhaps the irony of the whole situation is that Apple’s legal issues regarding Apple Music really only surfaced after the service was announced and released. Inasmuch as Apple would like to pretend that it has enough money to push its way through to any opinion and finding that would benefit it, it still must contend with U.S. legal code, not to mention its own Terms of Service. Power and money notwithstanding, the outcome of the said legal issues won’t resolve super quickly.

In the End

In the end, the whole Apple-Swift saga that encompassed the end of last summer really wasn’t what people reported it to be. It won’t (and hasn’t) really resulted in a super-massive victory for independents beyond some news attention, and it actually served to highlight some dirty little secrets in Swift’s own business affairs. I don’t know if the saga is concluding or just in a lull itself, but I don’t think this “picture-royalty” thing is going to go away anytime soon. Now that the dam has broken, I bet we’re going to see many more creatives (photographers for sure) speaking up over the next year or so about their business experiences with Swift, and I don’t think they will all be positive.

As for Apple, it continues to chug ahead after the release of Apple Music, albeit in the shadow of the new FTC probes. Though the service boasts a few interesting features, few of them can really be described as “new” or “earthshaking.” While ex-BBC host and DJ  Zane Lowe likely made U.K. listeners happy on the new Beats 1 radio program, for us in the States he was a somewhat irrelevant “exclusive” for Apple to tout (simply because most Americans didn’t know who he was). If Apple really wants to set itself apart in the long term (10+ years), it’s really going to need to do better than a few exclusive names. I suppose we’ll see, but for the time being, the Apple-Swift saga has left a sour taste in my mouth that won’t be going away any time soon.

The Hit List: 20 Demos, Albums and EP’s You Need to Hear Right Now — December 28, 2015

It’s the end of 2015, and the last Hit List of the year is here! I’ve enjoyed doing this so much, you can bet you’ll see a ton more lists as 2016 gears up next week. I figured since the year is just about over, I wanted to take a moment to grab a last slew of artists you might have missed, so all the people on the list this week are completely new to The Hit List. I’m loving the funk grooves and the pop-punk melody, and the fact that these artists span nearly every continent just makes it all rock harder. 2015 is just about over, but not yet, so give these awesome people a spin. See you all next year with some more sick music! ;D

1. Heard It All BeforeKiziah and The Kings – 2015

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2. Stay Single EPLike A Motorcycle – 2014

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3. SexsmithSexsmith – 2015

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4. Bored Up!Bumsy and The Moochers – 2015

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5. FearDrawing Blanks – 2015

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6. Room EPThe Loveless – 2014

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7. Half MeasuresCross – 2015

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8. Tell Lie VisionTell Lie Vision – 2015

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9. Washed, Dried, Brain FriedPowder for Pigeons – 2015

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10. Sonic MetanoiaThe Purple Curfew – 2014

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11. HARPSHARPS – 2014

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12. A Celestial StoundAltair’s Plight – 2015

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13. E.P.Neverhood – 2015

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14. BessyPurge – 2014

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15. Let Go Of It AllArrows Of Time – 2015

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16. Yearbook (EP)The Reckless Idols – 2015

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17. IntaceptaBandita – 2015

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18. CairosCairos – 2014

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19. A Glorious MessAVENAL – 2015

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20. Dust From SaturnDust From Saturn – 2015

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The Hit List: 20 Demos, Albums and EP’s You Need to Hear Right Now — November 30, 2015

It’s been a blusey few days and this week’s Hit List reflects that. I’m loving the deep vibes and crunchy riffs these artists have going, and it just seems to work well with the overcast November weather outside. There are a bunch of awesome Atlanta bands on here, as well as some cool up-and-coming artists from France, Canada, Australia, and the U.K. As always, albums are in no particular order, so give all these artists some love on this long Monday!  \m/

1. Welcome to the Whist Coast (EP)Whist – 2015

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2. MillipedesThe Head – 2015

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3. Us Kids – SingleChelsea Shag – 2015

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4. Blood LinesThese Little Kings – 2015

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5. SecretsThe Acorn People – 2014

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6. FacesSydney Eloise & The Palms – 2015

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7. Staring at the SunCherry White – 2015

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8. FiendThe Symphony Crack Orchestra – 2012

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9. Skies CollideSkies Collide – 2015

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10. Bottoms Up (EP)Old Pints – 2015

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11. StayStonewall Station – 2014

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12. Up Not DownThe Bright Black – 2015

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13. Medicine EPLucille’s Voodoo – 2015

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14. EgoblasterEgoblaster – 2015

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15. It’s Alright to See BlackI Shot Samo – 2015

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16. Sleepless NightsNever Count Me Out – 2015

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17. Death of a CynicOnly Forever – 2015

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18. Nothing LastsMigahawk – 2015

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19. FloraThe Assiniboine Forests – 2015

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20. WLTEWe Like The Echo – 2015

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The Hit List: 20 Demos, Albums and EP’s You Need to Hear Right Now — November 16, 2015

I’m dipping back into the coffers this week with a ton of albums that have made an appearance here that I just can’t stop listening to. There’s a great mix of geographies, from Australia and around Europe to the U.S. and Canada, proving that great independent music is popping up all over the place. Some of these albums just dropped, and some have been around for a little bit, but all of them will keep you rockin all week, so hit ’em up! I’m absolutely loving these artists, and I hear rumors that some of them are heading back into the studio soon. ;D As always, albums are in no particular order, so give all these albums a nice long listen!  \m/

1. OmensThe Furies – 2015

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2. MillipedesThe Head – 2015

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3. Welcome to the Whist Coast (EP)Whist – 2015

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4. Time and PlaceThe Playbook – 2013

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5. Francis Duffy & The KingpinsFrancis Duffy & The Kingpins – 2015

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6. Skies CollideSkies Collide – 2015

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7. For Machines EPLimb to Limb – 2015

For Machines EP

8. Scars EPForever Still – 2014

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9. Bring the A GameBeneath the Reef – 2015

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10. Xero EPXero – 2014

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11. The Black Album (EP)AggronympH – 2015

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12. Walking HomeGenevieve Walker – 2015

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13. AnchorsThe Wonderlife – 2015

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14. Paint the SkyTigerface – 2015

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15. Where It EndsThe Joy Arson – 2015

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16. The Devil Never ComesMolly Rhythm – 2014

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17. StasisLucid Fly – 2015

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18. Darkstone Crows EPDarkstone Crows – 2015

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19. RTP EPReady The Prince – 2015

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20. BedouinCoastal Break – 2015

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The Hit List: 20 Demos, Albums and EP’s You Need to Hear Right Now — November 2, 2015

Amazing new Hit List this week to go along with the dreary November weather outside. Like the clouds hanging low overhead, the indie-rock vibe is strong this time around, with a good mix of sub-genres and some adrenaline punches here and there. One of the thing I’m loving about this slew of artists is their experimentation with a variety of instruments (beyond the simple guitar/bass/drums setup), so listen for the instruments you don’t normally hear mixed in ;D As always, albums are in no particular order, so give all these people some love!  \m/

1. Love Songs for the Love-Impaired – Vices I Admire – 2014

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2. Perfect Little Princess – SingleFlying Kangaroo Alliance – 2015

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3. PerceptionsAll Comes Down – 2015

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4. Dollmination – The Inferno Doll – 2015

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5. Summer Suicide EPIt’s The Lipstick On Your Teeth – 2015

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6. VagabondA Reluctant Arrow – 2015

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7. OmensThe Furies – 2015

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8. Centaurus EPCentaurus – 2015

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9. In Bloom – yougetthewordswrong – 2015

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10. BurstVenus In Aries – 2015

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11. Tottie & the Wanderers – Tottie & the Wanderers – 2015

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12. Serene Calmidity – Royal Lips – 2015

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13. EPDriven Astray – 2015

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14. Horse – Animals in Suits – 2015

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15. EscapePaper Clips – 2015

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16. Falling Satellites – Dinky – 2015

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17. The Deaf KingMorrowville – 2015

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18. FootstepsThe Stereotypes – 2015

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19. Starcoast – Starcoast – 2015

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20. Populi EPPopuli -2015

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The Hit List: 20 Demos, Albums and EP’s You Need to Hear Right Now — October 26, 2015

I was in a decidedly metal mood while compiling this week’s list, and it definitely shows. From industrial to progressive to melodic and metalcore, the Hit List this week boasts a sick number of riff-masters absolutely slaying it! And yet, there’s more than metal here; as I was going through my industrial-metal groove this week, I found myself leaning even more into the industrial and darkwave vein, and it certainly shows. The list this week feels cold and metallic, and that’s just how it wins. It’s a dreary day here in Atlanta, and the cold, calculating feel is just right. Check these people out, they’re killin it in the best way. As always, albums are in no particular order, so make sure you get all the way down! \m/

1. Save Me EPForever Still – 2015

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2. EgressorThe Body Politic – 2015

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3. The Black Swan TheoryImber – 2015

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4. DollminationThe Inferno Doll – 2015

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5. DestinationNovembervägen – 2015

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6. RelentlessThe Nixon Rodeo – 2015

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7. Passengers – EPThe Fallen Prodigy – 2015

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8. The Lost [EP]The Beautiful Monument – 2015

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9. For the Dearly DepartedThe Funeral Portrait – 2014

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10. F-Units EPF-Units – 2015

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11. The Black Album (EP)AggronympH – 2015

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12. BurstVenus In Aries – 2015

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13. Dead Echo ParanoiaElectric Deathbeat – 2015

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14. Everything Is RelativeAll Around – 2015

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15. DarkwingDark Matter Noise – 2015

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16. Propagandadevknob – 2015

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17. Rock Is Dead and I Know Where the Bodies Are BuriedMarion Crane – 2014

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18. The Last Ones LeftSituations – 2015

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19. AugmentNoveaux – 2015

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20. The DomeHacking The Wave – 2015

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Real Music Journalists Are Biased Little Punks

A couple months ago I wrote a post entitled Why Music Journalism Bias Works—this is the deeper philosophy behind that notion.


Music Journalism Is a Messy Business

Music journalism is a messy business—it’s dirty, glamless, mostly thankless, and at times will make you tear your hair out. It’s a struggle every day, just like writing a novel or painting a masterwork. Only this novel forces you to deal with real people in real time in dingy little clubs for (most times) no money and little attention thereafter. Many times those people remember your name just long enough to ask you to write up a review of them, or to ask you to promote their newest EP. Sometimes, if you’re extremely lucky, you’ll find yourself crossing paths with people who you truly connect with—people who remember your name because they recognize that, like them, you’re an artist too. The deeper you get into this crazy world, the better you get at discerning these people from the ones who will only break your heart.

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Email from an artist

If you want to be “the enemy journalist” like the boy you saw in Almost Famous, go work for Rolling Stone or Vanity Fair and write about intra-band politics or drug problems. That’s not real music journalism—that’s pretentious drivel the mainstream sucks down with a straw when they want to feel raw and grungy for a moment on the subway. Real music journalism takes place in the dark hours after show-sets as you sip a warm, flat beer waiting for the band to finish loading their gear into the van and hoping they remember to come chat with you before taking off for the next gig. The artists who remember are the golden ones to keep close to your vest.

Being a music journalist is not the same as being a music critic. A critic is inherently critical, and most times that’s in a negative, non-constructive way. There isn’t a desire to see an artist rise above the noise and reach their greatest heights—most times it’s just about tearing apart their latest release. Journalists, however, are freer. They retain the criticism-arrow in their quiver, but use it to augment an argument for why the artist deserves some amount of attention. It’s not about the power trip—it’s about expressing the same artistic voice as the artist, simply in journalism form. Sometimes that voice even connects with other writers, and you find yourself on the other end of the interview!

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Email I got from another music blogger when I was writing back in 2011

I’ve never been seated in a cushy booth with a comped drink, and I’ve only been guest-listed once (and even that was for a minor $10 ticket). I’ve been plagiarized and at times conveniently “forgotten” once an artist feels they’ve reached an “adequate level” of popularity. You learn to shake it off and focus on the real mission: get that next piece written and out to the world.

You Better Have a Late-Night Preference and Pair of Comfortable Shoes

If you want to be a music journalist—a real music journalist—you better have a late-night preference and a pair of comfortable shoes. Most times, the most intriguing things happen at the end of the night, when the show is over, and the other fans stream out to go home and sleep. And you’re still there with that warm beer in your hand, the bottle empty except for the little bit at the bottom, waiting to catch the merch person as they pack up the table. “I’m a music journalist/radio DJ, and I’d love to grab the band for a quick minute if that’s cool,” you say, hoping that the extra hour of waiting in the dive bar wasn’t for nothing.

Me with: Those Mockingbirds (top left), Bloody Diamonds (top right), The Steppin Stones (bottom left), Sunshine & Bullets (bottom left)

Me with: Those Mockingbirds (top left), Bloody Diamonds (top right), The Steppin Stones (bottom left), Sunshine & Bullets (bottom left)

In fact, the most rewarding, productive nights are when the band is real enough where their merch person isn’t an employee, but just a friend who agreed to do a  favor for a night. Those are usually the bands (artists) who you can catch as they move offstage and then sit behind their tables, happily selling $10 shirts and $1 stickers. Those are the singers, guitarists, drummers who you can grab. “Hey, I loved your set. I’d love to do a quick interview for my music blog if you’re down with that.” Hold your breath, but on the outside act nonchalant, like it’s whatever to you anyway. Then that awesome sentence: “Sure, let me grab the members and we’ll meet you outside in a minute.” Success!

Twenty minutes later you’re on your way home, your iPhone camera roll richer for the funny, quirky little interview that it now holds. You’re already thinking about when you can upload it to your blog and YouTube channel, and have promised to tag the band on Twitter and Facebook so they can promote it on their end.

Those are the nights you feel badass, the nights you let your creative self breathe.

As the Relationships Grow, So Does a Mutual Loyalty

The upshot of it all is that many of the artists you have brushes with move in and out of your life without much of a blip. But there are also those who seem to latch onto your attention, and as your fascination with them grows, so does your loyalty to them, and so does their loyalty to you. You’re not “the enemy” who they want to stay away from; you’re the valued source who they tap for advice about their new direction, the recipient of unmastered mixes and singles before they’re ready for anyone else, and of the album’s first copies when it finally drops. Sometimes, if you’re really lucky, you might find yourself mentioned in the liner notes (one of the biggest rushes of my life to this day).

Mastered copy of an artist's new EP I received yesterday, 2 months before official release

Mastered copy of an artist’s new EP I received a couple weeks ago, 2 months before official release

If you want to write unbiased pieces, write about politics, economics, or world affairs, not music and not art. The very bias they tell you to do away with in journalism school and college writing classes is the very thing you should never lose. It’s your unique, creative voice that separates you from the professional critic whose “unbiased” approach is so cold and metallic it lacks any sense of joy in the music. It’s critical for the sake of mere criticism; real music journalists know this is a cop-out. Real music journalists are biased little punks who live and die by the artists they swear loyalty to. Their fealty is palpable and brusque, and immune to irrelevant blurbs written for soundbite effect and nothing else.

If you want to be lauded, go write a bestseller. This is not for the faint of heart. It’s for the fans who are so fanatical that music consumption for them is an addiction to be nurtured and enabled. It’s for the artists, the creatives, the music die-hards who simply strum better with a pen than with a guitar pick.

The Hit List: 20 Demos, Albums and EP’s You Need to Hear Right Now — October 19, 2015

I’m stoked for the list this week; there are some amazing new albums that dropped in just the past couple of weeks. This week it’s a healthy dose of alternative-rock spread over some more eclectic genres like jazz-pop, indie-folk, rockabilly punk, electro-rock. Some of these artists are so new they don’t even have more than a few hundred fans yet, but I expect that to change for sure ;D. Albums and EP’s like this are why I love living to the left of the dial, these people are sick! As always, albums are in no particular order so make it all the way through!

1. Burning Down EPNo Damn Good – 2015

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2. Runaways EPPermission to Panic – 2015

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3. Stories EPIn Codes – 2015

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4. 2 Song DemoDiablogato – 2014

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5. Perfect Little Princess – SingleFlying Kangaroo Alliance – 2015

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6. The Way BackThe Merry Go Rounds – 2015

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7. BRAINCOATSBRAINCOATS – 2015

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8. Summer Fits EPSummer Fits – 2015

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9. The Girl Who Stole My Boyfriend – SingleMinds Without Purpose – 2015

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10. Centaurus – EPCentaurus – 2015

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11. Dreadful WorldDust Idols – 2015

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12. U.N.I.O.N.U.N.I.O.N. – 2015

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13. NeverlessNeverless – 2015

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14. Tottie & the WanderersTottie & the Wanderers – 2015

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15. InsideEvenstate – 2015

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16. Just Like July – SinglePelicans and Their Allies – 2015

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17. New Cardinals – EPNew Cardinals – 2015

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18. Songs of GlassVitrea – 2014

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19. Nothing EPHeart-Shaped Scars – 2015

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20. Embark EPDyadic – 2015

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The Hit List: 20 Demos, Albums and EP’s You Need to Hear Right Now — October 12, 2015

It’s an awesome week for the  Hit List; a bunch of awesome new releases (this week and even today!) and some others that are fast becoming addictive to me. This time around, crunchy blues-rock mixes with snotty pop-punk, ambient electro, and feel-good ska. The independent universe keeps on expanding, so check these people out. As always, albums are in no particular order; make it to the bottom, or you’ll undoubtedly be missing out on something sick!

1. RelentlessThe Nixon Rodeo – 2015

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2. BRAINCOATSBRAINCOATS – 2015

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3. BootleggerBlack Ally – 2015

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4. The DemosIt’s Butter – 2015

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5. At The BricksAt The Bricks – 2015

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6. MirrorsA Light Divided – 2015

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7. Get FreeThe Freemen – 2015

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8. Stop & Watch EPArora – 2015

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9. Sick Like ThisBeth Blade and the Beautiful Disasters – 2015

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10. Darkstone Crows EPDarkstone Crows – 2015

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11. RTP EPReady The Prince – 2015

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12. Triangulum MechanismSunshine & Bullets – 2014

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13. Bareknuckle LoveFreya Wilcox & The Howl – 2015

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14. Xero EPXero – 2014

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15. StasisLucid Fly – 2015

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16. The Fair-Weather FriendSaint Savage – 2015

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17. Commit The ActCommon Static – 2015

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18. Sleeping With Ghosts – Taking October – 2015

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19. EgoblasterEgoblaster – 2015

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20. EP5 Gallons – 2015

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The Hit List: 20 Demos, Albums and EP’s You Need to Hear Right Now — October 5, 2015

Another week, another great list of artists that need to be on your rotation for the coming days. It’s getting to the point where I need to start making lists weeks in advance because of the sheer number of artists who deserve a mention. Whereas last week we killed it heavily to ska and reggae, this time around I’m diggin hard on a bunch of electro and punk tunes that will turn your world upside down. Albums are in no particular order, so make it all the way to the bottom; I guarantee you don’t want to miss out on any of these people!

1. Where Has the Music Gone?General Tso’s Fury – 2015

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2. FluxBrighter Than a Thousand Suns – 2014

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3. These Creatures We FearPink Noise Party – 2015

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4. Life Is Great?!?Thought Transfer – 2015

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5. Stories EPIn Codes – 2015

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6. Gloomy TunesWeakend Friends – 2015

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7. Runaways EPPermission to Panic – 2015

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8. Summer Suicide EPIt’s The Lipstick On Your Teeth – 2015

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9. StaticStatic – 2015

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10. A Mortal’s TearInfy -2015

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11. Ginger and the SnapsGinger and the Snaps – 2015

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12. Nuclear Minds EPNuclear Minds – 2015

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13. Art CapitalArt Capital – 2015

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14. Revery EPRevery – 2015

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15. Burning Down EPNo Damn Good – 2015

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16. The Whole World Has No ClothesLow Swans – 2014

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17. Late Night in the Lab – The Blindfolds – 2015

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18. Pressure EPHawklion – 2015

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19. AdhesiveLizard Depression – 2015

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20. Astray EP – Fogscape – 2014

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