Major Labels Are Not So Major

Here’s a random rant I wrote a while back:

I often hear artists say they must sign to a major label to gain commercial success in the music world. Supposedly with such corporate support they are able to reach more people with their music, people they would otherwise never reach. Perhaps, this is true. Of course, this would not be the punk rock way of going about things. Signing to a major label is a sign of selling out to most fans of the punk orientation. By the early 1990s, we witnessed various underground (many of the punk variety) artists make the leap from independent labels to major labels. Some achieved the commercial and artistic success they sought, others saw little to no change in album sales or fan base. In fact, several groups have abandoned or have been dropped by their major labels and have made a return to the underground. What really fascinates me is that some of these bands have sold more records on their independent labels than on their major counterparts. This makes one question the earlier assumption that higher status means higher chart positions. There are numerous examples that disprove this theory. Sonic Youth fans recently enjoyed the release of their latest, sixteenth studio album, The Eternal. This album is particularly significant because it marks the first time in twenty years the experimental rockers released a studio album under an independent label; this time it was the prominent and well-respected, Matador Records. Previously they were signed to Geffen Records, a major label. But, naturally, none of this matters because it does not matter if you sell a hundred records or a million or whatever. What matters is if you have integrity in your art and that you are enjoying yourself. Then again, various miserable fucks have made fantastic music over the years, so I guess you don’t even have to enjoy yourself, but you deserve it!

Thank God, I managed to write X amount of words on the music industry without using the bland term “indie,” until now. I hate that word (even though I am guilty of its use) it’s too vague. If anyone has an actual definition for said word. Pitch it to me. For now, keep on rocking (independently) in the free world.

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