Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Dichotomy of the Music Industry

This documentary "Adult Rappers" looks interesting although it seems marred by the palpable disappointment emanating from these guys voices. I feel like I can see the hurt in their eyes, the faint hint of pain that arises from within when a dream is deferred. So of course I'm intrigued.

The music industry has come into my focus for a few reasons: I have many friends in the industry, a central character in my forthcoming novel dabbles in it, and I have a simultaneous curiosity and skepticism of the infamous Illuminati.

Here is my take on the upsides of being a well-known artist in the music industry:
  • The exhilarating feeling of stepping foot onstage and doing what you love for hundreds of people who came out to see just you.
  • Free swag.
  • “Success is the best revenge.” Being able to finally say “Fuck you, I made it” to all the people who doubted you.
  • Money like you've never seen before! [Sure you can get screwed like TLC, but generally, the cash is better than any gotdam 9-5 minimum wage job]
  • If your friends are also creative or in the industry, you can bring them along. A crew so to speak.
  • Going on tour, a different city every night.
  • Meeting and schmoozing with the best of the best.
  • Award shows and potentially being nominated for your work.
  • Accolades upon accolades.
  • Groupies upon groupies [I don't know if female artists care about this all that much].
  • Collaborations that you only dreamed of in the past.
  • Getting to meet your idols.
  • Seeing the world and traveling all over.
  • The ill, non-stop PARTIES.
  • Did I mention the money?
All of the aforementioned reasons are strong motivations for wanting fame and success. But as with everything, there are downsides:
  • The grueling schedule.
  • The non-stop traveling.
  • The lack of personal time [Do artists have time to shower and eat 3 square meals everyday?]
  • The crushing loneliness and isolation.
  • Lots of talking to strangers [interviews etc].
  • The ever persistent slaying in the media [I think the media very quickly decides whether they like you or not, and then for the rest of your career, they ride on that].
  • The more money you make, the more money you spend.
  • The lack of privacy [not only do you have the public up your ass, but you are constantly surrounded by managers, assistants, and the people who work for you. Choose them wisely].
  • The [unfair] pressure of being a "role model".
  • The susceptibility to heavy drug use and the rampant mental and emotional instability in your peers.
  • The "noise" never stops.
  • Gold diggers.
  • The insulation and the sinking reality that you can't really trust anyone anymore [Why? You have now become someone who has too much to lose, someone who others can take plenty from.] 
  • The Illuminati [?]
I read a GQ interview about Justin Bieber, and the writer details just how secluded the 18 year old's life is, and just how vigilant his team of a dozen or so people are. He has little interaction with the outside world, and can't do simple things like eat at a restaurant or take a stroll at the nearby mall. From this we can gather two things; teenage girls are crazy as hell and the music industry is an entirely different world. Sure, you might be saying “I'd give up my freedom for the money that Bieber has!” but think about that again. You just put a price on something that wasn't meant to be bought. And let's be real here. Justin Bieber's team isn't gonna let him get out of line, because him doing so would fuck up countless paychecks. Basically, he cannot afford to fuck up and that's a lot of pressure. Their livelihood depends on this... this kid. In what other world would that be okay?

I think the best thing to do when you make it big is do what Gaga has done. She brought her talented friends with her to the top, and only works with them and other celebs that she respects. She fights for what she believes in [“My record label didn't want to put out that photo that's my album cover [The Fame Monster], with the brown hair... I fought and fought and fought, and I actually ended up having two covers”] and she makes her record label so much gotdam money that they pretty much grant her total creative control. She was relentless and her video “Marry the Night” is a visual display of how committed she truly was. Or you can just go it alone, like 50 Cent or Jay-Z.

Every industry has its good and bad sides, and the music industry is one particularly nasty little devil. But I understand that when you truly crave something, when you yearn for it more than anything else in the world... the only word you can hear in your head is:


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Be succinct and keep it classy :)