Die, Record Industry, Die!



Categories: Uncategorized

written for the pho list

I think that those of you who have known me and my progression of

thoughts throughout this whole insane MP3 thing so far have know that

I’ve *tried* to keep a semblance of perspective on things. But…

For the first time in my life, I find myself listening to the radio on

a regular basis. My car, a beautifully junky 1989 Mazda 626 4-door,

has a really junky tape deck and I haven’t felt like putting in an

MP3+speaker system that would probably cost twice as much as the

car. So I just listen to the radio, which is an interesting exercise.

This is *wildly* cliche, but GOOD GOD DOES COMMERCIAL RADIO SUCK. We

are spoonfed the same 100 songs in three different formats on most of

the stations. No music is from local artists. All is professionally

engineered, recorded, and mastered, gone over with the greatest care

to make sure that every last harmonic is just present enough for a

pleasant synthesis.

While I am, like most other fools, appreciative of the quality of such

music, I find it oppressive, too.

Because *I* can’t make music like that, and never will be able to; maybe that’s not such a big deal in and of itself, but moreover, nobody who I even know and consider quite musical will be able to produce work like that. Hell, the artists themselves often jest that they don’t sound that good. And they don’t; it’s *studio sound*.

The result of the studio engineering of the music that we listen to

day-in, day-out is a music-oppressive culture. People don’t sing,

except perhaps on a very invigorating day a cautious tune in the

shower and maybe to hum along with the radio. When is the last time

you heard people, just on the job, walking down the street, or in a

restaurant, just burst out with song?

Why aren’t there drinking songs in the US? Why are karoke bars

generally unpopular with non-Asian Americans? Does this say anything,

that we can’t even bring ourselves to sing when we’re drunk?

Why? Because we’re embarassed. Relative to the engineered sound of

perfection, we *all* sound like squawking little pre-pubescent

birds. So we keep our trap shut.

And the consequence is that the “music industry” has done just what it

is; it has industrialized music. It has centralized music and put a

meter on its distribution and control, relabelling the songs of our

hearts as “intellectual property” and demanding tribute for their



And it really is times like this that I want to scream DIE, RECORD

LABELS, DIE! Burn the studios(*), the radio stations, fire the

recording engineers, destroy Tower Records and Virgin Megastore, and

grab those mikes and put them where they belong: in *everyone’s*


Does it occur to anyone that music wasn’t *invented* and isn’t just

simply some idea whose patent has expired and doesn’t just happen to

be a freely-licensed medium for the creation of entertainment product?

It comes from the *soul*. It wasn’t designed to be “productized” – the

“productization” of human existance is the most profoundly awful

result of modern, over-aggressive capitalism.

And so “fine,” I say, “go out of business!”

I would love to support a company that, for the above reasons, is just

outright “Look, here we are; we’re here to destroy the recording


I don’t *want* an Internet medium to forge new multiplatinum

artists. I would be delighted if no artist ever went platinum again,

because that would have *so* many positive implications on American

culture. I want an Internet medium where I won’t get looked at funny

if *I* want to sing, to make the music that resides in *my* soul and

echo it to whomever gives a whoop (maybe four people, if I get lucky);

furthermore, where such things are not only permitted, not only not

jeered at, but are actively supported and encouraged.

We have forgot, as a nation, that our goal is not to pursue the

industrialization and commoditization of our existance; to make a

dollar out of every last ounce of soul, of passion that yet remains

within us. Because when you commoditize the soul, you destroy it. And

there’s so little that is left of the collective American soul that it

should be declared an endangered and protected species and treated as

such. But lo, every time one stands up to defend it, should it counter

*profit* you are portrayed as perhaps an evil, clueless Marxist

revolutionary, or just a punk kid out to destroy shit and come up with

an excuse for it later…

…but I feel I’m getting inspired to premeditate upon this murder —

not of people, but of a structure — to chew over how I can do a

little two cents to bring it down.

Because I just don’t see a compatibility between the recording

industry’s survival and the survival of the collective American soul.

Don’t Tread On Me.

(Why didn’t we keep such a *bad ass* motto for our nation?)