Desperate living- driving me mad
Writings on the wall
Crushed all our hopes and the dreams we once had
Just to watch them fall
Tooth And Nail from Dokken
When your backs to the wall and you have nothing left, you either fight to reach the next step or you give up.
Seriously, what kind of life is it, when someone has so much power to make or break a career. But that is exactly what the recording business came to be. A business with gatekeepers who could crush dreams or make dreams. Like “Chainsaw Charlie” in “The Crimson Idol”. Or like “Mr Recordman”.
If not for the money and not for the show
Are you here for me or here for the dough
Mr. Recordman, do you really give a damn?
Mr Recordman from Ugly Kid Joe
Is the label there for the artist if the money stops coming in and the shows sell a little bit less. White Lion were given a million dollars to record “Mane Attraction”. It came out and it didn’t set the world on fire. Grunge was rising in the distant and suddenly, Vito and Mike couldn’t even get in touch with their A&R rep. When the band broke up, no one from the label called them or even tried to make contact with them. It’s like they never existed. But for a brief period when “Pride” was selling thousands of units weekly, Mr Recordman was there, caring for the band.
You’ll never see a ray of daylight
So far in debt you’re struggling to survive
Dance In The Rain by Megadeth
And so many people define themselves by their status in society. Big house plus expensive car plus management job = powerful status. But, this perceived status is all in their head. No one really cares what you have or what job your do or how long you spend at work.
Why should they?
Life is short and the majority of people are too busy living. But others can’t turn away from it, because they are surrounded by people moving up. And they feel like they need to get on the same ride. So they borrow and then they borrow a little bit more. Because they believe when they get to the top they will repay it all.
The ride to the top is the reason why so many people started to play music.
MTV took the artists from the magazines and brought them into our lounge rooms. And it was free. Yeah I know there was radio, but if people wanted information on artists, they had to buy magazines or their albums. Suddenly, their TV set was doing it all for them. The reason why blank VHS cassettes sold like crazy was music and movies. People dubbed/taped their favourite clips from TV or via VHS to VHS.
And when kids have access to content, they have desires to be like their new found heroes on the TV screen. It looked easy. Learn to play an instrument, write a song and you’ll be signed and become famous.
The truth of it all is this.
If you are working for a corporation, you are building someone else’s dream. The corporation is benefiting from your hard work and the hard work of the rest. Artists have made the record labels into monoliths because they signed away their copyrights for a record deal.
And the internet was meant to level the playing field. Instead it’s made the labels even more powerful as they use the works of artists to negotiate large licensing deals.
What kind of journey do you want to the top?