Why Self-Published Music Sux

This (satirical and comic) piece, by Zoe Winters, originally appeared on Publishing Renaissance on 6/2/09.

I feel the need to talk about this troubling issue I’ve seen cropping up. It’s self published music. You see, Britney Spears may not be the height of all musical talent, but there is a certain level of quality we know we get from her music since it’s produced by a big record label. It doesn’t matter if you know who her record label is, it’s just important that you know she has one. This means she has been vetted.

Other people have put their money into her, and so therefore we can trust her far more than we can trust a garage band we’ve never heard of. Why doesn’t the garage band have a recording contract? There is SO much music out there and so much of it self published now, that we have all this crap we have to wade through. I mean do you seriously seriously think that people have the time to listen to a full song before deciding whether or not to buy your self-produced CD?

And with all the vanity self-publishing music companies out there that allow people to put their music up, well it’s a problem. Youtube anyone? Holy crap what were people thinking there? And now even iTunes just lets any joker who thinks he can write and play music to just… put it out there for SALE!!!! OMG

And here we, the unsuspecting customer are supposed to just trust it. There are even some bands who go so far as to make up their own record label. And that’s lying. Because you’re not allowed to start a business with a business name. Even though it’s perfectly legal. If you start a flower shop and you name it Awesome Flowers instead of your name, then that’s lying. Cause we think it’s a real legitimate flower shop instead of just someone who started their own business. If I don’t know who your recording contract came through, I can’t trust your music. I can’t just test it out cause that would be too hard to do. Why should a consumer be responsible for checking out a product before purchase?

Now, I will admit that it’s become increasingly difficult to get a BIG recording label (even though that’s the ideal we ALL strive for and no one has any other goals or dreams), and so sometimes it’s a little bit respectable if you have a small recording label, but the most important thing is… you can’t be your own label. You need to get a neighbor down the street or something to start a record label and sign you. Then it’s legit see? Cause a different person from you is running the show and paying the bills. If you’re the one paying the bills and investing everything in your own work, how can we trust you? How do we know you aren’t just self-absorbed and delusional? I know other businesses work on this initiative principle, but music isn’t the same. Music is different, just trust me on this one.

Self published music just isn’t the same as big record label music. And no matter what any of these “indie musicians” (like who do they think they are calling themselves that? Like we can’t see through that) say, it’s just always going to be this way. They don’t have respect, they’re never getting respect, so they may as well give it up now.

And do you know why they aren’t getting respect? Because most of them suck, and most of them think they automatically deserve respect, just for creating something and working hard to package and distribute it. Well get in line buddy! I am making my music the legit way, and you should too.

Who ever heard of a world or culture where a mega-corporation didn’t first approve all artistic expression and turn it into a mass consumer commodity? That’s how shit should be done, dude. And if you don’t agree, well, you’re just delusional. This country was NOT founded on any kind of dreams of independence or doing your own thing. We are all supposed to follow. So get back in that line and follow. Some day if you’re good enough, a big record label will smile down upon you and make all your dreams come true. And then we’ll respect you, because you will have done something respectable. Instead of this fake self publishing music stuff you’re doing now.

Read the rest of the article on Publishing Renaissance.