We’ve ended up having loads of conversations with people in the last few days through wierdly that all end up on the same topic… how its impossible to be an independent Christian artist. Well… maybe not impossible… but its like climbing a travellator thats going very fast in the opposite direction maybe. Now’s the time of year we need to get festival bookings. While we love managing ourselves and having the freedom to direct our own work it does mean we have to do all of that side of the work ourselves… What we’re annoyingly coming up against is that artists on labels get all the slots and its impossible to get a foot in of you’re not coming from one of the big manufacturers… Its a bit like what happens with X factor and the Christmas no 1… which I don’t think is all that right and certainly shouldn’t happen in the Christian music industry should it? We’ve just spent the day with the boys from Myspoon… who’ve ‘officially’ split up now but we’re leading worship with those guys at Spring Harvest next month so had a practice day for that. Having established themselves as one of the only independent acts to have pushed through that rubbish ceiling they were telling us about how they’d tried to get after hours slots at various conferences and were never allowed them even though there was demand for them from fans. One conference they were given one slot and packed out a venue with over 800 people while another artist was given 3 different slots (being signed to the right label) even though they only pulled a crowd of 25 to each venue. How is that fair?
We’ve been waiting on a conference for a slot and have recently found out we can’t have one as they’ve now been taken up by the label artists. When you look at who’s taken those slots its somewhat frustrating that 4 of them are splitting up and finishing this year and one of which finished over 6 months ago… but they are pulling back old members to use the slot to probably shift a load of left over albums from the warehouse… Another of the artists has been launched in the last 3 months, has about 3 songs to perform and no fan base… but being launched by a nice well known label means the right contacts to walk into big opportunities… minimum work required. Whatever happened to the ethos of grafting and having integrity? I don’t get how the Christian music industry gets away with such unethical values.
Grrrrr…anyway… lovely Myspoon boys are trying to help us get a good slot at another conference… not because they have label loyalty to us but because they know us and they know what we do… and are legitimately reccomending us… THATS what it should be all about. And yes this post may be a bit angry and bitter but I’m not really… when it comes down to it I wouldn’t trade having integrity over opportunity. I just think its sad that in an industry that should be teaching good values (and having spent the last 3 months touring and challenging young people that the stuff they get fed from the media is a lot of fake rubbish) The prime slots taken up in Christian conference gigs are taken up by artists that have been chosen and launched in undercover Simon Cowell style, don’t write any of their own music and worst of all MIME… How is that any different to airbrushing, cosmetic surgery and media manipulation exactly?! I think I’m starting to feel as passionately about this as my hatred of McDonalds.
Disclaimer: A lot of these people involved are very nice and I have no beef with any individuals.. I have what is called ‘rage against the machine’.
Tired rant after a very long and busy week over.