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  Bluesbunny Rant No 1 - State of Independence

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So what is the state of independent music today? On the surface at least independent music is disappearing beneath a sea of blandness and mediocrity. It is seemingly unaware that it is being lured by the sirens of commercial TV and radio on to the rocks of short lived fame.

Today the music industry is more obsessed than ever with image over content and creativity. As for originality, don't even think about it. You have to look right. Male or female it makes no difference. It's all just packaging for the commodity that is being sold.

However, as we've been discovering, there is a lot of good music out there. It's finding it that's the problem. There's just too much 'clutter' for enough people to notice what's on offer. Hence it stays submerged in its own hidden world. Unseen and unheard by the eyes and ears of the very people they are so keen to reach. The independent music that was once a breath of fresh air is now becoming becalmed, and where it once challenged the majors it is now frequently owned by them. And, quite literally, dances to their tune.

So how did we get to this sorry state of affairs? Years ago it was virtually impossible to get noticed without a record deal. However all that gradually changed. Firstly with indie labels, and then with the advent of technology. Performers had discovered another way. Initially independent artists and labels were a rarity; they stood out from the crowd and therefore got noticed. Eventually however as technology advanced still further, and more importantly became even cheaper, more and more artists took the independent route. The result? Gridlock. You could barely move without tripping over another independent band or singer.

By now the music industry that had once been taken by surprise had regrouped. We had come full circle. Where the aspiring artist once needed a deal just to get a record out, now it had become a case of needing it merely to get noticed. The difference is that this now takes the form of the all pervasive and all conquering TV 'reality' show.

When Robert Johnson met the devil at the crossroads (allegedly) he got the blues and legendary status. We suspect today's potential music stars still meet the devil, however it is now a sellers market. All they get now is a spot on a reality show, and the proverbial lousy T-shirt. If you really must sell your soul, then at least hold out for a good price.

We'd love to know what you think. How do we work together to get good, original and innovative music the attention it deserves? You decide! Contact the Bluesbunny


Author: Angry Bluesbunny
Date: May 8 2007