Check out EMA ‘s next-level digital zine which provides discussion on the transition one makes from being a private artist to a public one, and therefore becoming brand, in the age of the internet:
"I also wanted to take aim at this myth of self-promotion
translating into real US dollars (which is subtly encouraged by
big data), as if we as content creators just kept aggressively
branding ourselves, kept racking up followers and views and
likes into the millions then maybe we could get out of this
artist/content creators economic ghetto. And it’s mostly a fucking
There are some who make it out and make a living, but their
percentage is puny compared with the amount of revenue pulled
in by the platform managers (Facebook, youtube, google, etc).
You see, the content is free, but your attention is monetized.”
That last post I wrote came out a little more neg than usual, I think I said fuck like five times. I was gonna delete it but it’s already on the internet and therefore exists eternally so whatever.
Today I thought I would write about something I am overwhelmingly happy about: Tanya Tagaq has won the Polaris Prize in Canada!
I have been following her since she collaborated with Bjork a few years ago on Medulla (one of my favourite records of all time) and am constantly inspired by her brave music, art and words. Yesterday at the gala she dedicated her award to the missing + murdered indigenous women of canada (who our fed gov refuses to awknowledge) and also encouraged everyone to EAT and WEAR seals (as is traditional practice where she is fromin Nunavut, it is a sustainable source of food and clothing that the Inuit have relied on for centuries, and are now receiving social criticism about it). The indigenous people are going to save our planet and so I encourage you to take in her words and her sounds because they are the past and they are the future simultaneously.Most importantly, Animism is huge record so go listen!!
Yesterday we played FOLSOM FAIR in san francisco and it was a lovely time. The lineup was 100% friends and the crowd was beautiful and wild.
After the show a man in a button down shirt came up to me and said some weird stuff. He looked like he worked on Wall St. and was taking a day off, or lived in a brand new condo in the area that was built on the backs of long-term residents being forcibly evicted from their moderately priced homes. He said in a commanding voice:
"Who tells you when you don’t do a good job?"
I was kinda freaked out and had to make sure I heard him correctly. “What?”
"Who tells you when you don’t do a good job?" He said again. "Or does everyone just kiss your ass."
I started to back away when he continued: “Well I thought you did a great job, your performance was good, but stay off the keys.”
"Seriously, don’t play keyboards, your not good at it." And he just walked away.
I think the most enraging the about it was that he didn’t even care to hear my response, he just wanted to assert his asshole-opinion and exit the situation feeling powerful. Fuck that guy. And for the record I’m actually very good at playing piano, sometimes when your monitors are fucked and you can’t hear the rest of your band you fall out of time, which is what happened yesterday. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to explain the logistics of stage sound to this misogynist fuck head.
I played one of these puppies today, they only made 200…droool
Check out the death of disco, xo Maya
As well as writing a new record I am brainstorming ways of how to save independent musicians from the poverty that awaits them if streaming services take over as the primary way in which people consume music. Because check this out:
Last year Spotify released data that states niche indie artists currently make $3300 (550 000 plays) on the site per month which doesn’t really sound so bad. BUT - this isn’t like 1 month forever, this is probably the month that your record comes out, the month that you would usually sell the most records and when people are thinking about you and talking about you the most. So in actuality its probably $3300 the first month, $2500 the next month, and then in one year roughly $300 a month if your lucky that you have to split with your label.
Whereas if 275 people buy your record for $12 you make the same amount of money in in the first month. If 25 000 people buy your record in one year, you make $300 000 (to split with your label). Now THAT is something you can live off (of course taking into account marketing costs, video costs, recording costs, touring costs, its easy to see 25,000 records are really hard to sell and not even that many in the long run)
I know its redundant to be like “FUCK SPOTIFY BUY RECORDS” and this is why I’m trying to formulate a new way for people to hear music thats better for everyone and doesn’t give some stupid corporate middle man money when you could just go to piratebay.com and download the songs for free anyways, which I am actually more ok with. Piracy is way better than corporate controlled fake artist support.
To end this note, a quote from Koussevitzky about composers needing a source for viable income at the turn of the century. ie - this isn’t new:
"The appeal for the composer must embrace the whole musical world, reach the musician in every field, the music lover and sponsor, far and wide. It will be a timely and major step forward.
In this great country alone there are many thousands of performing musicians. A small annual donation of $1 each will bring in a substantial permanent income and, with the joint co-operation and contributions of other groups and organizations, will go a long way toward establishing a composers’ fund… Whatever action we take now will lay the groundwork for the impelling and just cause of the composer. Embracing that cause, we shall ascend to new heights, we shall gain in confidence, in self-esteem and in fortitude.”