As in Fast Food Chains, Big Box Stores anything that thrives by creating a culture homogeneity. I don’t want to give anyone the impression that I don’t patronize establishments like these, I do, but I also try to keep them in perspective. I also like balance, so I often try to offset the national or international with the local or regional.

I often wonder if anyone who is in business running a local restaurant or store gives a lot of thought to how they can better emulate Walmart, McDonald’s or Starbucks. I mean I’m sure many would like to emulate the monetary success, but what about the taste or feel? Would it be complimentary to the local hamburger entrepreneur to suggest that if maybe the signature sandwich could just be a little bit more like a Big Mac then, success would reign down? The whole reason that you patronize the local hamburger stand is so that you can get the most unlike McDonald’s experience possible. It may cost more, but the experience, the difference is worth the cost increase because you know that you can only go to that particular place to get it.

So why does it seems that when it comes to music many are obsessed with being a part of the chain. Artist and fan alike. “You’re not signed” “I’m not signed” I often as the question “Signed to what?” what does that mean, especially in this day and age. Seriously, what does that mean? Further, if you are on your own and can make your own music your own way why do you choose to make the musical equivalent of Big Macs? Aren’t there enough Big Mac music makers out there already? Same question on the fan side of the table, why are some of you requesting or seeking out Big Macs from your local neighborhood artist? Wouldn’t it be nice if they could document the culture of your area, talk about the stories and people that you know?

These are just a few question that I happened to be pondering today. I’m sure there will be more soon, hopefully we can all participate in breaking the chains…

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.