The inspiration for this editorial can be found here. If you are interested in current music industry trends and quite often lively debate I would suggest you subscribe to the Lefsetz Letter.

Whereas the blog post was the inspiration there was a reply to the discussion thread with the following link that really convicted me to say something.

This is 2010 not 1997. So the thought that someone would charge money to listen to a demo so that you might have the privilege to be signed to a “major” label is… I’ll let you insert your own adjective. I understand that everyone has a hustle, I get that, but it doesn’t mean that I have to agree nor does it meant that I need to be silent either.

Let’s take music out the equation for a minute. Now granted being signed to a label is not necessarily the classic employee/employer relationship(and to go into full detail about what the relationship really is beyond this post. they certainly don’t provide benefits) but let’s look at another employer who let’s just say for comparison sake doesn’t provide benefits either.

So instead of A&R let’s call the person the assistant night manager and let’s say they work for some sort of mart and you believe that you have the necessary talent to work for them. How much are you going to pay the night manager to evaluate your application for employment? $5? $10? $200? If someone from the mart asked you to pay for such a service I would bet that a few of you would begin your response with a phrase that goes like this.

I’m not anti-industry, I’m anti-ignorant and “services” like these are ignorant. In fact I just happen to be in the middle of reading this and I’m not trying to canonize the legacy of Ahmet Ertegun but Atlantic Records was built upon his and his subsequent partners love of music. Period. When they went out in the early days to discover talent, that’s exactly what they did on their own dime, on their own time. I don’t care what type of job you have we are all busy, all of us. If you don’t have the time to listen to something you don’t have the time to listen to it. But most importantly to the aspiring artists why are some of you still seeking approval from a system that now strives to not look major, but independent and D.I.Y.?

As Lefsetz often states “distribution is flat…” it really is you don’t really need a major anymore. Sure for some the marketing dollars help, but what are you really conceding when you sign that deal? You have to ask yourself what is really the goal of all this? Are trying to be famous or are your trying to make music that will create a legacy and be played for decades to come? Ahmet Ertegun was able to do that. He could have stopped making records after the 1950’s and his legacy would have been intact.

If you want to be famous in this 2.5 world there are a myriad of people you can follow, friend or subscribe to. Hell, for the next 45 secs. you can follow this guy.

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.