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So you want to be in a rock band?: Top 20 sins committed against musicians

Rose Cora Perry | Interrobang | Lifestyles | April 14th, 2008

First off, I'd like to thank all of you for sticking with me for another year. I hope that reading my column proved to be an educational and insightful experience. Although I bitch a great deal about the music industry, there are a lot of amazing people out there working on all aspects of the business to make it more artist-friendly. I urge you to follow your dreams if it's music that is truly in your heart, I simply hope that my column has been able to provide you with a more realistic perspective in terms of what you will encounter.

As you follow your path, and begin to gain success, you'll learn soon that it's really a love/hate relationship, and it's definitely not as glamourous as the media would like you to believe. Irrespective of this, there's something about rocking out on stage to a sea of thousands of people that is untouchable in terms of the euphoria it produces.

To help you along your journey, I'm happy to announce that I'll be returning “back in black” to charm you all a third time come September, and “So You Wanna be in a Rock Band?” is promised to be bigger and better than ever.

Last week, courtesy of Henry Rollins, you caught a sneak peak of what is to come with my new monthly featurette interview series, “Here it From the Pros.” To further help me cater my topic selection to areas about which you'd like to learn and/or if you have suggestions for potential interviewees from whom you'd like to hear, please visit my Myspace page ( and fill out the readership survey. I would love to hear from you!

Without further adieu, to end off the year in a must-read obligatory countdown, I've compiled a list of the top 20 sins that the music industry has committed against artists over the years. My intention in doing so is to not only inform you of these atrocities, but as well, hopefully compel you to speak out against them.

In the current climate of the music industry, indie musicians have the ability to take back the power, but this can only be achieved if we unite together and fight for what we deserve: that is, to be treated as professionals. I once read that the first step to change is through enlightenment. I've given you the power, so now let's see you use it.

In order, based on your ratings, starting with the number one voted most “sinful of the sins,” here goes:

1. The media's commitment to focusing more on the personal mishaps of celebrities, rather than remembering them for their artistic contributions

2. Allowing lip-synching and advances in technology to make up for a lack of talent

3. The creation of reality TV karaoke contests to discover the next pop stars

4. The music biz's emphasis on marketability over talent

5. The government and music industry's creation of misleading grant programs that fail to fulfill mandates to provide indie artists with necessary funding

6. The lack of governance over bogus battle of the bands contests and “pay-to-play” scouting events

7. The music industry's ongoing attempts to maintain a closed network based on who you know, not how talented you are

8. The allowance of our standards to drop so low that cliché love songs, and raps full of profanities which fail to inspire and rather encourage degradation, violence, and discrimination receive airplay

9. The lack of implementation of pay equity scales for touring bands

10. The “successful” separation of music from the people

11. The employment of musically uneducated and ill-researched staff to conduct concert and album reviews

12. The creation of double standards for acceptable sexual expression among male and female artists

13. Radio payola scams

14. The commodification of music

15. The perpetuation of the “overnight success” myth

16. CTRC's refusal to implement legislation regarding illegal downloading

17. Allowing “artists” to illegally sample music

18. New artist campaigns that over market their artists so excessively that we end up hearing the same song(s) on the radio upwards of five times per hour

19. The music industry's belief that they (the labels) can dictate to the public what music is worth listening to by throwing money at it and finally...

20. The ridiculous amount of legal battles that exist between bands trying to earn a decent buck for their talents, and record labels trying to rape them for everything they're worth
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