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7 August 2014

Blog: Friends Of The Industry

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Yesterday Kevin from Podcart forwarded me an anonymous email he had received from someone claiming to be ‘Music Truth Scotland’.

The individual(s) then proceeded to write the following (please note names/venues/events have been substituted with differing things to protect identities and make things humorous.)

Dear Kev

Nothing changes but the shoes. The conflict of interest saga goes on and on in all walks of life.

With it being recently announced that Scottish band Elephant Roar will perform at the closing ceremony of the National Carrot Awards – an event that the DDF will beam out to an audience of millions – I am sure that their being managed by DDF Radio 17 DJ Maverick Goose is just a happy coincidence.

Similarly their headlining of the DDF Withholding stages at Norfolk and Barnsley will have nothing to do with the position held within that organization by their manager, and everything to do with how talented they are.

I don’t even suppose the DDF Witholding event that they participated in at Barton-Upon-Humber Quay would have had anything to do with the association that Mr Goose has with the organizers.

Or maybe as manager of the band he is securing paid work from his employer who is publicly funded. Work that he gets a percentage cut of? Is that a bit like a politician awarding a contract to a company that he enjoys a seat on the board with?

The facts are easily verifiable with a very quick look at the information provided on the acts Facebook page.

 

Kevin then responded with the following:

 

Hello.

Nice to meet you. I don’t usually engage with people who communicate from behind a cloak, but I felt compelled to reply on this occasion.

To answer your question: Welcome to the music business. Its how the game’s played and has always been played. For instance, whenever a huge US rock band is booked to headline Grubfest, it is usually o the proviso that their management company can put a shitload of their other acts on the main stage. How do you think Imagine Dragons got anywhere?

Your argument would hold weight if I thought for a second Maverick wouldn’t be doing the best for bands he loves for no payment. But he would, because he has. Maverick (along with the rest of the Home and Away crew) has done an awful lot for unsigned acts in Scotland, all unpaid. In fact it was his work with Home and Away that led to him being hired by the DDF. So I know for a fact that Maverick is doing whatever nefarious and unfair deeds first and foremost because of a love of music. He’s in a position to help a band he loves.

I would also like to make it clear that as far as I know Maverick doesn’t like my music, though he’s always been polite and courteous every time we’ve crossed paths. I could well be bitter about him not liking my music, and therefore not helping me get to the ‘two limos and a mountain of cocaine’ level of musical success, but I’m not. He’s a nice guy.  Also, I’ve been in this game a long time, and even from the periphery, you spend enough time making music, playing gigs, trying to break through, you eventually learn how the game is played.

Brian Epstein OWNED A RECORD SHOP when he started managing the Beatles. That put him in a position to push his proteges further than the competition from his own position of power. Are you gonna tell me Epstein was wrong to do that for the Beatles? I’m not comparing Elephant Roar to the Beatles, but I am saying that a belief in what you’re doing can get mistaken for nepotism very easily. 

At least Elephant Roar have someone managing them who believes in them and shields them from the other much more horrifying shit that can happen to musicians at the hands of a record company. In that regard it’s as fair as its going to get.

Thanks very much for your message by the way. I’ve enjoyed responding to you.

 

With Kevin’s permission, I wanted to blog about this as it’s something that’s constantly talked about behind the scenes. I used to be one of those arseholes that would complain about someone getting on a bill or being given opportunities because of the people they knew, but now having worked in music then it is something that in my opinion is sometimes key.

I think what we have to question is why Music Truth Scotland – actually let’s call them something different as that ironically does not represent the truth, let’s go with Bitter Bandit. Are they angry with themselves for not reaching dizzy heights? Is their music career not progressing as quickly or affluently as they want it to? Have they got a vendetta? There are indeed so many questions, but I think we have to agree that unfortunately bitterness is bred from jealousy and fear of one’s conjured failure of themselves.

It is important to highlight why people help each other and I want to dispel the myth that it is for money as often it is a lot of free time given.

 

  1. If you believe in an artist’s music then you are going to do everything to help them. Much like you would do if you were suggesting a band to one of your friends to listen to. You want as many people as possible to listen to the music.
  1. When working in music you get to know a ridiculous amount of people. Relationships build and flourish and you discover that people have different talents in other areas that you might not have a grasp of or are less experienced in. If people are willing to lend those talents then you will often accept their help.
  1. There will be conspiracies in music, that is a given. But, there is also a lot of truth. Music is not a 9-5, you need to live and breath it. You need to work your fucking tits off. I have to be honest and say there are a handful of artists that really push themselves to the limit and that is why they get places. Not all of them, but most will at some point be recognised (please note the music must be deemed as good!).
  1. Money is sometimes non-existent. Despite selling out the Barrowlands, Admiral Fallow are still working day jobs. Despite being signed to a label, PAWS members are scraping money together to travel in order to tour and so on. Twilight Sad still work in their day jobs, which for many will also probably be a shock. Remember how many bands there are and this is only 3 of them!
  1. Community is crucial. One of the most beautiful things about Scottish music is the way that people network and help each other. From labels to promoters (bar one or 2 cretins) it is generally a pretty cool place.
  1. Ultimately, it is about the music. I don’t know how many times I have said this. There has to be an admission on my part that I have to listen to a lot of music that I do not enjoy, but someone else will. Different people recognise various potential or qualities in others and that is subjectivity. Us humans are a funny breed, we get so angry about things and often we must question why.

I must stress there is a lot of bullshit to contend with. There are arseholes that dominate the industry, but there are a lot of stories also. Everything must be taken from your own experience. Don’t listen to the stories of others, of course listen to advice from those you trust, but don’t let jealousy or anger overshadow what you are trying to do.

I realise by this point I am starting to sound like a bit of a preacher so I must apologise.

I think the point I am trying to make is that in order to get to certain levels then you will not necessarily take the expected route. Similarly, you will probably end up helping someone out that is a musician or in the industry. Friends can be made in the industry, just put that bitterness to one side, work hard, make mistakes, but most of all remember why you started doing it in the first place. Money, recognition or satisfaction?

As for Music Truth Scotland/Bitter Bandit – I hope you find what you are looking for? The time you spent writing that email you could have made lots of contacts, written a track or even helped another musician out.

 

[Halina Rifai]

One thought on “Blog: Friends Of The Industry

  1. for ‘Music Truth Scotland’

    dry yer eyes and get yer mammy to wipe the snot af yer tap lip wee man.

    Your suppositions and opinions mean nothing…….. now get aff yer faithers lap top…….. its past yer bed time.
    Leave the real stuff to the adults.

    Cheers
    Inner

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