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Friday, October 18, 2013

In Defense of Brian Oblivion's (Cults) Comments on His Preference For Major Labels to Indies

Brian Oblivion of Cults, right about how indie labels rob Artists.

In Defense of Brian Oblivion's (Cults) Comments on His Preference For Major Labels to Indies

Payola Blues: A Conversation with Cults (SPIN)
Sleigh Bells and Cults: The Indie Pop Left-Behinds by Ian Cohen (GRANTLAND)
  In defense of Brian Oblivion, we are talking about a guy who signed to a major label while an undergraduate, and a guy who is managed by the Mom of his ex girlfriend.  Imagine having the most important decisions of your life made by the Mom of the chick you dated in college.

   Second, his preference for major labels vs. indie labels is based on his experience being on a major label.  He did not release an LP on an indie label, so when he gives his opinion on indie labels ripping artists off, he's just giving an opinion.  Furthermore, he's 100% right.  Especially when you are talking about the Indie Majors, who are essentially no different than a major label.  And we're not just talking about contemporary indies, Indie labels have always had fraught relationships with their most well earning artists, because those artists typically subsidize a roster of unprofitable releases. Without drastically limiting the number of releases, any indie is essentially required to "rob" their best selling Artist.  Not doing this is the exception, not the rule.

  The worst that can be said about Oblivion's comments is that he sounds tone deaf, the indie music game equivalent of Marie Antoinette telling the French working class to eat cake.  Because, when you are on a major label, you are def. a cake eater.  And when you give an interview saying that being on a Major instead of an Indie is better, you are thumbing your nose at the tens of thousands of bands that will never have a shot at a major label deal.

 My feeling is that the downsides to being on a major don't really become apparent until you are no longer affiliated with said major label, at which point they own your legacy.  I am quite sure Oblivion is not troubled by those questions right now, but perhaps he will revisit it ten years from now.  Or maybe he will be releasing records on Columbia for the next half century.  That would be awesome.  I wish Cults the best!

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