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"Children Of The Apes"
Yesterday, just for fun,
I wrote some off-the-wall slogans for Country Music,
like "Country Music. It's not all plastic!".
Another one was: "Country Music. Some of it's damn good!".
I received a lot of nice "Amen's" by email.
Last evening I got a note from Clay Daniels, a good friend,
and one of the all-time top country DJs. This is what he wrote:
"Jack. After watching the first hour (that's all we could stand)
of tonight's Academy of Country Music Awards show....
that 'plastic' part you mentioned is all the public is aware of these days.
More and more I'm convinced .....I was in Country Music at the right time...
and I got out of it at the right time!!!"
He got me thinking, and now I take it out on you.
If a child is raised by apes,
can he know he's being deprived of civilization?
If a generation is raised on plastic country music,
can they know what they're missing?
No. Ignorance is a lot of fun.
People don't know what they like,
but they like what they know.
And as humans, they have no idea what they don't know.
Their musical options are limited by what comes over their radio and TV,
and that is controlled by some bottom line guys.
Empty suits are running the old corral.
The major labels like to buy plastic for a dollar,
and sell it for $16.95.
They don't care what's on it.
They give each other awards, throw big events,
create excitement, and teach the listeners what to like.
They charge all expenses to the artists:
The studio, the musicians, the manufacture, promotion, distribution,
and their girlfriend's nose job.
And yet, the record companies still own the masters.
These are sharp guys.
Independent labels aren't getting significant airplay in the U.S.
I don't know if they even send records to many American stations.
Maybe they did, until they found out they weren't getting played.
No sense throwing money at a fence post.
Maybe they weren't getting played because
some of the independent records weren't good enough.
Indie labels have to be what we used to call service labels.
To help their best artists, they must survive.
And to survive they must take on a lot of not great stuff.
It's a trade off.
Some indie labels do low budget sessions and flood the market
with junk that detracts from the well produced music.
The DJs get immune and stop listening.
It's only fair to mention that there are indie labels
that do care about quality.
They are making slow but sure headway by putting out
the best product they can,
and making it better all the time.
They are the ones who are gaining credibility.
If you pay attention you will begin to see who the good ones are.
And it isn't easy for them.
They don't have Sony budgets.
They are earning the respect of radio people,
and their product is listened to.
A problem facing indie artists is how to make a living at it.
The artists are here, and the audience is overseas.
There are a few tours going over, but not enough.
Maybe the indie labels and artists should relocate and record in Europe,
or wherever their fans are.
But that's not likely.
Certain European country artists,
Hermann Lammers Meyer, for instance,
have what we used to have in the States:
A situation where they are near their fans,
and can draw crowds.
American airplay is needed.
"How to get it" is the thing to work on.
The indies are up against a powerful bunch,
but stranger things have happened.
If a few brave American stations start playing the best indie music,
it may be contagious.
The ape children may get a glimpse of what they've been missing.
Copyright © May 10, 2001 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved.