i sort of suck because i am totally piggybacking on this article. But I suppose I am here to lend some thoughts rather than just report the news.
So just to summarize the article before going ahead with my thoughts. This week the Black Keys, LCD Soundsystem, Band of Horses, and Nas/Damien Marley, Janelle Monae, and The national all made billboard's top 20 albums this week.
Earlier in the year Vampire weekend made history by being the first independent label artist to strike #1. And if it weren't for those pesky bastards in Glee or the fact that Keith Richards needs more money for ... well speculation on that should be saved for another time but i'm putting my money on black market fetuses ...
So yeah, indie is the new mainstream. It makes a lot of sense. I actually think in terms of the music industry it's an interesting look at how things like corporate radio and music stores and basically the entire major label industry is no longer the model that works. Well at least not in rock music.
I guess my biggest problem with most of the analysis out there on this point always seems to allude that there's is some mysterious "other" way that people are getting their information. When in reality it's pretty easy to figure it out. I like math so lets build the equation for how to make money these days.
x = people in America root for the underdog. example a: the red sox, example b: apple. while as neither of these "brands" are really underdogs (check the financial records) they have positioned themselves against their industry titans in such a way that makes them look and feel like the underdog.
y = out is in. being "cool" means that you're into shit that other people are not. or being part of a scene that is somehow underground.
z = all people want is to do whatever they feel like in any given moment and not have to answer to anyone for it. specifically one surmises a musician just wants to write music. when they're not in the mood to write music they want to watch tv. or perhaps they don't even like music that much but the fact remains they do not want to deliver pizza or clean urinals or tend bar or work in the mall food court or whatever the fuck people who are artistically inclined do to cover rent.
operand= money. money drives z. don't take this as some personal tirade against money. i'd much rather work in the financial paradigm rather than the fucking bartering system. as a small, middle class, average intelligence, creativity deprived individual i would essentially be royal effed without money.
to that end. to get money you need to get it from people who already have it. and the people that have it can afford internet. fucking everything is related to the internet.
which leads to function
function = internet. people with money are ALL using the internet. the internet provides endless ways for people to use their money. the word "internet" will soon be too small of a word to describe what is really going on. it's easy to predict in the future everything EVERYTHING will be run through the electronic communication pipelines known as the internet.
the internet is now what drives all trends. and the only reason things like corporate radio and movie theaters and other hard brick and mortar establishments still exist is because people with WAY fucking more money than you and I have invested their entire fortunes in the success of something that at one point seemed impossible to not need, at least for entertainment value.
it's almost like a battle of billions of people with $100's of dollars vs. 100's of people with billions of $'s. Not to mention the whole idea that without realizing it the more people fund and support electronic ways of dealing with everyday life are essentially taking money away from the people that currently have to service the brick and mortar versions ... and possibly taking their own jobs away. a simple, possibly stupid, but effective analogy would be the movie theatre employee who only watches movies with their netflix online account ... they're basically ending the need for their own job. A slightly less direct idea would be movie-philes who demand the crisp picture offered by digital projectors thereby destroying the film / projection industries.
but enough about movies. the point is that the internet has bred indie music into the 'new mainstream' by providing the allusion that people are making a less popular choice when they listen or support an indie label musician, which is actually the 'cool' thing to do and thereby has now become the more popular choice.
so how does one get to z through f using x and y?
zf(x * y) ... or something ... effed if i know...
i could probably talk about the economics of 'cool' forever. i just thought it was almost a milestone in indie label popularity when i saw that article. figured i'd lament some, because ... well this is my blog and that's kind of what i do.