Make a Joyful Noise!
Make a Joyful Noise!
by Kenny Love
Free At Last? Free At Last! Thank Technology, I'm Free
At Last! I can only imagine this becoming the standard
battle cry of many a major label recording artist in the not-
so-distant future. A cry in response to he or she regaining
his or her "civil" rights , are freed from slavery by Master
labels and, subsequently, gain enough self-esteem and
confidence to go it alone. Brrrr…
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Don't believe me? Then, witness such superstars as
Prince, Madonna, and a myriad of others quickly realizing
that trimming the excess fat by cutting out unnecessary
"middlemen," or "middlewomen," as the case may be,
ain't such a bad deal.
I remember "back in the day" (1970's-1980's) when being
an independent recording artist was a joke! You led as
lonely an existence as the neighborhood crackhead. No
one in the industry took you seriously! Sure, you could get
the money and have a professional state-of-the-art
recording, and top graphic design for your 12-inch vinyl
cover. But, so what?
What upstanding music director or disc jockey would put
his or her reputation on the line by playing your stuff?
Once they realized that the return address did not say
Warner, RCA, MCA, Capitol, Motown, or some other big
shot label, your goose was cooked. There went wasted
time, money, and effort…right down the toilet…literally.
How on earth could you ever hope to have any of the major
daily newspaper music editors or major trades such as
Rolling Stone, Spin, or Musician review it? Perhaps worst
of all, you could kiss organized network distribution
goodnight without expecting a morning wake-up call.
Yes, indeed, you were ultimately reduced to sticking your
records in the trunk of your car, then peddling them to as
many small out-of-the-way stations as possible. And God
help you if you were trying to "break" your record in
Texas during the summer months. As hot as Texas gets,
perhaps that is from where the cuddly name, 'wax', was
derived when referring to vinyl.
But, indies are having the last laugh. I double over
laughing at the 180-degree turnaround. Somewhere, at
some point, there were enough rejected musicians who got
finally fed up with receiving rejected product months later,
perhaps even years later (I am one of them). Rejected
enough to begin a formal independent movement, which
spun into many difference micro-movements and
networks, to arrive at the independent environment that is
so prevalent today.
Today, the Record Pool Directors, Music Directors, Disc
Jockeys, Press Editors, and Distributors couldn't care less
what the return address says. If it is produced well, fits the
format, can be supported with a convincing enough story,
along with a track record (pun intended), you're in like my
In fact, today, the majors have, for the most part,
surrendered in the war of "breaking" records, opting to let
the indies wage it among themselves. When the smoke
clears, and depending on who is still standing among the
indies, they swoop down and scoop up like the Red Cross.
Much of this independent success can be attributed to the
affordability of technology to the consumer combined with
the communication power and speed of the Internet.
Distribution, traditionally, the most difficult aspect to
attain, is now an option as the capabilities to download
music files and purchase directly online grows more
appeasing every day. And, Major label artists are also
recognizing it and following in hot pursuit.
Perhaps, this article was meant to only serve as a pep talk
to those indie artists who may feel they are alone in their
quests. Trust me…you are not alone. Thousands of
musicians across the world, at this very moment, are
working on their projects. And, somewhere in that
independent haystack are, at least, one Gold, Platinum, and
Multi-Platinum needle with Grammy thread through the
Who knows? Yours just may be one of those threaded
needles. Now, if we can only get musicians and their
managers to start forcing those club managers into a
contract for "live" performances, we will have truly
reached The Promised Land.
Editor's Note: A man whose biggest fear is being aboard a
non-stop flight from New York City to Manhattan, Kenny
Love is also a National Record Promoter and Press
Publicist. Promoting all genres of music, he works with
"indies" on a "back-end" deal, saving them enormous up-
front service fees. Get complete information on his
services by sending an Email request to