Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


A little tidbit about the music industry

Filed under : Music
On March 21, 2006
At 9:58 am
Comments : 2

You know how you always say, “I wish Joe Rockstar & the Rockstars would put out a B-side collection?” Or, “Why did Joe Rockstar sue me for downloading Stoned (I Wish I Was) when it’s the awesomest song ever?” These decisions are not actually made by Joe and his junkie bandmates. They are made by label people. Joe probably doesn’t much care either way whether the B-sides are out. He may care deeply about the downloading but there’s as much chance that he’s against downloading as that he is for it. Most of all, he cares that people go to his shows where he actually makes money.

I was once guilty of these thoughts. I even called Rockline (remember Rockline?) in 1993 to speak to my own personal idol and ask him why his demo collection was available as a bootleg and not as a proper CD I could buy at Musicland. He hemmed and hawed and said he’d like to put out the CD but it was up to his record company. You see, saying “I signed away all control over my own work” is kind of like saying, “ask my wife to write you a check; she controls the account.” But in an ironic twist (well, not so ironic when you consider that he was my idol) I went to work for said artist’s label a year later and found out the ugly truth. Mr. Idol didn’t have enough fans to support the idea of putting out the bootleg demo CD. It just wouldn’t sell enough to justify the cost of making it. Years later, his fans still ask me why that CD was never released. They look hurt when I tell them. But hey, these days it’s available for $8 on eBay which is less than the label would have sold it to you for anyway. Everybody wins!

But that brings up another fun fact about meeting one’s idol. When I was a pre-teen and swooned over The Police, then U2, then Duran Duran, and so forth, my mother used to watch me with a bemused expression and say, “you know, they go to the bathroom too.” As if! Well, fast-forward to Young Becca at her first label gig when Mr. Idol pops by the label digs, stops into Young Becca’s teeny office and asks, “Excuse me, do you know where the bathroom is?” Oh, the humanity.


2 Comments for this post

  1. Jane says:

    I’m so glad you’re blogging!

    I had a huge opinion shift when I was 18 or 19 and started hanging out with a pair of professional songwriters. I never downloaded another song illegally again because it felt like I was robbing my friends.

    I don’t like those guys anymore, so now I just think about it as “not stealing from Becca”.

  2. Becca says:

    Well thank goodness someone’s not stealing from me. Because those mortgage payments aren’t getting any lower just because “Stoned (I Wish I Was) is so awesome.

    BTW, I made that song up. You can record it if you want.

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