Uncommon Approach: Kicking up dust on a DIY level?
Let me start out by saying this about Pitchfork. I could care less about Uncommon getting coverage there and in all reality, their readership could care less about us. It’s not a good fit anyway, so most of what I’ve been doing is to prove a point, not to complain about coverage or even what they do on their site.
‘Uncommon Approach’ is a column written by Paul “Nasa” Loverro, owner of independent label Uncommon Records. With this frequent column, he gives readers an all access look at the ups and downs of running an independent hip hop label in this day and age. An in-depth column from the perspective of an Indie label owner.
Let me start out by saying this about Pitchfork. I could care less about Uncommon getting coverage there and in all reality, their readership could care less about us. It’s not a good fit anyway, so most of what I’ve been doing on Twitter is to prove a point, not to complain about coverage or even what they do on their site.
I actually respect their site in many ways. They started out reviewing music online long before anyone else and although some of their reviews have been harsh for the sake of being harsh, they largely are just honest critics that aren’t afraid to tell the truth.
The Fuck Pitchfork Movement
With that said, I have started the “Fuck Pitchfork” movement on Twitter this week. Every time I read an article about some upstarts “kicking up dust on a DIY level”, I will tweet “Fuck Pitchfork”. To me I could have started a Fuck < insert blog here > movement, but Pitchfork makes a nice straw man because everyone involved in any genre of music knows who they are and most people that follow us probably hate them, which in reality, I don’t. So why am I doing this?
I’m really frustrated with the idealism that’s involved in indie music right now. The idea that someone can post songs on Myspace in 2005 and that’s how they got signed, the idea that the music business is a talent contest and that if you’re good enough and try hard enough that you CAN make it. That’s bullshit. Obviously talent and diligence matter, but the reality is that money plays a huge roll in what you hear on the radio or read about on the internet.
It Can’t Be All So Simple
The most recent meme off these theories is that you can diss the shit out of a blog and by taking this bold stand you will then get their respect and/or the respect of other bloggers or fans. That’s another heaping pile to me. In my opinion lots of these internet beefs between rappers and bloggers seem orchestrated.
The fact is that lots of the “DIY Kings” out there that are getting lots of run are either signed with majors that are operating indie promotion campaigns, or are signed with managers with industry ties that open doors by any means necessary.
End of the day, that’s all good. I’m not hating on people who do that. If I had that opportunity presented to me, why wouldn’t I do it? My problem is with the idyllic fan base, music journalism community and their fantasies. If you like someone’s music, that’s fine, but turning people into folk heroes while there is so much going on behind the scenes that isn’t known is just plain ignorant. I respect the hustle of my fellow musicians, I just don’t respect the lack of hustle by some in the writing community.
Proving That Screaming Obscenities Accomplish Nothing
So what’s the end game? How can saying Fuck Pitchfork possibly help Uncommon Records? I’m a firm believer in standing up to the status quo. All of my heroes were able to stand against the status quo either in their art, stands they took or stunts they pulled. Consider this a stunt. On several levels Pitchfork represents all the doors that are being closed on true indie artists. What is being reconstituted (or maybe never has gone away) is the relationship between large promotional companies (PR Companies), industry managers and writers.
It involves money, lots of it, either earned for hustling someone’s music or not earned by being funneled as payola. Either way, it changes the legitimate intake of the listener in what they want to hear and what they don’t want to hear. It’s not just their site, it’s many, it’s hip hop blogs, it’s crossover blogs, it’s all of it. The point of this entire exercise is to prove that it’s not as simple to get coverage as people make it seem. Simply screaming obscenities at a website will not really work. The internet and it’s unprecedented access can make things seem that open, but there is still a real world attached to this internet.
By taking this stupid, immature, vile and useless action I will thus prove that in reality these things have no effect and that a large part of the DIY idealism being pushed is in fact bullshit. And if they actually do cover us for it, I’ll just take the “L”, how bout that? I’m not counting on it.
A Word of Thanks
Before I go, I should point out that there are many wonderful blogs and websites (TheFindMag.com included) that have given us coverage and a voice (and some great ones that haven’t even heard of us) and I’m sure many more exist that we haven’t even reached yet. Thanks to all the true music lovers out there!
Read all columns by Paul “Nasa” Loverro HERE