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The J.Crew catalogue called, they said they're vomiting blood all over themselves
So, last week, Time.com published an article entitled "Wanna Be a Rock Star?

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Two Lights One Fart, or: Making a Fourth-Rate Coldplay Song is Really Expensive, You Guys!

155382_181637345180777_129154660429046_674923_6941532_n.jpg
The J.Crew catalogue called, they said they're vomiting blood all over themselves
So, last week, Time.com published an article entitled "Wanna Be a Rock Star? You'll Need $100,000," written by Abner and Harper Willis, two brothers who would very much like their band Two Lights to be wildly famous and massively recouping--and who apparently feel no shame in whining about exactly how much they (or their parents) have spent trying, and thus far failing, to make that happen.

The article is a staggering work of naivety and special-snowflake entitlement; so much about it is just abhorrently wrong-headed--starting with its title, since that $100,000 has not yet in fact made them rock stars--that one would have to excerpt the entire thing just to make fun of it properly. They're shocked to find dingy couches, rather than champagne fountains, in a backstage area! They hire taxis to transport their gear! They seem to believe that "once upon a time...your band would play local clubs in a major city, make a buzz, and an A&R (artists and repertory) guy would sign you and write you a blank check" and that, even still, "if we make it in the music business -- we'll soon be earning a lot more money than even doctors and lawyers." They actually complain that their parents have spent thousands of dollars on buying them mountains of brand new gear and years of piano lessons!

They're like those rich kids from the Strokes only without the good sense to shut up--or, you know, any songs worth a damn. (Although, this parody number is pretty fucking brilliant.)

And yet, for all its moaning, self-indulgent bullshit, the article actually gets one thing right.

That is, that making music is not a great or even reliable way to make money. And even if they get so much wrong, it's interesting to see anyone in indie rock actually talk about money, a subject that's usually held pretty close to the chest.

In the wake of this article, people started recirculation Steve Albini's (always relevant) financial breakdown of how major labels fuck over bands. Even outside of that system, though, very few bands strike it rich; most musicians will need to either work day jobs and/or live in poverty to support their pursuits (the same way you might not complain that paying for a season pass at Stevens hasn't yet made you a professional snowboarder), or else, like the doofuses from this article, come from a place of considerable economic privilege to begin with. (Also, as a rule, NYU students are not to be trusted, especially those who snob off the free food at the dining halls.)

Another reaction to this article, here, points back to an old Stylus column about the stigma against "selling out." To my mind, it's an old punk piety that's pretty clearly elitist, in that those who can afford not to "sell-out" are always those privileged few for whom money was never really an object to begin with. (Even if, as Albini points out "selling out" doesn't usually work, either.)

Of course, they impossibility of buying talent aside, a lot of this band's expenditures seem kind of dubious--"we pay a guy to send email blasts to databases of hip music blogs," they have to live in New York to "make it." Plenty of acts, from indie rock to techno, in NYC and elsewhere, have recorded fundamental records for costs totaling in the hundreds or very low thousands, and Norman Brannon/Norm Arenas of Texas is the Reason does an excellent job debunking their list piece by piece here.) Worse than any one item on their list, though, is the baldness with which they seem to approach making music as not a worthwhile pursuit in itself but only as an ends to those supra-lawyer/doctor salaries--and then complain that it's not happening fast enough.

Oh, and, you know, their songs sound like this.

 
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