This I Believe

Austin - Carrollton, Texas
Entered on October 12, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: creativity

I believe in indie music.

Most people in America love their music, whether it’s the latest rap genius, an obscure English ban, or anything in between. Apple sells their iPods like hotcakes because devoted music fans want to have their music all the time. The music business in the US alone is moving billions of dollars each year. Yeah, that’s big money.

However, very few of these people realize what a capitalistic industry it really is. Record companies are only interested in releasing the next big hit. Music has historically been focused on the expression of the artist and connection with the listener, but the whole system is falling apart. Artists aren’t given much room to express- they have to worry about writing the next chart topper. In addition, the merchandise that fans love is ridiculously overpriced and makes the bigwig corporations revenue several times over. Even FM radio is in on the deal: it accepts payment from the labels, and in exchange plays certain songs more often. The stations sometimes give away money to keep listeners tuned in, making it easier for the big companies to keep their songs in listeners’ heads. That equates to more album and ticket sales for them. It almost seems like music is committing suicide.

However, the record labels are just doing their job as a music industry: industrializing. It’s what they do best, and it’s reflected by the numbers on their paychecks. But I believe the music business still has a chance to save itself. I believe the secret weapon is ready to bust out and save us all. It’s something that we’ve been building for years, ever since people got tired of listening to the same old stuff over and over. It’s called indie music. Indie is short for independent, like a small-time record label or artist releasing a small-time album independently. The movement is growing- almost anyone can create a band or sing into a microphone, and spread it all over the internet. Anybody with the motivation and talent can wow over enough people to keep the indie scene going. These people are who I believe in: the underground, but still uprising folks that keep music to music, and try to keep money out of the picture. I believe in a music business that is not about a dollar earned from sales, but a dollar spent in the studio, or a dollar lent to a fan. It’s not about the money. It’s about the soul.