Shadow's Journal Response

Posted Jan 5, 2010

I have just spent 30 minutes reading all of your replies and thoughts. All I can say is...THANK YOU. I have learned a lot from this experience, and you've given me much to think about and consider. Before it all inevitably takes a negative turn (it is the internet, after all), just let me say one last thing in case it wasn't clear: I consider myself a music lover FIRST, and a person who makes their living off of music SECOND. In that respect, I feel as qualified as anyone else to criticize the current state of affairs. (You'll have to excuse me, I frequently forget that I'm "part of the system/problem.")

I loved reading the post from the indie label manager (Tonedeff), and I just want to, that's what I'm talking about. As someone who helped run Solesides/Quannum for over 10 years, people just don't know how hard it is to make the books balance, and that was largely pre-internet!!! Since then, I've seen so many friends and peers throw up their hands and say, "it's just not sustainable." THAT is the reality we all must address and deal with as music lovers, and THAT was the crux of my letter. If we can come a little closer to figuring out the answer, then this was all worth it. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to Amoeba Records to go buy some vinyl.

Let's conclude with Tonedeff's closing thoughts:
"But in the grand scheme of things...this music we make HAS to come out. We don't have a choice, man. It's our responsibility as artists to offer our perspective/filter on the world for those out there that need something to latch on to for survival. These people that support us - NEED us to keep going."

Word life,
-DJ Shadow

I posted on the original journal entry with my thoughts and just wanted to add a bit from something that was published in wired. The article is excellent and it may benefit you to read the whole thing:

There were a few excerpts that made me think of you and one of them mentioned Radiohead & Trent Reznor (you probably could gain audience with one or both of them to ask in depth about it).

But the one that tipped the scales for me to post again was the following excerpt from page 5 of the article again taken from Wired:

"On a busy corner in São Paulo, Brazil, street vendors pitch the latest "tecnobrega" CDs, including one by a hot band called Banda Calypso. Like CDs from most street vendors, these did not come from a record label. But neither are they illicit. They came directly from the band. Calypso distributes masters of its CDs and CD liner art to street vendor networks in towns it plans to tour, with full agreement that the vendors will copy the CDs, sell them, and keep all the money. That's OK, because selling discs isn't Calypso's main source of income. The band is really in the performance business — and business is good. Traveling from town to town this way, preceded by a wave of supercheap CDs, Calypso has filled its shows and paid for a private jet.
The vendors generate literal street cred in each town Calypso visits, and its omnipresence in the urban soundscape means that it gets huge crowds to its rave/dj/concert events. Free music is just publicity for a far more lucrative tour business. Nobody thinks of this as piracy."

Just something to think about and possibly reconsider your take on the free thing.

"the underlying factor" :
..... humans have small miniscule 'I,Me,Mine' pictures of reality. While all the while totally immersed in the overwhelming inescapable reality that we are one life form, on one speck, in a hostile universe.

It's time for man to evolve to a better communication than thought/language, or at least place having a bigger picture at the top of our priorities, and get us headed that direction. Survival of the fitting-est, Adapt or perish. Is "intelligence" beneficial for the survival of a species?? Jury is still out ...

musician or politician:
"The pillars of democracy rest on the individual." -Albert Einstein'
"A police state soon finds it cannot command the wheat to grow." -J.F.K.
We have met the enemy and he is us.
The world's condition reflects each individual human's internal condition

Art and money,
Like comparing communication with units of energy, forget apples and oranges.
Starving artists are not a new thing, old as art.
Artists are the sensitive flowers that live on the edge of the garden and scream first.
New art spawns in poverty; Bluegrass, Rap, Country, Blues, Folk, Jazz, Reggae, etc. (even Mozart and Van Gogh were broke) .

Many like I, have their own Radio Stations and spin the whole internet world of songs they buy. ( Pandora etc)
Keith Richards said he must play and compose, like taking a shit.
Rodrigo Y Gabriella got discovered busking on the side walk, homeless in Ireland,
Fun Two in his dorm room on the internet.
Money hunts great creativity, like flies find shit, can't exist without each other, both represent an energy,

"the merchants of commerce"
Indeed do have their place, breeds craftsmanship, profit and support.
Regardless of how well a girl makes love, soon as money enters ... it aint love.
Purpose of art is to communicate, not make money.

The age of a thousand billionaire artists is past. Now is the age of a billion thousandaire artists.
Humans fought over and with stone, iron, bronze, gold, oil, and those were the age's names.
Now we enter the age of information, The Information Age
No longer important who owns the gold or oil, but who knows who owns it, sells it, buys it, uses it, needs it.
We leave the age of haves and have nots, and enter the age of knows and know nots.

Sorry about the stone rap,
but there you go,
Shalom Aleichem,

Your music is very inspiring. For a musician like me, who plays guitar and was inspired to take up the turntables because of your works, I have to say that I hope you can find comfort in the fact that while you may not be on the cover of rolling stone, your music has inspired and continues to be an inspiration for people all around the world. We live in an era when you can record badass sounding music by yourself at little cost and make it available to millions of people easily via internet, however the catch is you probably won't make any money or be able to sustain yourself because people have become so apathetic to not only helping out other artists to succeed but to just helping out other people in general. It is time for people to ask themselves "what does my soul look like?" We need true artists now more than ever. Thanks for your words of wisdom and endurance.

Word Life Shadow. Keep the commentaries coming, and I am looking forward to that new music!


There was a book published not so long ago, "Appetite for Self Destruction" which is all about the various horrible mess-ups the major labels have made and how they are continuing to do so in the digital age (I mean, seriously, they've allowed a computer company to become the dominant player in digital music). Long story short, the CD boom is over, the labels are struggling and so A&R spend on anything that won't be The Next Big Thing is just non-existent. It's no big surprise that so many big-name bands of the 90's are reforming and touring - not only are they making nothing off royalties, there's so few quality new bands being promoted that there's a massive void out there to be filled.

As music lovers, the onus is on all of us to support the artists that we like. I'm no fan of the whole internet file-sharing thing because it's unfortunately created a feeling amongst certain people that they're entitled to music for free. That's just wrong - would you expect to go see a movie, or a show, or a concert for free? Fans need to do something to support bands that they like, that doesn't mean buying a whole back catalogue but it means maybe buying an album, or going to a concert, or buying merch or whatever.

Partly I think it's a Generation Y problem - people don't necessarily understand the effort that goes into creating music, or art, or whatever because everything is so accessible. But you sit them down and tell them to write a song or create something with their own hands and I think they'd pretty quickly get an appreciation for it. I just don't know how you do that on a global scale!

Anyway, thanks for all the great music thus far, looking forward to some new stuff soon.

thank you for writing this, i think we have all learned something here, and the music lover part clarifies everything:
"just let me say one last thing in case it wasn't clear: I consider myself a music lover FIRST, and a person who makes their living off of music SECOND. In that respect, I feel as qualified as anyone else to criticize the current state of affairs. (You'll have to excuse me, I frequently forget that I'm "part of the system/problem.")"

I'm a music lover too, and I'd like to take a minute to show some love for your works. I am from England, and about 10 years ago at uni my flatmate was heavily into hip hop. He leant me Endroducing, and it opened up a whole new world of music to me... in Britain, there can be an ignorance of hip hop as just something snoop doggy dog and 50cent does, full of attitude and little else. You music has the 'beat' of hip hop, which I believe you have to 'get' in order to appreciate. That album of yours I found sublime! I wrote a poem based on it and gave to my flatmate. It is filled with the grit and majesty of some urban american ideal I have in my head! It is one song, the whole album, fluid and utterly unique. It is the drums that I love, and several years after - actually to this day - I am bewildered as to how on earth you make these sounds. It is a beautiful artform. Private Press was also unique and separate in its own right. I didn't like The Outsider so much, though it had some gems. Keep up the good work and thanks - sincerely - for the sounds.

PS there are a plenty of "indie" labels doing it and doing it and doing it well on the internet!!!! do a little research, find out what these labels are and learn from them........( darn, this makes me sound just as old and jaded)

why on EARTH would ANYONE in the music business refer to themselves as "ToneDeff"???? and dont tell me its "def" and not "deaf"

You and your colleagues deserve adequate compensation; it is not only a means of survival but also a form of respect with more value than
posts on a blog. Also, on behalf of the game design community, thanks for contributing to DJ Hero.

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