Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Proudly Serenading Our Corporate Masters

I was walking by the Crocodile and I saw this:

Should I be very afraid? Sasquatch isn't until the end of May, but why not start celebrating right now? My primary question has to do with the corporatization of rock music and here it is: Has there been an "independent" music festival over the last 10 years that didn't have prominently-displayed corporate sponsorships? For Sasquatch, you can rock out courtesy of Jack Daniels. It's right there on the sign! And does anybody else think that it's slightly unnecessary? I mean, the festival is gonna happen even without Jack in the mix. I dunno, I guess I'm from a generation that constantly scrutinized its rock stars for signs of impurity. If somebody's music was "too commercial," that meant they had lost their cred. That's why I watch that stupid Eric Clapton phone commercial with low, mordant laughter. When I think of his (mostly mediocre) work from the sixties and seventies, I think, "Wow, that guy's just counting the days before he can sell out." That kind of weird thinking is completely absent from today's music culture. From what I've seen, rock musicians are as likely to court sponsorships as any snowboarder or motocross rider. The thing is, there's enough money in rock 'n' roll to sustain musicians without corporations stepping in. Now, jazz and classical music need company bucks a lot more desperately, because they're quite unpopular (as compared with rock) yet culturally necessary. But rock gets sponsorships from companies who want to show off. They want to be linked with rock to appeal to certain lucrative segments. I'm sure that musicians could refuse those sponsorships, but why turn down free money? And one thing's totally for sure, nobody's gonna write a song for the Sasquatch Festival ridiculing Jack Daniels. My point? There's already enough money to be had in rock music. Keep the corporations out. If I was one of those performers, I'd feel pretty strange about strummin' my gee-tar for the greater glory of Jack Daniels or Budweiser or Coke or Pepsi.

Anyhow, this probably makes me sound like some old crank. Fair enough. Gosh, did I just go off on a rant? I guess I did.

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