Indie Pop Bubble Pops

20 Jan


From my little to almost no knowledge of how the economy works, I’ve gathered over the years that bubbles are bad. They’re bad, but everyone’s too blind by the good times to see them coming. At a wedding in 2007 I sat next to a real estate tycoon from Las Vegas, and when I tried to make small talk about how much it has grown, he told me that the next ten years were going to be exactly like the boom they were experiencing now, except on steroids. Ha! I bet that man is living under a bridge right now, and his call-girl-turned-trophy-wife has turned back into a call girl (that is a bulletproof job choice in a recession).

I bring this up is because I’m guessing the bubble in indie rock is going to, if it hasn’t already, pop. I have no evidence for this other than the current run of status-update-pleas for new music that have become so common they’re on pace to out number gun violence comments and inspirational quotes in the very near future. And the discomforting thing is that all of these responses are valiantly met, not with new bands, but bands that’ve been around for a while. That, along with remembering a the new two-thousands-eights to the two-thousand-nines bands so nostalgically, makes me think that the bubble burst and none of us were the wiser.

Thinking back to a time when the possibility of almost free and instant distribution was an enticing incentive to start a band. So, everyone did. People who weighed the options of going to grad school or getting back together with that one ex who’s dad offered them a job, chose the third option: Start a band, put some songs on iTunes and quit that shitty service industry job. Everyone knew that it was going to be hard work, but finally the dream of becoming a rock star didn’t depend on pure luck. Now, anyone could do it as long as they hit the pavement hard enough and long enough, they’d get their break, and if they didn’t they’d at least get a 1000 die hard fans which would provide more than enough revenue to live a modest life of casual sex and heavy petting in public.

And it was gold, people could make a living as artist, or supplement their new service industry job with some sweet iTunes money, or they could at least play a show to a packed bar full of people dying for some new music, well, at least they could get their name out there with some smart tweets. No, no, I guess tweeting to a legion of follow-back spam-bots doesn’t really generate any sort of supplemental income. But what was a sure thing was that the band could put a name and a face to every one of the downloads for their EP that cost the same amount as six months worth of student loan payments. So, it turns out getting a 1000 die-hard fans is really really hard. So, now, people realized it’s still just as much about luck and maybe they can learn a trade such as typing or bricklaying.

What’s going to happen next? There will be a million and one defunct bands “discovered” years after they released their one poorly selling full length. Which could lead to a great number of artist only making one album, and then that’s it for them. They’ll get their 15 minutes, just long time after they wanted it. These are all just slightly mad ravings of a bitter and sleep deprived writer who will know intimate details about everyone who reads this, even though there is world-wide distribution. Enjoy the future!



-C. Gilmore


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