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“The Problem With Music”

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Steve Albini, the producer of Nirva’s hit album, In Utero, looks at the recording industry, and does not like what he sees:

The band members have each earned about 1/3 as much as they would working at a 7-11, but they got to ride in a tour bus for a month. The next album will be about the same, except that the record company will insist they spend more time and money on it. Since the previous one never “recouped,” the band will have no leverage, and will oblige. The next tour will be about the same, except the merchandising advance will have already been paid, and the band, strangely enough, won’t have earned any royalties from their T-shirts yet. Maybe the T-shirt guys have figured out how to count money like record company guys. Some of your friends are probably already this f###ed.

Very scary stuff, and well worth the time of anyone considering a career in the music business.

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About Ed Driscoll

  • That piece originally appeared in the Baffler in 1993. The figures might be a bit different, but it is still is all too true.