This is the question posed and ignorantly responded to by self-proclaimed music expert, Michael Mann in his article, “Boo hoo, broke bands, quit asking for charity” for Vancouver’s Georgia Straight, April 11th:
Stop trying to get me to fund your fucking album with a Kickstarter campaign. Same goes for getting your merch produced, your motel rooms paid for, and your bar tab settled. It makes you and your bandmates come across as a bunch of shameless and entitled pricks. You don’t see me aggressively asking people to pony up for my summer-long, cross-country cocaine and drunken slut–boning binge. So why is it okay when musicians do this?
My first reaction was that perhaps Mann is trying out for Vice Magazine, but not even Vice would publish this shit. I won’t lie and say that I don’t know bands who partake in their fair share of substance and womanizing while on tour, but they are far outnumbered by the musicians I know who work their asses off to produce brilliant albums without the funds to promote them.
As insulted as I am by the generalizations projected onto musicians in this article, what really disappoints me is the fact that musicians are being chastised for asking for money. Is our society so cold and freedom of speech so limited that requesting an investment in our cultural heritage is now wrong?
Perhaps Michael Mann is just Stephen Harper’s pen name? For those international readers who may not follow Canadian news, our Prime Minister recently cut funding to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. This comes after years of mini-cuts and public threats to dismantle CBC altogether.
The point that I am getting at - which I only dare scratch the surface of - is that there is a serious lack of appreciation for the arts. We are so stimulated by our capitalist existence that the suggestion of financially supporting artists is allowed to be openly and ignorantly ridiculed without a fair debate. There is hope, however, demonstrated by comments like Mike Maxwell’s on Straight.com:
…I think he inadvertently summed up the economic situation for artists everywhere: “if your album’s any good I’ll be able to cop it for free off the Pirate Bay”…Talk about entitlement. How is it that we are entitled to free art that is actually worthwhile? It’s a contradiction in terms.The bottom line is you only get what you pay for. If you pay nothing, you will receive nothing of value in return. This writer and others who feel art should be free, deserve exactly that.
Michael Mann’s article, “Boo hoo, broke bands, quit asking for charity,” can be read here: