First, I've never much cared for rap music, considering it unimaginative, nihilistic, and obscenity-laced. But here it's being used to call out, not cops or petty rivals or "bitches and hos", but global Islamic imperialism, a message with a far higher level of awareness behind it -- and one which has apparently gotten them accused of "Islamophobia" and even racism, despite the fact that the band itself is racially mixed. And there is a clear patriotic theme ("My forefathers fought and died for this here") which we don't commonly associate with this genre of music.
I've mentioned before that I've known people who were quite far to the left politically who nevertheless were very clear and tough-minded about the Islamic threat, despite all the right-wingers' stereotyping. Like that, this may be another sign that America's varied subcultures are gradually coming to a shared recognition of the existence and nature of the common enemy, whatever other differences they retain.
Second, the "Letter from Rich Ward" should be read by anyone who hopes to make money in the music industry. Anyone who follows the business at all knows that there are a lot of stories like this out there. Yes, some singers do become wealthy, but they are a vanishingly small percentage even out of those who have talent and find an audience. Too many are pushed into signing bad contracts, or deal with parties who go out business at a crucial moment, or are simply cheated -- for one reason or another the money just doesn't materialize.
Third, it shows how technology is beginning to provide an answer. As CDs (among other products) become easier and cheaper to produce even with good quality, and as the internet makes it possible for practically anyone to become a retailer, the role of the middleman and distributor is becoming less and less necessary. A band which sells its own music directly may still not get rich, but at least it won't be cheated out of what money its work does produce. And there is no further need to start by convincing some corporation that what you are doing will find an audience -- you just put it in front of the public and find out for yourself.
Labels: Music and video