Music Thread #2 For 5/27/10: A Key Element Of Why The Music Industry Is As Sad Is It Is
Jimmy Iovine's willing ignorance to not mind M.I.A's dangerous statements is a disturbingly a characteristic of music label bosses nowadays to their artistsIn reading the fine article from Lynn Hirschberg that caused M.I.A to become a complete psychopath and ruined the accomplished journalist's life today, a key paragraph explains one underrated reason why "mainstream" music is in the sad state that it is in today.
It is about the perspective from one of the true titan bosses of industry being okay with M.I.A's dangerous ignorant statements that contributed to exacerbating the Civil War in Sri Lanka.
“Maya had all the pieces of the puzzle,” Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Interscope Records, told me. “When I met her, I thought, Who wouldn’t want to sign her? Her politics didn’t matter to me. The whole game is about waiting for that moment to move popular culture. Maya can move the needle. I want to go where she’s going to take me.”This is a legendary figure in Iovine who is saying something so reckless and egregious that it hurts my head even processing what he said.
Now I (and everyone else in this world I hope) understand that all music artists, from when music labels and artists became global icons starting in the 20th century, aren't expected to have the knowledge of a political analyst or journalist on big news issues (even though most of our current "political analysts" should not even have that proper description of them for how dreadful they are). I get that and clearly understand.
After all, music will forever be first and foremost about entertainment, and entertainment second. It's not about how much you know, it's about how many people you can captivate the most with your music. Rhodes Scholar or high school dropout, rock or rap, it doesn't matter what the genetic makeup is. All of us are hopefully cognizant of that always prevalent fact of music that pops up every single day of our lives.
But it comes to a point where some knowledge, especially knowledge on an ongoing war where anything you say could have a serious effect on it, is necessary. And it especially comes to a point when you, as a big CEO or A&R of Iovine stature, need to somehow tell your artist of the dangers of how your comments in your music and out of your music can cause, you know, the death of some people (or something non-lethal but still extremely deleterious to society).
I'm not asking to make your artist change his or her whole album, or make sure that all their facts on any issue goes through an extensive fact check. That would be just pure straight jacket crazy.
I'm just simply requesting that CEO's just do a simple thing of making sure their artist's "politics" doesn't lead to the inspiration of some deadly ish occurring.
Now of course, Ice-T with "Cop Killer" and NWA with how Reagan and Bush were on their cases of slaying the feds is an example of that. And labels shouldn't have been exempted from that either back then of at least talking to their artists about the effects of their words (even though it wouldn't have stopped their artists from saying what they had to get off their chest).
But at least back then you never had record execs go on record and basically say "I don't care if his or her words encourage terrorist actions on someone" like Iovine basically did in that Hirschberg piece.
That lack of accountability, that lack of a moment where the boss puts his or her shoulder on one of his or her artists and gives them prescient advice that is warranted, does not only highlight the artists ignorance alone.
For the CEO, A&R, and label big wig who signed them is also painfully ignorant themselves, or even worse, willingly letting something they know that is wrong and potentially a "WMD in words" go right on freely by until it destructs into something terrible happening.
The willingly neglect by these big wigs like Iovine is one under the radar example of why the music industry is in the pathetic state that it is in.