Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Selling Out Isn't Possible

I wonder what you guys thing of this little essay, written by Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes in response to criticism of his decision to permit advertisers to use Of Montreal songs in commercials. Here's the whole thing:

Are you a sell out? Yes. Don't let it bother you though, cause apparently I am also a sell out, and so are your parents and everyone you've ever known. The only way to avoid selling out is to live like a savage all alone in the wilderness. The moment you attempt to live within the confines of a social order, you become a sell out. Once you attempt to coexist you sell out. If that's true, then selling out is a good thing. It is an important thing. If we didn't do it, we'd be fucked, quite literally, by everyone bigger than us physically who found us fuckable.The pseudo-nihilistic punk rockers of the 70's created an impossible code in which no one can actually live by. It's such garbage. The idea that anyone who attempts to do anything commercial is a sell out is completely out of touch with reality. The punk rock manifesto is one of anarchy and intolerance. The punk rockers polluted our minds. They offered a solution that had no future. Of course, if the world would have ended before Sandinista! was released then everything would have been alright. It didn't. Now we have all of these half-conceived ideas and idiot philosophies floating around to confuse and alienate us. I think it is important to face reality. It is important to decide whether you are going to completely rail against the system or find a way to make it work for you. You cannot do both -- and if you attempt to do both you will only become even more bitter and confused.

When I was younger, and supported my parents, I chose to float between the two. A lot of people choose to do this. There are so many confused young people running around now polluted by this alloyed version of the tenets of the punk rock manifesto. Of course they're confused. It isn't possible to be in chorus with capitalism and anarchy. You must pick one or the other. Very few people are willing to do it, though. The worst kind of person is the one who sucks the dick of the man during the daytime and then draws pictures of themselves slitting his throat at night. Jesus Christ, make up your mind! The thing is, there is a lack of balance. When capitalism is working on a healthy level, everyone gets their dick sucked from time to time and no one gets their throat slit. It's impossible to be a sell out in a capitalist society. You're only a winner or a loser. Either you've found a way to crack the code or you are struggling to do so. To sell out in capitalism is basically to be too accommodating, to not get what you think you deserve. In capitalism, you don't get what you think you deserve though. You get what someone else thinks you deserve. So the trick is to make them think you are worth what you feel you deserve. You deserve a lot, but you'll only get it when you figure out how to manipulate the system.

Why commercialize yourself? In the art industry, it's extremely difficult to be successful without turning yourself into a cartoon. Even Hunter S. Thompson knew this. God knows Duchamp and Warhol knew it. Some artists are turned into cartoons and others do it themselves. I prefer to do it myself. at least then I can control how my cock is photographed. Why should it be considered such an onerous thing to view the production of art as a job? To me, the luckiest people are the ones who figure out a way to earn a living doing what they love and gain fulfillment from. Like all things in this life, you have to make certain sacrifices to get what you want. At least most of us do. If you're not some trust-fund kid or lotto winner, you've got to slave it out everyday. People who wanna be artists have the hardest time of it 'cause we are held up to these impossible standards. We're expected to die penniless and insane so that the people we have moved and entertained over the years can keep us to themselves. So that they can feel a personal and untarnished connection with our art. The second we try to earn a living wage or, god forbid, promote our art in the mainstream, we are placed under the knives of the sanctimonious indie fascists. Unfortunately, there isn't some grand umbrella grant that supports indie rockers financially and enables us to exist outside of the trappings of capitalism.

The thing is, I like capitalism. I think it's an interesting challenge. It's a system that rewards the imaginative and ambitious adults and punishes the lazy adults. Our generation is insanely lazy. We're just as smart as our parents but we are overwhelmed by contradicting ideas that confuse us into paralysis. Maybe the punk rock ethos made sense for the "no future" generation but it doesn't make sense for me. I like producing and purchasing things. I'd much rather go to IKEA than to stand in some bread line. That's because I don't have to stand in a bread line. Most people who throw around terms like "sellout" don't have to stand in one either. They don't have to stand in one because they are gainfully employed. The term "sellout" only exists in the lexicon of the over-privileged. Almost every non-homeless person in America is over-privileged, at least in a global sense.

Obviously, I've struggled with the concept. I've struggled because of the backlash following my songs placement in TV commercials. That is, until I realized that the negative energy that was being directed towards me really began to inspire my creativity. It has given me a sense of, "well, I'll show them who is a sellout, I'm going to make the freakiest, most interesting, record ever!!!" ... "I'm going to prove to them that my shit is wild and unpolluted by the reach of some absurd connection to mainstream corporate America."

I realized then that, for me, selling out is not possible. Selling out, in an artistic sense, is to change one's creative output to fit in with the commercial world. To create phony and insincere art in the hopes of becoming commercially successful. I've never done this and I can't imagine I ever will. I spent seven years not even existing at all in the mainstream world. Now I am being supported and endorsed by it. I know this won't last forever. No one's going to want to use one of my songs in a commercial five years from now, so I've got to take the money while I can. It's the same with pro athletes. You only get it while you're hot and no one stays commercially viable for long. It's not like Michael Vick is going to be receiving any big endorsement deals anytime soon. As sad as it may seem, one of the few ways most indie bands can make any money whatsoever is by selling a song to a commercial. Very very few bands make enough money from album sales or tour revenue to enable themselves to quit their day job.

Next time you see a commercial with one of your favorite bands songs in it, just tell yourself, "cool, a band I really like made some money and now I can probably look forward to a few more records from them." It's as simple as that. We all have to do certain things, from time to time, that we might not be completely psyched about, in order to pay the bills. To me, the TV is the world's asshole boss and if anyone can earn some extra bucks from it and they're not Bill O'Reilly, it's a good thing.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, man... This could be a good one.

I'll start.

I got ZERO problem with what the dude said.

3:25 PM  
Anonymous amanda said...

Reminds me of Ayn Rand...

"I don't build in order to have clients. I have clients in order to build." - Ayn Rand

3:27 PM  
Blogger DTC said...

"I realized then that, for me, selling out is not possible. Selling out, in an artistic sense, is to change one's creative output to fit in with the commercial world. To create phony and insincere art in the hopes of becoming commercially successful. I've never done this and I can't imagine I ever will."

for the most part i can agree w/ what hes saying. someone wants to use music in a commercial? fine, i could care less. youre getting more exposure, and getting paid for it. not everyone can or wants to be GSY!BE in their ethics. but comprimising yourself creatively for an audience or for money (or both) is where i think the issue lies. for instance, allowing a restaurant chain to change the lyrics to your song......

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont think its possible to not sellout if you are an artists today. Especially a musician. Because of filesharing, artists have lost a big chunk of their potential revenue. The "product" of music is now free. So, what the hell does the artist do? He has to make some kind of money somehow. Merch, tv spots, etc. Sucks, but its just where we are today.

3:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is all a no brainer really. Don't change your shit. Your "punk" ethics bring you down? Well, did you research who made your shoes? Your car? Your TV dinner? It's all empty posturing, unless you are a true hobbyist killing time. I'm fine in my job, and have no aspirations of "making it", but if there are perks and you can find a good way to make it easy on yourself? If selling a song to Apple and not getting a raw deal means I can buy a tour van, then fuckin' A.

3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

agreed 3:45.

3:46 PM  
Blogger amandacobra said...

on idolator, a lot of people were noticing the ayn rand similarities too.

licensing music is one of the few decent money-making systems in the fucked up music business these days. of course, as long as you're not licensing your song for the Dick Cheney Foundation or something like that then you should feel no shame in earning money by allowing your music to be used to sell something or endorse something.

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can tie everything back to "the Dick Cheney Foundation" one way or another.. even this very blog

3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, I can't wait to hear what ** has to say baout this. I seriously cannot wait.

3:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My main concern is selling short, not out.

I think a band like Fugazi did as much to help music as it did to hurt music. If Fugazi, or other bands that followed their ethos, had broke through the mainstream, think about how much better radio could be today.

They could have still done it on their own terms(Look at Clap Your Hands Say Yeah as an example). They could have taken the fight to the corporate labels, but they didn't. They sold their records on the rhetoric of not letting the "man" control you, but did little to combat the problems they'd point out. Ian is still doing it with the Evens.

Playing what is basically protest songs to 200 people in an art gallery is not going to change anything. Those people are already buying what your selling.

4:01 PM  
Blogger amandacobra said...

i know that every company ever has some republican ties but i just meant that if you lend your music and therefore your image and approval to something like the Dick Cheney Foundation, you would probably feel ashamed.

but yeah if we're going to go balls deep into the cred thing, bands shouldn't be touring because they are just lining the oil companies pockets with all that gas they buy for their vans to get from city to city.

4:03 PM  
Blogger amandacobra said...

by the way, that was supposed to read as sarcasm. i want bands to tour obviously and was just trying to point out how far you can take the whole argument about practicing what you preach etc etc.

also, i wanted an excuse to use the phrase "balls deep" in a discussion of indie rock cred.

4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

of montreal changed their songs lyrics for a chili's commercial. hahahahahahahaha, what a bunch of poons.

4:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would write a custom song for Chili's, but not let them change a piece of my art.

"Hell NO I won't paint the Sistine Chapel, you fucking religious political asses. I don't AGREE with that, MAN."

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm just confused why there is even an essay from the of montreal guy? what happened to the twee-loving, kindercore of montreal of yesteryear?

4:18 PM  
Blogger a d r said...

the authenticity vs. moving out of parent's house argument hasn't shifted as much as I thought it would with all the changes in the 'industry' over the past few years. I can remember reading how Moby licensed the crap out of Play, and thinking that, as a guy who used to include fairly articulate anti-whatever essays in his records (Go, maybe?), it might lead to changing ideas about seeing channels other than touring and record sales as a revenue stream. Is this a topic of discussion that happens in other fan-bases - such as those for country or hip hop or world music? This sounds more wonky than i want it to.

4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(Dear God forgive me for saying this) Dylan has selling out recently. Two Victoria's Secret ads and a Cadillac ad. Why?

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Commercialism is to art as water is to a boat; it can keep it afloat but it can also capsize it."

4:36 PM  
Blogger amandacobra said...

regarding the dylan thing....i think the whole point is that he's not "selling out". he's licensing his music to those companies.

and in the end cadillac sponsors his fucking awesome and batshit crazy satellite radio show and his special lady gets free bras. win win.

4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am the cult of, I am the cult of, I am the cult of... PERSONALITY-UH!

4:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like this whiner was offended
that someone called him a "sellout"
on the internet.

4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I can't believe you waited until this was on drc before talking about it. zing!

5:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

they didn't use a song, they used music. changing silly meaningless lyrics (let's pretend we don't exist / let's pretend we're in antarctica) into a pointed brain-cooking plug for a steakhouse transcends selling out into the world of farce and egregious insult. self-defense in this case, smells of weakness and regret. he's done nothing to dignify his position as he's done little to illuminate it. when you change meaning, you eradicate some of yourself. in light of the last couple Of Montreal efforts, this might not really be a bad thing.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wrapping your arms around a flimsy unfortunate reality isnt prophecy or wisdom; its resignation and its pitiful.

5:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the OUTBACK STAKEhoussss

5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the OUTBACK STAKEhoussss

5:10 PM  
Anonymous ye said...

wait... kevin barnes LIKES capitalism?? I'm ok with people "selling out" or what not... but did he seriously say that lazy people get punished and hard-working people get awarded?
... we all know the system doesn't work that pretty... barnes sounds like my grandpa.

5:11 PM  
Anonymous E.W. said...

produckt placement. obscene produckt pushing. no integrity.

can't handle the world of work? so write jingles for the toxic industry... lack of substance.

rambling attempts to convince people that credibility can still exist while watching commercials and listening to a song that becomes the corporation’s identity is so much so like mr. powell's grainy images of mysterious shapes in the desert supposedly weapons of mass destruktion in iraq.

get a job that contributes to your community. play music for yourself and your friends and anyone else who wants to listen but the time has come that anyone who aspires to actually "make it" is just a 20th century relic that is struggling to maintain credibility while in bed with the very industry that destroys credibility.

and to use punk rockers as the source of creating the anti-ethos is humorous. punk? 99% of punk was a commercial scam from the beginning. and punk today is just rehashed formula for the uninspired.

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It's impossible to be a sell out in a capitalist society."

You're right, Kevin. Let's go Outback tonight.

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good for you pal !! It's nice to have something to offer , barter , trade ,give or sell.

those confused about selling out must not have anything to offer.

Just think about having something the world couldn't get enough of you'd probably sell out of it , unless of course it was manufactured in china!!

5:46 PM  
Blogger R. Javelinn said...

Outback Steakhouse is one of the leading contributors to the Republican Party.

On a side note, I heard that Animal Collective and St. Vincent are playing the next GOP convention.

7:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He makes some decent arguments about not being able to escape the trappings of capitalism in a capitalist society, but takes his defense of what he terms "selling out" a bit too far for it to be genuine sentiment, veering closer to what appears to be an attempt to justify something for which he feels great regret after the fact. I personally wouldn't have a problem with selling my music for use in ads, except for one thing - in all cases, without fail, the brand image being created by the corporation eclipses the art, making the song nothing more than background noise to be associated with the brand. In many cases, the art essentially becomes meaningless when dissociated from the commercial. How many times have you heard a song used in an ad, then heard the song by itself later and thought of the ad rather than the meaning of the song? And to take it further, if you allow an ad agency to change the lyrics of your song to fit their brand's message, the art has not just been obscured, it's been destroyed.

Now, if a song is created specifically for a commercial and has no meaning for the artist outside of the commercial, that's a different story. I personally wouldn't do this, because I would feel like I was selling myself short, not selling out.

My two cents


7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why should anyone care? It's his music, he can do what he wants with it. If it taints it for you, stop listening to his band. If not selling out is so important to you, start your own goddamn band. Don't tell him how to make his money.
This reminds me of a Steve Albini article or interview wherein he talks about how hearing a band's songs in a commercial ruins it for him. Albini has been very consistent in his ethics, which is admirable, no doubt. But he also has a very unique and lucrative talent as a recording engineer. If he had to live solely off money from Big Black and Shellac and was facing a future that involves some kind of non-music job, I wonder how stringent those ethics would be.

8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually like to see some bands that have written a great song for an album make money off of it. When I hear bands that deserve to make money get paid for something they didn't create (at least for the sole reason) of making money, I'd rather listen to that than the music in the background of the wheres the beef commercial. But god that Outback song sucks, its not even a good jingle. He should be embarrased by that

8:42 PM  
Anonymous urn said...

Good point about Albini, 8:02. And he's fortunate enough to take whatever engineering jobs he wants. Few people would call him a sellout for recording projects for major record labels, despite whatever his ethics may be. He can charge the majors out the ass, and it can look like he's fucking the majors in the ass by taking their money, but really it's comparable to getting paid to have a song in a commercial. I don't care whether Albini does that or not. I'm just sayin'.

And with people like Ian MacKaye or even Calvin Johnson, they were lucky enough to have the motivation and ability to create the ideal situation musically and ethically for themselves at a very young age and stick with it successfully. Most peoples chips don't fall in just the right position to allow them to follow their idealistic goals. Or by the time they figure out what they could do with their talents, they have other obligations (family, debt, etc.) that make it more difficult for them to not look for an easier route to "success" as an artist. Such as selling a song to Outback to keep on doing what you really want to do.

I consider Of Montreal relatively successful, being that I've heard of them for years, but often, our outsider view of that is not necessarily the case. I say who cares if they wanted to do that or not. It beats all of the other Outback commercials with some dipshit singing about taking your "mum" to Outback for Mother's Day in a fakey Australian accent anyday.

8:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i work in advertising and am a musician in a band that is hoping to make money so i can quit said advertising job. that said, i have no idea how to articulate my many thoughts on this subject except to say this:

kevin sounding off like this in such a long form sounds like he's trying to convince himself what he's done with his band is right. i do think the line about turning yourself into a cartoon is funny. i can't imagine any more cartoony character in music today than kevin barnes. that band has been style over substance far longer than when they decided to start selling songs to ad agencies.

9:23 PM  
Blogger Alex said...

Man. This discussion is fang-free. I approve.

I am totally ready to sell out. If any advertisers or major record read this, you can find my music at www.myspace.com/alexatchley. It's no big deal, since I have no cred to begin with. I'll go as low as Dairy Queen. I would like some free ice cream.

9:26 PM  
Blogger A Silence Production said...

1234, kevin, tell me that you love me more!

9:30 PM  
Blogger the Great Intoxication said...

Licensing my songs has been putting me through college.

Now that it's said and done... I feel a bit guilty and conflicted for various reasons.

I'd probably take it back if I could.

9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blah, blah, blah, people who work for a living are sellouts.

10:20 PM  
Blogger Defensive Listening said...

Some observations:

When discussing people like Calvin Johsnon, Steve Albini, or Ian Mackaye, you must ask yourself: Were they originally as successful and privileged as 19 year old nobodies when they decided to have these ethics? Or were their ethics the result of encountering and observing various forms of bullshit in the music industry and responding to them thusly?

You're talking about these three gentlemen as if they were born famous. You say that Steve Albini can take any engineering job he wants to? Perhaps that was the result of decades of hard work recording smaller bands and asking very little in return. I believe he has come close to filing for bankruptcy in the past five years, actually.

The difference between these guys and someone like Kevin Barnes is that they were going to do it their own way whether it made them famous or not. Just because it ultimately worked out in their favor doesn't mean that it was always that easy or it should be held against them. They started on the same level playing field as anyone else. If anything, they didn't have this whole easy-breezy Myspace aided touring circuit. They were the people that actually trekked out and did it when there was nothing. You have it much easier today.

I mean, "lucky enough to have motivation?" Motivation is motivation. And having the will power to make risky decisions because you actually care about what you do that much. Motivation has nothing to do with luck.

If you think you're music should be taken as seriously as a forgettable commercial jingle, by all means go ahead and do that. I'll take it equally as seriously as I mute the television or just change the channel. You can laugh all the way to the bank, but that doesn't mean anyone should pat you on the back or respect you for it, including yourself. I don't understand why people don't make decisions based on how they might feel about them years from now. Most likely when the money's gone, you'll have nothing to think about except how much you've cheapened and lowered yourself. You're a fluffer with a guitar or a piano. But at least you got paid.

10:44 PM  
Blogger Defensive Listening said...


11:20 PM  
Blogger stonedranger said...

I think his essay is kind of hilarious for several reasons, but let me point out just two:

1. I like how he seems to indicate that the only options in this world are going "outback tonight" or standing in a fucking bread line.

2. I also love his quote about how capitalism rewards ambitious people and punishes the lazy. Really? Is that how capitalism in America works? George Bush's brother starting an educational services company just a few months before W pushed No Child Left Behind through into law, creating a market in which privately owned "educational services" companies could rake in massive profits. Thats how capitalism works. Or how about American oil companies planning the invasion of Iraq years before September 11th so that they could use taxpayer money and countless human lives to increase their profits. THATS how capitalism works. Or how about a bright ambitious young person who will never have access to quality schools or opportunities of any kind being forced to live paycheck to paycheck and never once being able to THINK about living out their dreams just because they happened to be born poor, while some lazy trust fund baby with no imagination is able to do great things with the little to no talent that they have (including becoming President of the United States). Thats how capitalism works.

Is there a little bit of truth to what he says? Maybe on some level. But does it really help explain anything about his decisions? Absolutely not.

2:19 AM  
Anonymous urn said...

Well, DL, since you dissected my comment, I guess I will do the same, but won't include all of my thoughts.

I never stated that they were successful or privileged before they did what they did. I believe their "punk rock" mindsets came out of the age they were privy to. Their ethics were part of a culture of music and personalities that made them who they were, and possibly later, they developed their own ideas when they hit roadblocks as musicians and record label owners.

By DL: "You're talking about these three gentlemen as if they were born famous. You say that Steve Albini can take any engineering job he wants to? Perhaps that was the result of decades of hard work recording smaller bands and asking very little in return. I believe he has come close to filing for bankruptcy in the past five years, actually."

Once again, I never alluded to the idea that they were born famous or privileged or ahead of anyone else by any means. They made what they made from what they were given. But Albini has had the opportunity to record Nirvana, Bush, Cheap Trick, The Breeders, The Pixies, etc. You can't tell me he's charging Early Lines or Record Hop the same price he is for Cheap Trick?! I'm just saying, when the opportunity arose, he took the money that would be handed him from a major label to record Bush's "Razorblade Suitcase," regardless of his ethics about music or the industry at large. I personally don't care what he would choose to do because I'm not in his shoes. As you mentioned, he may be near bankruptcy, but hey, he's doing what he loves to do, so fuck it, right? Is that what you'd prefer he do so he can stick to his ethics? Doesn't seem cool with me, and that can't seem cool with you, but I don't know the middle ground. Maybe it does to you so you can think about Albini the idyllic way you do.

Gotta wrap it up, because it's getting late, but I agree that it is much easier today and never disagreed otherwise. I give two shits about Of Montreal, never even heard their music.

You comment on motivation like it's just something you have or you don't. To me, it has a lot to do with your surroundings and personal drive on any given day. Growing up in the Metroplex, I was never given much motivation to do much of anything. I had to make whatever I could happen for myself, but no matter what I could try and string together, it didn't mean that anything of substance ever got done. No man's an island, so they say. Just look at our "scene". Just look at this comment section every day. There is little cohesion, there is little agreement or a movement towards anything. Not saying that the folks we've been talking about (Albini, MacKaye, Johnson) had anything greater to work with, but there's at least now a somewhat tangible document that their system worked, however they chose to do it, twenty years down the line. Some people just don't have that kind of time to invest in their minds. A need for immediate gratification. And I don't disagree with that.

3:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arsenio Hall learned me this:
Do what you love and the money will come.

If he's self-conscious and over-explanatory or defensive about it, that just means he's human. Ultimately, I think he's firing back at what is probably a healthy collective whine from his fans about him "selling out."
Who cares that he has an opinion and is constantly forced to defend himself - he also has a little family. Maybe 10 of the previous commentors are in a band, and maybe 1 makes or will make money at it.
Let's have a discussion when you are faced with a big check in exchange for the use/butchering of a tossed-off lyric.

7:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a dead topic, and has been over discussed for decades now. Still fodder for young "punks" I guess...

7:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're all winners! Stonedranger is a commie pinko!

9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

a show you all should probably know about (if you don't already):

saturday, november 24th @ J&J's. Starts at 5pm sharp!

Joey Kendall
Rodney Parker
The Plastic Assassins
Harry Has a Head Like a Ping-Pong Ball
Har Herrar
Whiskey Folk ramblers

featuring artwork by andrew kendall

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm only concerned with controlling how my cock is photographed. Punk rock ethics have failed me in the cock-photography department. I need control of the lighting. I need control of the airbrushing. No suit will decide if my cock is to be photographed erect, flacid or perhaps in a "halfie" state. I, like Barnes, demand 100% control.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous the matthew show said...

stonedranger, I'm on the same page. While I lean towards libertarianism (though not quite Randian Objectivism) on occasion, I can't be a good free-market zealot because I see all the built-in obstacles of the sort you pointed out.

Capitalism rewards those who have their hard work and innovation bump randomly into luck and opportunity. It also rewards those who start on the high ground, and can chuck mudballs in the faces of those who are attempting to climb and crowd the hill. Read Animal Farm, for the love of Pete. I've known so many people like Boxer it's pathetic; those who believe that hard work always brings rewards. Sometimes hard work gets you nothing, and sometimes people who don't work hard get lucky.

While thinking on this, further terrify yourself by reading Nassim Nicholas Taleb's Fooled By Randomness. Anyone who thinks they can control their life by sheer force of will is deluded, and this is why I'm not a libertarian.

12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Step away from the books and seek some pussy, man!

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Matthew Show - quit reading books and write original songs you cunT!

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't waste my time reading, why bother?

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post is a sell-out. Write your own material!

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This site is not about the rock, its about whiny little bitches and their bad taste.

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So thanks for participating, 1:17 pm.


1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cliff notes..

p.s. capitalism happens..

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Capitalism rewards those who have their hard work and innovation bump randomly into luck and opportunity. It also rewards those who start on the high ground, and can chuck mudballs in the faces of those who are attempting to climb and crowd the hill. Read Animal Farm, for the love of Pete. I've known so many people like Boxer it's pathetic; those who believe that hard work always brings rewards. Sometimes hard work gets you nothing, and sometimes people who don't work hard get lucky."

capitalism doesn't reward hard work.. it rewards smart work.. however those who work hard but get nowhere complain loudest about the system not working.. because it simply does not work for them..

even in a totalitarian society where the players at the top manipulate the system.. you still have the ability to apply some simple game theory(smart not hard thinking) and you can use the systems of the cronest against themselves.. i.e. while you get those on top to throw mudballs at you.. you have others at the top stab them in the back, and give you a lift up..

this may seem harsh.. but thats only because for some reason evolution seems harsh to people.. and thats the thing about it all.. capitalism is evolution.. it's hard for people to understand because we are use to thinking in our jumbled up jail of our linguistics, and that the only capital one can trade is cash/gold currency.. But that is not true, the same principles of capitlism exist in other animal societys (esspesially frequent in communinal species such as mammalian). the currency in these animal societys are food, sex, and shelter.. but they exist..

so back to those in power who use the system against those who could take their power.. they do so in self presevation.. in preservation of their bloodlines.. now the truly smart at the top keep power in creating an idea to make you think it's impossible to use the system.. that they are in power, and you are stuck.. thats the biggest oldest trick in the book.. that is why propaganda(commercialism's true name) is so important to the ruling class in any society..

remember the biggest trick the devil played on man was to get man to believe he doesn't exist.

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

im not sure ive ever seen so much overwrought, pseudo-intellectual horseshit written on one webpage.

a bunch of commenters working really really hard to try and sound smart.

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...

I'm sure you people are saying interesting stuff but there's no way in hell I'm reading all that. I got a couple past the DL post. Only thing I noticed is that yes, Albini charges everybody the same price and will record anything. Maybe not in the past but that's how it works.

But! I like that Outback commercial song. I also hate everything Of Montreal has ever done other than including the song it was lifted from. Keep selling out that guy.

And when is his analog vs. digital essay coming out? He could start a dead horse beating zine.

2:45 PM  
Blogger BaZing! said...

steak rox

3:28 PM  
Blogger Batman said...

I went to work today and did a job I only sorta like. If outback or cadillac or whoever else want to pay me to use my music, I'm totally down. I draw the line at feminine hygiene products...

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well weshotjr is always promoting "douches" so they didn't draw that line apparently

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wrong, Albini charges majors more. Didn't you read the Albini thread?

6:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SR, good points about the major flaws of capitalism. I hate how tied it is to legislation too. Defending it was a pretty ignorant misstep on Barnes' part. But as to whether he explains himself well in the essay ... I think the point of most of these comments is, why should he have to defend himself at all?
DL, you're hysterical as usual. Ooh, you'll mute the TV on his commercial. That'll hurt his feelings.
Do you think in 10 years he's even going to remember that a restaurant ran his song in a commercial for a few weeks? Maybe, but then he'll probably also remember that he used that money to buy a guitar, feed his family, travel or whatever. It's not like he did a theme song for the Republican National Convention. It's just a mediocre restaurant chain. Maybe he really likes Bloomin Onions or something. Would it be better if it was some hip local independent restaurant? Where do you draw the line?

8:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like how we're getting lectured on ethics by Stoned Ranger and Defensive Listening, who both lie extensively in their personal lives and on this blog to hide their anonymity. Ethics are pretty flexible when they don't suit your goals, aren't they?

8:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


9:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


9:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


9:32 PM  
Blogger Defensive Listening said...

quote: "DL, you're hysterical as usual. Ooh, you'll mute the TV on his commercial. That'll hurt his feelings.
Do you think in 10 years he's even going to remember that a restaurant ran his song in a commercial for a few weeks? Maybe, but then he'll probably also remember that he used that money to buy a guitar, feed his family, travel or whatever. It's not like he did a theme song for the Republican National Convention. It's just a mediocre restaurant chain. Maybe he really likes Bloomin Onions or something. Would it be better if it was some hip local independent restaurant? Where do you draw the line?"

The muting of the commercial was brought up to make the point that I don't think it's beneficial to musicians to have the output they've labored over as advertising jingles for shitty companies. I don't think that's what most aspiring musicians dream of when they're first learning to play or at any rational point in their creative lifespan. If you don't believe me, try this experiment: The next time you see a show by a group or artist you really like, let them know that you think that their music is good enough to be in a really cheesy Bennigan's ad and see what they say to you.

It's an insult to your intelligence when some greedy lightweight like Kevin Barnes is trying to tell you that "punk rock" ethics don't matter while he's counting cash and soiling his musical legacy and reputation on the shit-stained money of Outback. These so-called punk ethics are what has helped the record label he works for (Polyvinyl) be successful and stay afloat. I wonder if the people who pay to release his records share his short-sighted philosophies? I doubt it.

These "ethics" will be around long after Kevin Barnes is nothing more than a faint, laughable footnote of this era.

Don't dress it up: He should just say that he likes money and he'll pretty much do anything to get it. That would be much more honest and actually help him to save some face, something he feels compelled to do. Obviously he's been criticized at length by some of his most loyal fans, just look at how he continually ducks and dodges the larger truth.

Oh, but that's not as entertaining or convoluted enough to throw sand in your eyes and lead you to believe that you're dealing with an artist with the depth and complexity of Andy Warhol, or someone who was actually smart enough to manipulate the mainstream and the media to bend and stretch uncomfortably to his every whim. Kiss my ass.

He sums up his whole manifesto, by basically saying, "Well, hey, at least I'm not as bad as Bill O'Reilly." Wow. What a fucking accomplishment.

And for the record, doing business with Outback is like doing a theme song for the GOP. Just read this.

10:09 PM  
Blogger Defensive Listening said...

Quote by 8:30: "I like how we're getting lectured on ethics by Stoned Ranger and Defensive Listening, who both lie extensively in their personal lives and on this blog to hide their anonymity. Ethics are pretty flexible when they don't suit your goals, aren't they?"

You wouldn't say that to Batman, asshole.

10:10 PM  
Blogger Alex said...

Oh I JUST thought of another good point...

Of Montreal is really not very good. I've heard people tell me up and down that their old material is "sooooo good," I've heard a lot of their old material. It sucks.

Nothing to do w/ selling out, I just don't see what the big deal about Of Montreal is. Stupid Band Name anyway.

None of this would even matter, anyways. Even if any of this hadn't happened, you big time Of fans would have forgotten about them. You would reminisce about when HEALTH played house shows when you're ponying up $20 to see them (health) play at Granada for their tour in support of their Island/Def Jam debut.

Indie rock is as fickle as the radio. Seriously.

11:33 PM  
Anonymous Gregory said...

I don't think it's negative. I actually think "hey, that's ________!" when I hear someone like Modest Mouse being used as a bed for the Cowboys game.

Of Montreal kinda sold out when they completely ripped off The Notwist's sound to do that Pretend we Don't Exist song. I like it. But I thought it was The Notwist for so long, that when I just figured out it was Of Montreal I thought... who?

11:15 AM  
Blogger Sydney said...

Man I thought I had something smart to say, but it turns out I don't. In that light, I'll just agree with those of you saying he shouldn't have gone into such great lengths to defend himself. I've loved OM for years, since I first heard them, but if I were in Kevin B's shoes, I'd just say that I liked steak and money, and my music was the bridge to both. Or something. If I ever wrote a song rich execs wanted to use in a commercial, I'd go for it. I don't have any problem admitting that I have little reservations in my ethics. Doesn't THAT make it smart work and not hard work?

10:40 PM  
Anonymous Liles said...

Oddly enough, the joke is usually on the corporations and ad agencies who feel like they need to use indie music as a qualifier to establish some measure of street credibilty for their products.

First, they usually don't realize that a band's audience is normally disgusted by hearing their favorite group's music used within the context of something silly. Next, the larger group of people usually parked in front of a TV often don't make the connection that hip, insider music is being used to sell the product.

And last, why do major labels so rarely buy advertising for their own products? Why do they let car companies and restaurants poison the public's initial perception of a group's music by aligning the artists with companies that have absolutely nothing to do with the original artistic or creative process?

5:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ayn Rand sucks

10:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And so does Of Montreal. Ha!

10:22 PM  
Anonymous msamantham said...

i am so far behind simply from being computerless so this is old shit. however, i can't help commenting before i've even read the first half of these posts (why? bored, i guess).
wednesday morning rant:
to those who are criticizing bands for changing their lyrics to a song? learn a little bit about the process before you speak. when you license a song, you don't know what the fuck a company is going to do. in fact, if you are on a record label, then often you might not even be asked before that label licenses a song out to a company anyway. this is one of the few ways that a label can make back the money it puts into a band, so often they don't give a shit about whether or not you are a sell out. now, bigger bands (like of montreal) and smaller bands that are on nice labels (like bella union) get the luxury of making the choice to sell out.

i didn't read all of this guy's thing - i don't have time right now and frankly got bored with it. but my interest was piqued when a couple of you mentioned ayn rand and objectivism. what i read did not reek of objectivism, but, like i said, only read a little. anyway, blah.

people piss me off on this subject because all of the sudden they think they know all sides of a situation and all the ins and outs of a process when they don't know shit. kind of like second guessing what's going on in someone's head.

okay, pardon the irrationality

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Garett said...


2:52 AM  

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