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Major labels are not your friend: the Meat Puppets edition

This piece from Meat Puppets drummer Derrick Bostrom serves as an excellent companion to The Problem with Music, Anatomy of a Record Contract, and Sage Words from Dick Dale.

Perhaps it’s beating a dead horse by this point. Everyone knows major labels are evil. They’ve spent most of this decade releasing unlistenable crap and suing nine-year-olds. Nevertheless, Bostrom is in a unique position to look back and reflect on the wreckage of the 1990s. It’s an ugly story of a collision between art & commerce, of how a band can produce a gold record and still come out in debt. And, because of how the game is played (you’re always playing with your own money), the more accommodating you try to be, the deeper in the hole you get:

As the weeks went by and demand for us increased, we found ourselves continually whisked this way and that, back and forth across the country, constantly busy, constantly tired. And all the while, we piled up recoupable expenses for promotion and tour support at a rate of around fifty grand a month. When the dust settled, we were into Polygram for nearly a half a million dollars.

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