Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Ethics, Preorders, Pretending to Resist the Temptation for Things I've Never Been Offered

An unfortunate, and completely self imposed, aspect of releasing music publicly in my late teens/early twenties is that I’ve had to grow up in public (or maybe more accurately; somewhat visibly in a small community). Without making too many excuses for myself (after all, these are choices I’ve willingly made), I think its fair to say without anything resembling a supportive local scene in Maine (and isolation in California), it has been difficult to make informed, ethical choices for how to deal with basic things like putting out records. I’ve never trusted that something like extreme music was supported by dogma. The reason I was initially drawn to this music was because of its ability to reject and subvert traditional viewpoints, and I don’t think I’ll come to terms with it as a tradition if that means values can’t be questioned. Often I find that, the means of argument is more important than the morals that are being argued, and I know that I am particularly put off by the groupthink that is often standard operating procedure in punk.

All of which is to say that in doing so I made choices that I now regret. I think it is important to clarify my position, and while I’m never going to erase the decisions I’ve made that have occasionally compromised my aesthetic, I can make my current perspective clear. The use of kickstarter and the choice to use pre-orders for albums on NLHM was lame and I apologize for it. While both situations were conducted as ethically as possible within those parameters, I think they ultimately structured the power relationship unfairly between the bands I’ve been in and the people that listen to them. I think I was partially blinded by the fact that most of the negative reaction to this read something like “back in my day…” which is never helpful, and fails to address the central problem of fairness. In the future, Name Like His Master will not use pre-orders and bands I am in will not use crowd funding. I really hate thinking about money, and I would much rather continue to work multiple jobs and pay for band expenses myself than associate any of this with my art. Ultimately I do question the efficacy of the decision to ignore the way money affects our music scene, but for now it will have to do.

For the record I will also never let a car company put out my record, let any of my band's music be used in commercials, and I wouldn't quit a band over it, but I have a strong distaste for corporate sponsored shows and would be happy to avoid them. 


  1. Good words well said. All we have is our ethics, and I've seem many bands flog theirs for basically nothing and regret it later.
    Once sold it can never be bought back.

  2. if it makes you feel better, starting a blog in your late 20s is also just as embarrassing half a decade later when you look back.

    but for all the bullshit punks like to talk about DIY and how anti-materialist they are, anyone who ignores the financial aspect of it is just bullshitting you, themselves or flat out deluded and/or lying. christ, punk was pretty much born by kids ripping off the dole or the sex pistols scamming a succession of record labels to get rich quick.

    it's not so much that you may have failed or felt like you compromised your morals, but you tried something and then had the courage to honestly evaluate why and how you did and whether you thought that was the appropriate approach. it's much easier to just shove past mistakes down the memory hole and pretend like it never happened. standing up and being accountable, even if only to yourself, is something to be lauded.