Sunday, April 8, 2007

Indie Compilations

Entertainment Weekly reported that Vice Records is going to be releasing an indie compilation, similar to NOW That's What I Call Music, to be sold in big box stores in conjunction with MTV2. Matador and Subpop may also release in this series.

The big quote from the article:

''These bands' records sell really well to a particular audience,'' says Adam Shore, the publicist for Vice Records, which aims to release the first volume this July (they're already the American home to high-profile acts Bloc Party, the Streets, and Charlotte Gainsbourg). ''But even though these artists are getting all this media exposure, they're not necessarily crossing over to a very casual record buyer.'' The plan of action? ''We're partnering with MTV2, and the focus is going to be Walmarts, big box stores, red states, and TV advertising — to really go beyond.... We don't really expect indie-rock stores to support this record. It's for the casual fan.''
Honestly, it makes me nervous.

The difficulty is the dance we do in the indie world: how commercial, how common, how Starbucks and Wal-mart, how soccer mom, in short, how big, before the pendulum swings and we lose our audience?

Should I be worried? Yeah. Tastes change, styles change, audiences move on.

Each genre has a core group of listeners who buy and support their artists. When you expand beyond your core, you risk alienating your core. It's different now than when I was young. People 14-24 seem much more willing to forgive sponsorships, "selling out," tv appearances, etc.

If indie labels start reaching beyond, it may hasten the decline of that specific type of indie music and the teenagers may move back to a punkier, more hardcore music to spite their Shins/Decemberists/Arcade Fire compilation-buying and listening parents.

Or not.

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