'Johnny' Record Label (Can't Come Out to Play)
© 2002 Kenny Love. All rights reserved
that kid down the street who always seemed to have the best
of all worlds...money, clothes, got to go to Disneyland every
summer while you stayed at home riding your bicycle and playing
other dangerous yard games not nearly as exciting? He was
also blessed with all of the latest neat toys that you would
give your left arm and right leg to own.
That kid was probably also christened with a name such as
Heathcliffe O'Reilly III, with some of the neighborhood girls
hoping to marry him so that they could then shop endlessly...for
life (sorry for the insinuated sexism, ladies). :-)
But, Heathcliffe also had a dark side to him, sort of like
that other nice and sweet kid, Damian, in "The Omen."
For, perchance, you were fortunate enough to play with all
those neat toys that were affordably exclusive to Heathcliffe,
or play games with him, it was readily understood that Heathcliffe
would emerge the ultimate victor, regardless of how horrible
his team participation.
And, when someone could stand this one-sided situation no
longer without voicing his opinion, Heathcliffe would sport
that infamous but deadly grin that signaled game's end and
said, "See suckers? I know you couldn't take it for long!"
This resulted in his gathering his belongings and heading
for home, leaving you and your friends to your own boring
Worst of all, Heathcliffe, along with everyone else, readily
recognized how sorry a player he was, along with his incredible
need to control. You probably did not realize it at the time,
but that experience was your first introduction to the advantage
of high-tech versus low-tech.
'Johnny' Record Label has always been the music industry's
"Heathcliffe," but with one exception today...'Johnny'
cannot figure out how all the other kids in the
neighborhood (unsigned recording artists) can now afford and
play with the same high-tech toys that he does, and win the
game without him. Plus, they are
much better at it and it frustrates 'Johnny' to no end that,
while he can still smirk, he cannot take away his toys and
And, if you stop and listen for a moment, after nightfall,
when all the kids have left the playground for the day, you
can hear 'Johnny' lying in his bed, while going from a moderate
sobbing, to screaming and wailing at the top of his lungs..."They
are not supposed to be able to have fun without me!"
This reminds me of one of my all time favorite villains..."Dr.
Miguelito Loveless" from the television series, "The
Wild Wild West." While Dr. Loveless was one of the most
brilliant villains ever to grace the screen, the irony was
his childlike responses whenever something went awry. And
something, eventually, always went awry.
Major record labels are truly out of options because, in large
part, the Internet and the ready availability of its vast
amount of "how-to" information that was once either
cloaked in secrecy behind steel doors, or was for $ale, is
now exposed to the masses and there for the taking. And, I
cannot state how wonderful it is to see the 'Net married with
affordable recording technology once considered by the majors
to be a fluke or fad that would end.
Add to that, the fact that many of their long-term, high-dollar
recording artists are starting to 'see the light' and leave
the labels upon the expiration of their contracts. Actually,
they have wanted to make this move for years, however, no
system was in place until now that allowed them to do so.
And, while the "once powers that were" attempt to
shut down the radio streaming access to indies, while also
attempting to work in conjunction with large radio networks
hell-bent on controlling the airwaves through station buyouts
and the implementation of national play lists, again, there
is no shortage of information, outlets and resources for indies,
even on the smallest of scales. That is, if they simply take
some time to self-educate, review, plan and execute their
After all, when all of the excessive and unnecessary financial
padding that is a long time staple of the majors is stripped
away, it is easy to see how, when executed properly and efficiently,
the successful business aspect and profit$ of independent
releases can both readily and quickly be realized. And, I
might add, without a staff of thousands of useless hangers
Now, some people may would say that I am completely biased
in support of musicians controlling their works and having
the final 'say-so' regarding any degree of execution of said
works. And, they would be 100% correct. And, I need cite no
more reason than an historical emotionally and financially
damaging campaign that has been wielded upon unsuspecting
recording artists ever since someone got the bright idea to
"help" musicians "make it." In fact, there
now exists psychiatrists and psychologists who specialize
in helping musicians overcome this particularly unique and
I will say it once more...unsigned musicians and recording
artists should take utter and complete advantage of the shaken,
traumatic and fractionalized "deregulation" that
is occurring in today's music industry.
As a result, I would like nothing better than to see the creation
of an organization that operates similarly to a major label,
in terms of proactive marketing and promotion, yet, is completely
owned and operated by active, real musicians, and not some
number crunchers or lawyers who, not only cannot distinguish
between an eighth note or quarter rest or, more importantly,
do not understand the psyche of musicians, and could not care
And, today, I believe that there are indeed enough business
savvy artists to, at least, get this process underway. Even
better, is the idea of musicians, who now run successful music
businesses, joining together to create this unique element.
I believe it is time for just such an alternative. Who knows?
In an effort to realize this dream, I may just consider starting
such a musician-run organization myself.
Love has an extensive background in both the Music and Writing
industries. Learn about the new services that he is providing
to unsigned and independent recording artists in response
to today's shaken and fractionalized Music industry by sending
an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org.