Norway’s ULVER have delivered one of the most thoughtful and biting statements about the dire state of the music industry. Life has not been easy for musicians and ULVER pulls no punches in their statement:
“THE ART OF DYING
“Look, the pay you have held back from the workers who mowed your fields cries out against you,
and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. (James 5:4)
“Wolves are withdrawing, once again, in order to evolve. The record industry is in trouble, and the panic in the business has resulted in severe depression for musicians worldwide. We have new offerings, both music and a medium, but first:
“Much has been said, on topics like crowd funding, file sharing, the death of the physical format as we know it. Answers are ambiguous, but one thing is for sure: musicians are required to consider the direct financial implications of their activities far more closely today.
“The top-heavy machinery, with their CEOs and managers and sales and marketing departments, is obviously a pricey one. When their expenses have been covered most of the money is gone, leaving the artists in the lurch. It seems a gross injustice, especially in a time where their manner of operation has become such an anachronism.
“We can no longer carry the weight of this museum, so we have once again (first time was when we established our own imprint, Jester) decided to take the matter into our own hands, in a way more autonomous than before. We’ve been prudent enough to make sure we own our own material – since Nattens Madrigal that is – which is not at all a given in this shady business, and which in itself has given us disadvantages when it comes to advances, percentages and PR in the past.
“The last five years the insidious disease that is the music business has really reared its ugly head. If you want to have your album manufactured, distributed and possibly promoted today it almost goes without saying that the label/licensee/distributor should have an unheard of allowance. But even more morose: a similar (disproportionate) cut off your digital sales and streaming income is expected. That’s after the bite of the Apple.
“It’s a sin. They don’t do any actual work for this money. Certain suits have started to demand cuts from the live earnings of their bands/artists as a premise for signing them. Our hearts sincerely go out to the younger generation of recording artists, as we’ve seen literal slave-contracts signed by the “up and coming”.
“It’s tragic really. Killed in infancy.
“If only the Richard Bransons out there would take their humanitarian initiatives to their own artists first, is a thought. The promise of good promotion does not bring bread on the table.
“And while we’re having a stab at the system: fuck iTunes, and Spotify et al., which is the same old story over again – oversized monsters, getting rich and mighty, while it takes years and lots of legwork for something, if anything, to come back to those who made the music i.e. their product in the first place.
“In selling out, ULVER has always opted for the lesser evils, and we’ve been in the groove with decent folks, VME and Kscope in particular. But given the context, it has to be acknowledged: we’ve made quite a few external people and/or companies a lot of money over the years…”
Read the rest of their poignant statement here.