I had the strange experience yesterday of being tagged in a Twitter post by a record label that is releasing a version of 24 Hours by The Chefs. Last week sometime, I had inadvertently 'liked' a similar post in passing, thinking at was a radio show but actually it's a reissue label that seems to have got hold of several people's tracks (including one by the Monochrome Set), without them knowing anything about it, and who plan to release them all next year.
Their Twitter followers are really excited, and one admonished me as though I was being churlish for noting that I didn't know anything about it.
Think about this: if you had been in a band that made very little money despite being professional for years, how would you feel if the songs that you had spent months writing, rehearsing, playing and recording were completely detached from you, and people were allowed to repackage and sell them, alongside merchandise that they have created themselves, and pay you nothing, without even asking if that was OK? Somewhere out of sight, a bunch of businessmen have exchanged contracts, shaken hands, had a beer and gone back to their huge houses in Surrey or Islington or wherever (and you can bet your bottom dollar they vote Labour), patting themselves on the back. And the people who will buy the records (known as 'the market' buying 'units') will feel as though they are interacting with the artist by buying another record for their collection.
Quite possibly some of the bands and artists don't mind, and in fact are delighted to be remembered. I am completely aware that I am not famous, and should also probably be feeling incredibly grateful for all the attention. I don't- I just feel as exploited as I always used to until becoming completely independent and DIY, or at least as much that as one possibly can be.
Have you ever tried to buy a loaf of bread and offered to pay with gratitude?
Or a bag of tomatoes and offered to pay with self-importance?