Sunday 27 May 2018

DVD reviews

Niall Byrne

If there's one term used in and around the music industry most likely to induce severe teeth-gnashing and the loss of politeness towards others, it is the phrase "unsigned band".

No other phrase grinds my gears more, not even the recent American name for dance music – "EDM".

With the democratisation of musical control and the opportunities brought about by a little thing called the internet that I write about here every week, the landscape has been dug up and relaid.

There doesn't have to be a gatekeeper or a middleman to get that music out there any more. Technology makes things easier and cheaper to make a record; social media gets the word out to fans. Bands are no longer primarily obligated to attempt to throw themselves at a major or independent label.

The idea of a "record deal" is one entrenched in the fabric of the rock'n'roll dream. But now the idea of a band being unsigned just shows a person's lack knowledge that the game has changed.

Never mind that the heyday of the record deal was essentially a risk-heavy loan given to a band that they could potentially have had to pay it back for years.

And this is precisely why I adore the concept behind Any And All Records (anyandallrecords.com), the owners of which clearly share my gripe with the dogged use of that old-fashioned vernacular and are seeking to eradicate it altogether.

As it says in the title, any band can pop over to the Any And All Records website, fill in a form and before you can say, "Rick Rubin", they will no longer be "unsigned". As Any And All Records say "our record label obligates nobody to anything".

They won't claim any ownership on your music because the site exists explicitly to make the term "unsigned" go away forever and to get musicians, many of whom are still stuck in the old ways of record deals, to move on and embrace the present and face the realistic possibilities.

No to unsigned forever more.

Irish Independent

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