Taylor Hanson discusses his latest project: areyoulistening.com
22 November 2005
by Jessica Mealey
In the music industry there has been a dramatic shift in the ultimate control of music distribution and the way music is marketed. Big-time record companies aren’t concerned with artist development or fostering talent. They are interested in the business of numbers, commoditization and competition. Artists are being pitted against each other in hopes of selling more records, merchandise, or obtaining the ultimate honour of being featured on MTV’s “Cribs.”In Montreal, we are fortunate to have a supportive and thus, prosperous music scene where bands that are currently successful got their start—bands like Arcade Fire, Stars, Wolf Parade. Still, many musicians here and everywhere else go unnoticed because they don’t know or have the resources to put out albums, make contacts or the connections to get signed.Areyoulistening.com is a website dedicated to supporting independent artists and is designed to form an arena for artists and fans to connect and share their musical interests while staying away from the corporate nature of major labels. Some bands supporting the site include Broken Social Scene, Adam Green and David Garza.
The site was started by Hanson (yes, the blonde-haired boys who brought us “MmmBop” in 1997). While the band’s past success has no relevance to the nature of the beast that is “indie,” consider their situation and you’ll find a band who’s in a similar predicament as the most obscure band you know. Things have change for them too.
“Record companies are becoming so corporate that they don’t have any idea what their content is,” says Hanson. “We decided that a lot of labels were following the same pattern, so we had to just get completely out of the major label structure.” Between 2001 and 2004 the band—brothers Isaac, Taylor and Zack from Tulsa, Oklahoma—left its record label Island Def Jam and independently released 2004′s Underneath under their own label, 3CG Records. The album hit the Billboard Indie Charts at No. 1 in April that year.
“We want to help network and give independent bands, fans and labels a place to have resources and to help promote bands and local markets, connecting people to indie radio stations,” says Hanson.
Aside from developing Areyoulistening.com, Hanson travels the U.S. college circuit condemning the corporate structure of the major labels and mainstream radio, while emphasizing the importance of bringing music back to the basics and the need for artists and fans to retain control of the industry.
“Indie music can compete at a massive level,” says Hanson. “We just need to embrace it. We need to support the labels that are growing, that will be the competition because they are going to do it right; they’re already doing it.” There are labels out there that are doing it right; keeping their rosters small and putting energy into developing artists in order to ensure longevity. Arts and Crafts comes to mind, a label with nine artists signed, all of which are enjoying success and notable exposure.
“I want to be proud when my kids look at me and are like ‘what was it like to be there when Broken Social Scene was playing and what was it like to see Arcade Fire?’” says the father of two. “I can see the end result. I can see these future great companies who are going to be powerhouses but doing it in the right way and the independent music scene becoming more of a breeding ground for great bands.”
Source: The Link