I was recently dropped by Capitol Records as part of the collateral damage swirling around the Virgin/Capitol merger. I was not surprised, as you need to be acutely aware of sharks when you decide to swim that far out in the ocean, and had been expecting this strange and fun experiment to end almost from the day I signed the dotted line. People like me aren't really supposed to flourish in environments like that, but it was worth a shot, and I definitely gained and learned much more than I lost over the course of my time with the label, and would like to thank the people I worked with there for treating me well and making my transition a surprisingly smooth and rewarding one, both at the outset and ultimately at the end…
…I hold no ill will and harbor no grudge against Capitol Records; I'm thankful I had the opportunity to make a record I love with a producer I've long respected and admired in studios I'd read about but never expected to track in. I'm thankful for the initial faith and realize the 'they' that brought me in and worked closely with me for the past year and a half were largely turned over, and so not the same 'they' that ushered me out.
I also see nothing but naivety and futility in being personally offended by business decisions that I see as symptomatic of not only an industrial but a global systemic illness: profit over people. It's a board meeting, about stock options and the bottom line, not a humanitarian awards dinner or a gallery opening. That's not exactly, or rather only, the fault of Capitol Records, or Virgin, or EMI; it's the rules we exist by in a system that encourages accumulation and high profit margins over, er, human dignity. I'm lucky to be in a line of 'work' from which I can relatively easily rebound and keep moving; I worry for some of the people I worked with at the label and, more broadly, for normal working people not in a glamorous field like rock n' roll marketing who have to figure out how to maintain a living wage in a minefield of layoffs and cutbacks and outsourcing and all other manner of shorthand for sitting handcuffed while your options get dwindled against your will so some dickhead blueblood can walk away with your benefits and pension plan folded into his healthy severance package. No wonder we're all so anxious all the fucking time.
As for me: I've sold 3,000 records in 4 months, roughly, with very little help, and nothing at all in terms of a proper 'label push.' I've gotten to tour consistently since June 2006 with a wide assortment of cool and interesting musicians across a broad range of genres and approaches. I've gotten some slight financial security (for the time being) and I got to pay my friends to come out and play and record, for the first time ever. The press has been kind, college radio has been kind, promoters have been kind, and the amazing and dedicated fans I'm lucky to have pre-date my flirting with the bright lights anyway, and I know they'll be around whether I put my records out myself or choose short-term selective amnesia and sign with J Records tomorrow (omg jk).
That's hugely successful to me; the most successful I've been to date, and I plan on continuing to work my ass off and tour and play these songs for as many people as are willing to hear them. So that's that. More to come as it develops, but for now, I'd rely on getting out to a show or iTunes and amazon.com if you want to order a record, because I don't think you're going to find them in a store.