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IS BEING INDEPENDENT THE WAY FORWARD FOR UNSIGNED BANDS? A MGMT PERSPECTIVE

MGMT, a band most notable for their hits such “Electric Feel” and “Kids” have recently released a new track called “In the Afternoon” which I believe is one of their best tracks yet. What I would like to point out is their decision to become independent and how it may influence other unsigned bands to do the same.

The new single takes roots from their most recent album “Little Dark Age” but not as much in the pop genre as the style of songs on that album. You can just tell by this song; this is what they wanted to do without having someone at the top blocking their creative freedom. The single itself keeps that 80s vibe but in the more alternate style, in which I think what made the 80s a great period for music.

I’ve heard many stories of unsigned bands getting signed to major labels but for a cost of their creative freedom. I know it won’t be the same in all cases and I’m not saying the major labels don’t do it without a reason behind it all, I just find it a real shame that most bands can’t be signed for what they truly are. It would be great if the major labels more often took a gamble and believed in their recently signed bands to prosper on their own initiative.

Obviously there has been many acts who’ve gone from being on major labels to being independent, it was just MGMT what caught my eye. Their last album had a song called “Hand it Over” which sounded like it was the end for them, in truth it was the end for them being a classed as a major artist and instead rebranded into something what they can feel a true sense of purpose and freedom in.

MGMT are one of the many bands/artists who have took this stance and I believe this can be a much healthier way forward for unsigned bands. Not only for creative freedom, but also for a better experience of being part of the music industry.

When you see artists like Casey Lowry, doing it all independent and having the crowd and fan base he has, it is a fantastic spectacle to see and proves a point that you don’t necessarily need a major label to lead a happy and successful career in the music industry.

I suppose I could be leaving myself open to criticism for an article that is casting a critical view over bands that do allow majors to interfere or even dilute that bands sound. Luck was on my side for the “The Time Sellers” (the band I was in) to be up by DC Jam/Outro Records (USA Based label), a fantastic indie label that never tried to redirect or change our style. As someone that had five great years in a band, coming within touching distance of  a “top flight” label, if you were to ask me if I would swap my life now and give up some creative control, I would have to say “where do I sign?”