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Music Industry

The Hypocrisy of the Music Industry

I’m keeping this one short.

We all know what a senseless act it was for George Floyd to die the way he did. Now every corporation and industry is standing up against racial injustice.

On Tuesday, June 2, a number of music-related organizations and companies participated in the Blackout Tuesday to show their support for the racial injustice. These included musical instrument companies like Gibson and Epiphone, and perfromance rights organizations (PROs) like ASCAP and BMI.

Fine, but what are they doing to help those smaller businesses that have kept these companies and organizations in their high-rise towers over the years? NOTHING. Hundreds of restaurants and boutiques were destroyed in the ensuing riots. These shops and restaurants have paid fees to the PROs over the years as royalty payments. If these were not paid, most likely the businesses would be fined or closed down. Now that these businesses have been ruined (on top of the months that they were closed down due to the Coronavirus panic), the PROs are doing NOTHING to help out. But, if these restaurants and shops are able to open up again, you can rest assured that the PROs will be the first people knocking on their doors to collect money.

In Emeryville, California, a Guitar Center was vandalized and looted of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of music equipment. Looters were seen carrying two guitars at a time leaving the destroyed store. Guitar Center stores are also known for selling other people’s equipment on consignment. I am sure that there were a few pieces like that stolen. What are Gibson and Epiphone doing to help out the store? NOTHING.

Think about it.

While you are thinking about it, remember David Dorn, Dave Patrick Underwood, Chris Beaty, Italia Kelly, and about a dozen others killed during this past week’s riots. Also keep Las Vegas officer Shay Mikalonis in your prayers. He was deliberately shot in the back of the head by Edgar Samaniego during violent protests in that city and is still in critical condition as of this writing.

Chew on it and comment.

6/7/20 Addendum: Now keep the family of Santa Cruz County (CA) officer Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller in your prayers. He was shot and killed yesterday (along with two other officers being injured) in an ambush set up by Steven Carrillo.

By Matt Merta/Mitch Matthews

Musician and writer (both song and print) for over 30 years. Primarily interested in roots music (Americana, bluegrass, blues, folk). Current contributing writer for Fiddler Magazine, previous work with Metro Times (Detroit), Ann Arbor Paper and Real Detroit Weekly, as well as other various music and military publications. As songwriter, won the 2015 Chris Austin Songwriting Contest (Bluegrass Category, "Something About A Train," co-written with Dawn Kenney and David Morris) as well as having work performed on NPR and nominated for numerous Detroit Music Awards.

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