Last week Stacy McCain noted a young lady named Alison Young doing a Buddy Holly Song on youtube and marveled how the technology allows her follow her dream (and build a large following of 50k youtube followers (aprox 49.3 k more than mine without the following hassle and expense:
Back in 1957, Buddy Holly had to travel to Clovis, New Mexico, to record in Norman Petty‘s studio, where “Everyday” was recorded as the B-side of “Peggy Sue.” You couldn’t just program a synthesizer (or use an Omnichord) for your backup track, either. You had to have an actual band to accompany you, or else pay studio musicians at union scale. Because the equipment needed for recording — what Marx would call “the means of production” — was so expensive, getting access to studio time usually required the support of a manager or a record company. Young musicians would generally spend years playing bar gigs and such before they could hope to get a shot at a recording contract. By the time the Beatles signed with EMI in 1962, they had been together five years, played every dance hall in northern England and done four stints as a house band in bars in Hamburg, Germany.
What the advent of cheap high-quality recording technology has done is to topple the barriers between musical talent and the audience. You don’t need a manager or an agent, you don’t need a record company, a studio, a producer, a contract — no lawyers, no paperwork, nothing — to be able to record a song, produce a video and upload it to YouTube where, potentially, you could become an instant superstar.
This is cause for celebration as it allows the audience access to potential articles that they might never hear. There is however one other aspect of this technological revolution that Stacy is missing and it’s a significant one. This young lady has gained a modicum of fame (and hopefully a small living) without having to subject herself to what would have been called in Hollywood the “casting couch”
Imagine if Miss Young was coming up in the 50-90’s. Imagine the groups of executives, agents, studio folks who were all empowered by their ability to give access , equipment or introductions necessary to give you a shot at the audience she now commands. How many might have demanded a less than honorable price for said access?
Think of how many names, big names, paid Harvey Weinstein’s price, or Bill Cosby’s price or Matt Lauer’s price or the prices of the hundreds if not thousands of other Weinstein, Cosby or Lauer wannabees of a lower level that if they couldn’t get you to the top of the ladder demanded their fee to get to the next rung?
Because of this technology Alison and many like her is able to bypass everyone one of those Weinstein wannabees and just make her music. In fact if she proves popular enough they might have to come to HER rather than vice versa.
This is an actual victory for the right of a woman to make the most of her life based on her talents outside of the bed and the real joy of it is thanks to the ability to produce this on her own she will not only avoid being their prey but might be able to happily produce her music without every knowing such people even exist.
What a blessing.