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Separating Popular Music from Capital

J.P. Williams
1 min readNov 17, 2023
Photo by Mike Erskine on Unsplash.

Radiohead’s Kid A (2000) was the first time I noticed the tension between anti-establishment music and its capitalist means. Railing against conformity, consumerism, globalism and other totalizing forces — ten thousand invisible hands at this point — only carries so much weight coming from artists who are multinational, multicorporate entities making as much money as possible through recordings, touring, merch and more. Folk heroes, indies bands, underground darlings . . . Punk rockers, rappers, one-man black metal nihilists . . . The hypocrisy isn’t always malicious, because the system leaves few options, but we shouldn’t delude ourselves that it doesn’t exist. I sometimes wonder if we wouldn’t all be better off abandoning mass-produced music in favor of learning instruments and playing for ourselves and those in our company.

Note: I wrote this for Medium.com. If you are reading this on another platform, it has been pirated. I quit the Medium Partner Program, so I’m not doing this for money. It is nice, however, to know someone’s reading, so please clap or comment to let me know somebody’s out there. Gladius adhuc lucet.