Sins of the music industry

With the recent bankruptcy announcement by Music World the last Canadian-owned retail music chain it’s more clear than ever that the music industry is in flux. Labels scramble to survive in a world of dwindling album sales and illegal downloads. Fast Forward recently spoke with Thomas D’Arcy front man of electro-pop act Small Sins (formerly The Ladies and Gentlemen) about the state of the music industry. The Small Sins are currently on tour in support of their latest album Mood Swings .

Fast Forward: There’s been a lot of discussion lately regarding the way Radiohead chose to release In Rainbows. What’s your take?

Thomas D’Arcy: I heard a rumour the other day that the numbers are in and 60 per cent of people didn’t pay for it. Perhaps if they didn’t do it the way they did 90 per cent of people wouldn’t have paid for it. At least all the people who didn’t pay got a quality version of the record. As an artist to know people are downloading shitty versions of my music just kills me.

It’s been said that the In Rainbows model could have a lasting impact on how bands distribute their music. As an artist what would be your ideal way to get your music out there?

There are still a lot of things that need to happen but to me it’s obvious that subscription-based downloading is the way to go. Make that teenager who doesn’t pay for anything right now pay like $8 monthly which his mom will totally do and at least we’re all splitting up eight bucks.

The Screenwriters’ Guild of America strike is also causing a lot of discussion. Do you think that unions in the music industry would be possible or beneficial?

The difference with the music industry is that we don’t really have that huge pool of money. (The movie) industry just keeps growing and the members of that club can reap the benefits whereas the club that I’m in is kind of going downhill. It’s not really a good time to strike.

It just brings to mind Standing in the Shadows of Motown and the story of the Funk Brothers who didn’t get any recognition for their work. Were something in place that kind of thing couldn’t happen.

That’s a different situation because they were a part of something that was bringing in a lot of money so they did get screwed. When that pool of money no longer exists there’s not really a way to screw a musician because he already kind of screwed himself just by deciding to be a musician.