The Business of Theft: The Funny Numbers of the Music Industry

By Dr Jared Ball

Here is another strong breakdown of an artists’ exploitative relationship with the music label/industry. This short video helps with the basics of how an industry can reap tremendous financial gain while breaking the bank of the artist. We first saw it as a Tweet from Paul Porter but find that it also helps to expose as a lie the popular notion that artists go broke due to poor spending habits (the musical equivalent to the Black Buying Power mythology promoted more generally) and should be connected to broader arguments against a national/global so-called “underclass.” These myths of immature artist spending, “buying power” and of an “underclass,” all are part of a larger project of re-framing colonialism, capitalism and White supremacy as either non-existent issues or diminished in their capacity to harm the world’s majority. Similarly, I MiX What I Like! attempts to add depth to these issues by bringing them into that broader imperial context and to the level of ideology arguing that this is not as much about accumulating monetary gain as it is about manipulating popularity, cultural expression and image to justify the kinds of gross (and worsening) inequality in the world.