Voices Of The Underground Pt.4


Several weeks ago One21 Music posed fifteen questions to a number of music artists in the Christian music scene, ranging from the light-hearted to the deeply spiritual. We received many responses, some very helpful, and some…. not so much. Some of the answers were short and sweet, some were extensive and eloquent. Many expressed frustrations with the current landscape of the music industry, while others were hopeful for a future of uncertainty. We heard from guys who had been performing for years, and bands that are just now starting to get their names heard. From indie rock to hip-hop, from hardcore to worship, the Christian music scene spoke back to us.

Realize that these answers are by the people making the music that you are listening to, and these are un-edited and real. The opinions expressed don’t always reflect ours, but we aren’t perfect, right?

Need to catch up?
Read Pt.1- What Do You Love About Music?
Read Pt.2- What Are Some Of Your Favorite Albums/CDs?
Read Pt.3- What Is The Best Thing About Making Music?

This week we start to brave more serious territory.  In the last ten years, we have seen a dramatic turn in the music industry as a whole. With the birth of companies like Napster, iTunes, and a rise in interest for more independently made music, the whole model of how business works concerning music has been spun on its head. The music industry, be it the Christian market or mainstream, is no longer what it used to be. We asked out artists what they thought, and their answers were….well, see for yourself:

What is your opinion of the music industry today? What has changed? What NEEDS to change?

johanna fellow Johanna Miller (keyboardist/singer for South Pawl pop/rock band Fellow) Fellow
The music industry doesn’t always make sense to me. My band (Fellow) has played with so many talented musicians that work hard but they don’t ever make it to the next level they’re striving for. Then you see bands that have “made it” and they don’t even realize how blessed they really are for being given that opportunity.
I wish there was a better way for artists to do what they’re called to do without having to work three jobs and then be expected to perform for free because it’s a ministry.

amycourts Amy Courts (independent pop/folk artist)                                      Amy Courts
I think the music industry, in general, is in the midst of both its worst and best times. Major Labels are fighting to survive, and the Machine is breaking, and yet they still control so much of the radio waves and distribution outlets. Add to that the “American Idol” culture which can make anyone, talented or not, a worldwide superstar overnight (and giving them a piece of the pie earned by artists who’ve spent years working hard to get what’s been arbitrarily given away), and you’ve got a pretty ugly business market that doesn’t favor the bottom-rungers at all. In that way, it’s discouraging, because it’s back-breaking to try and fight a way through to make this lifestyle sustainable. But on the other hand, with the advent of internet technology and online forums and free web communities and download outlets, it’s never been easier for independent artists to build a fan base, tour the world, produce and sell merchandise, and remain totally independent and in control of their art. We don’t have to sell our souls to get somewhere anymore.

hylandjon Jon (lead singer/guitarist for independent pop/rock band Hyland)            Hyland
I think the biggest thing right now is that CDs are still the main medium used to listen to music. It’s a 10 year old product!!! When CDs came out we were still watching movies on VHS. Now we’re not only pushing beyond DVDs we’re well into Blu-Ray. My point being is that to keep music competitive in this market, we need something new. A high-def way to listen to music would be a good start. And also getting people away from the mindset of ‘i just want LOTS of music’ instead of caring about what music they have is something that needs to change.

inhaleexhalejohninveryback John (guitarist for Solid State Records metal band Inhale Exhale) Inhale Exhale
I think the music business is the worse business to get into. With Myspace, music has open doors for some very good bands, has closed the door on some, and has created a pedestal for some terrible bands with no talent. Music has also become a trend in it’s self. It’s now a fashion statement. Some people don’t care about what they are listening to, they just care how someone looks. I think integrity has left the scene. It’s sad.

runkidrundavidoneinhat David (lead singer/guitarist for Tooth & Nail pop/rock band Run Kid Run) Run Kid Run
I think it has gotten better of late… bands are way more independent and can easily make an impact without a label. Which I thing is a good thing.

dirt DIRT (underground hip-hop artist and founder of Shadow Of The Locust) Dirt
I have too many opinions about this to express here. But in my travels and experience, the Secular Music Industry needs to wake up and stop peddling smut into our minds and hearts (people are dying, literally, from the foul messages) and the Christian Music Industry needs to stand up and support the front line musicians trying to spread Good News (stop letting the world steal our creative idea’s and call it their own).

corpuschristijarrodinfront Jarrod(guitarist/singer from Victory Records metal band Corpus Christi) Corpus Christi
It’s in a unique state. Everything has changed, and the industry is scrambling to catch up with it.
The next change needs to be the death of Clear Channel. An industry without them is something I would love to see!

christaylor Chris Taylor (BEC solo artist/song writer)                                          Chris Taylor
Not sure, people want music and they’re getting it, seems pretty solid now in that regard. People are getting so much so quick and so cheap. Not sure that kinda model is good for any people group. Savoring is good once in a while.

sethinfrontendervence Seth (singer for independent hard rock band Endeverance)             Endeverance
My opinion on the music industry is that it has lost its genuine quality…I mean you look now it’s all about the popstar and not about being the artist, it’s about selling records and not making amazing art…I mean you look at American Idol all the other stupid Idol competitions, and my personal opinion is that they have ruined the music industry…Yes great musicians and artists have come from these places but the way winning is advertised on these shows is that it is all about being a star. And I just look back and see like Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and The Beatles, and it wasn’t about being a star it was about writing what you had on your mind and making the best music possible…And what needs to change is that the record companies have to quit prostituting all the artist’s and their music…I mean just get behind an artist and let them write a great song…Not maybe a hit song but a song that can strike a chord with the people and not just another useless pop song…

bryanblondstreakabandon Bryan (bass player for Forefront Records pop/rock band Abandon) Abandon
In short, the industry has really gotten itself in quite a bind. I do believe however, that we are on the upswing and things will be getting better soon. Digital music, Myspace, Purevolume, and illegal downloading have changed the music industry drastically. People need to buy more stinkin’ records!!!

brookewaggner Brooke Waggoner(solo indie/pop artist on SlowMoon Music)                 Brooke Waggoner
Honestly, this question keeps getting tossed around so much, I think it’s time to adjust, adapt, and do the best you can. I think the changes are fairly obvious (people don’t buy as much music anymore because it’s information overload now. Too much to sift through) So, this in turn makes bands/artists get more creative which is kind of cool in my opinion…

brandonsayyouwill Brandon (bass player for independent pop/rock band Say You Will)
The music industry is dying and musicians are essentially fighting to survive amidst the corpses. No one buys anything except for merch and tickets. Even then, if you aren’t signed you won’t have to exposure to sell thousands of tickets, but labels are signing less and less because they’re slowly consolidating. It’s a real catch 22. What needs to and will happens I believe is a brilliant person will come along and restructure how this whole industry works, and that is what will save it and aid it in growing.

daveleftpoorlybuitparachute Dave (half of Holdfast Records electro-house duo Poorly Built Parachute) Poorly Built Parachute
Here is what I believe, unless a big-wig record label is ready to offer you real money, a salary, not bull crap, then stay independent. I think it’s retarded that bands sign over the rights to their music forever merely on a gamble that they might make a dollar here and there. A lot of labels look for ways to screw bands. I’d rather stay indie and keep music on the DL rather than sell my soul and end up in debt to a label.

echocastbandwb8David ( singer for independent nu-metal band Echocast)                   Echocast
I think the music industry is hurting today… Labels don’t develop artists anymore, they try to push out that one radio single and then let the artist die… Downloading has killed record sales and high fuel prices have hurt touring bands that don’t have huge label support…

mahoganyjones Mahogany Jones (independent hip-hop artist)                                      Mahogany Jones
So much about the music industry has changed. It used to be where labels believed in backing and putting out good music and supporting great musicians and artist, but now so much of the music industry is a machine that’s centered on making money, no matter if the music that’s being released is exploiting a generation. What’s new about the industry that’s kind of cool is that because of the digital age, a lot of great musicians can independent of a record label deliver their music to the people minus the filter of the Industry. What needs to change… sigh, it’s not necessarily the industry but the people that need to change. If consumers took more of an active role in deeming what they considered worthy of consumption, it may help in dictating what gets released.


  1. [...] often, you may recognize the band name because their bassist, Brandon, has been contributing to our Voices Of The Underground series we have going here every Thursday. For Fans Of All American Rejects, Fall Out Boy, and [...]

  2. [...] we have been keeping up with her. Brooke has also been one of our most consistent faces for the Voices Of The Underground series we have every Thursday on the site. She has met critical acclaim for her debut full length, [...]

  3. [...] Some Of Your Favorite Albums/CDs? Read Pt.3: What Is The Best Thing About Making Music? Read Pt.4: What Is Your Opinion Of The Music Industry? Read Pt.5: What Impact Has The Digital Age Of Music Had On The Industry? Read Pt.6: Who Is Jesus [...]

  4. [...] Some Of Your Favorite Albums/CDs? Read Pt.3: What Is The Best Thing About Making Music? Read Pt.4: What Is Your Opinion Of The Music Industry? Read Pt.5: What Impact Has The Digital Age Of Music Had On The Industry? Read Pt.6: Who Is Jesus [...]

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