Our VoiceCulture

Media Justice=Music Movement

George Garza • Sep 19, 2009

It’s been just over a year since I first involved myself in the world of media justice, and now is an appropriate time for reflection.

Prior to my venture into this pressing cause I was an aspiring musician attempting to maintain solid dedication to a craft many adults contest is a waste of time given our country’s sputtering economy.

Now, I can firmly stand as an artist in confidence. From the knowledge I’ve gained in the last year and the inspiration I continue to accumulate from focused progressives I meet, what I want to do with my life has been replaced by a much more important question; whether or not I will continue to have the opportunity.

In this lies my call to media justice and I would implore more musicians to do the same.

It’s obvious that the old music industry, built on profiteering through consumer manipulation at the hands of commercial music outlets (TV, print, and radio), is dying, if not dead.

The modern independent musician has revolutionary tools at their fingertips to produce, record, and distribute their music… for now.

Still, there seems to be a lingering blanket of indifference. Though there is clearly more music being distributed by unsigned artists now than ever and the relevance of commercial music “stars” has been destroyed, many don’t find reason to join in the push for justice in mainstream media.

My guess is that there is a simple lack of education on the matter. I myself have only barely scratched the surface after watching films like Before The Music Dies.

The fact that big business runs mainstream media and thus has had a stranglehold on the livelihood of the working class musician for some might seem like a no-brainer. However, for several generations, we have all been subject to the same corporate veil, and so it’s no surprise that a majority of independent musicians I’ve met rebel against even hearing about anything semi-political. Mentioning concepts such as net-neutrality, commercial radio monopolies, or underserved communities and their lack of a voice in big media will cause many to tune you out the same as they would the radio stations they are so firmly against.

So how do we organize our musicians to rally behind the movement for media justice?

What’s worked for me is seeing the change that took place once we learned how to earn, create, and distribute our own media. At the same time, while learning how readily available resources are, we find that the outlets available to us are too few.

1. we support those outlets that do exist
2. we rally behind this new cause, standing in solidarity with people around the globe to increase the number of “indie-friendly” outlets and expand upon those resources.

Turns out the media justice family is welcoming and always looking for more help.

For a musician, it’s a win-win situation.

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