Strange Boutique (February 2014)

My Japan Times column for February touched on a couple of topics I’ve written about before, in the issue of how pay-to-play works in relation to bands, and tangentially in the senpai-kohai dynamic that somehow still persists in the music world. The linking premise of young musicians graduating from university was something my wife suggested and once the idea had nested in my mind, it started to gather to itself various things I’d been thinking about in relation to my book.

It takes a pretty cynical tone, and people who’ve been following my column will perhaps remember that I’ve discussed the upsides of some of these problems as well. Looking at it from the perspective of a young band making its first baby steps in the larger music world, however, it really must be a pretty grim experience, and it’s clear from speaking to musicians over the years that they feel exploited and dispirited by how eager the gatekeepers to the infrastructure of exposure are to suck money out of them and how little the bands seem to get in return.

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