With Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich having already criticised Spotify’s exploitative business model, James Brooks- formerly of Elite Gymnastics - has taken aim at a music industry he sees as “a safe haven for immature white men to act out their anarchic fantasies of hedonism and substance abuse.”
In a blistering tumblr post, Brooks railed against an institutionally sexist and racist industry, controlled by “coked out white guys”, that he says is damaging his experience both as an artist and “as a listener, and as a fan of music.” Brooks wrote: “i [sic] feel like my experience is also being fucked up by the way the industry is right now.”
“[T]he financial reality of the industry right now freaks me out because it doesn’t seem like it would support a lot of my favorite music,” he said.
He spoke of the experiences of women artists, who are subject to a set of demanding and demeaning pressures quite apart from those upon their male counterparts.
“does it bother you that like 5% of the acts playing coachella are female? do you think it maybe has anything to do with the fact that the people running the labels and agencies and management companies that regulate those platforms are controlled almost exclusively by coked out white guys who hover around young female musicians offering to “help” them and asking them to come back to their room in the same breath? people have done this to claire [Boucher, AKA Grimes] right in front of me.”
Boucher herself wrote a similar blog post earlier this year, in which she made it clear that she did not want to operate in an industry in which she was “infantilized” and “sexualized.”
The Canadian born artist has previously used his tumblr to highlight social inequalities in the industry; last week he posted a snippet of text that discusses the disparity between criticism of hip hop artists- many of them black men- and rock performers, the majority of whom are white.
Brooks- who released Ruin in 2011 as Elite Gymnastics- took his cues for the post from a Pitchfork interview with Zachary Cole Smith, in which the DIIV frontman elaborated on his condemnation of SXSW. Smith said in the piece that he felt his band was merely ”a commodity used by corporations to make their brand look fashionable, but then they used us to keep kids out of venues.”
“[I] feel like the only way you’re even remotely satisfied with the status quo is if you’re a white guy who’s comfortable with your privilege,” wrote Brooks. “[I]f that’s you, [I] am not on your side.”
Read the whole post on Brooks’s tumblr here.