18 January 2008
"Indie" Trap
A few days ago my artist page and songs were taken down from Nokia’s Independent Artist Club (IAC) website. (I ain't linking IAC.) Because I asked them to. I decided to do it because there were two things I found unacceptable with the site.

1. Bad vibes
Unlike many other sites that host music for free, the IAC site just gave me bad vibes. After putting up my music and leaving it there for about two or three months (it only started operating sometime last October or November), one day I decided to surf the site and check out the other acts who were on it. Bad idea. It was good that I did though. Otherwise I’d never find out just how unimaginative IAC was with the whole “indie” thing. God, sometimes I think that the whole “indie” marketing thing is a sham. For me, “indie” will always stand for doing whatever you want to do independently of a controlling agent or creativity-crushing commercial interest (or just simply independently funded) (but then again, is anything really independently funded?) just as “punk” stands for rebelling against the fascism of good taste (or should anyway). The IAC site is such a bad example of how sponsors with truckloads of money get suckered in by marketing agencies who (after doing their little surveys on yoof kulcha) tell their sugar daddies that “indie” is what kids are into nowadays. And then slowly but surely "indie" gets whored up for the job. Yet another attempt at lassoing potential consumers into some kind of consumer-based community. “Yay, let’s buy and download in the name of indie!” is empowering if it were initiated by the kids themselves, grassroots-style, but IAC’s approach is just so crass. Artists are pigeonholed, labeled, graded, rated, whatever, hogtied to the bandwagon. The only "indie" thing is that they ask artistes beforehand if they're signed or published. Being "indie" is a choice. Just because you're not signed to a recording deal doesn't mean you're "indie". Maybe I'm being too harsh. But "indie" for me has become a dirty word, like "democracy" (especially when it's uttered by goats in batik - but isn't that me? Damn.).

2. No customisation features
Unlike MySpace where you can fuck around with the layout and make it look as good or as bad as you want (though admittedly there are better platforms than MySpace for doing that), the IAC site offers nothing for artistes in terms of customising how one's page looks. Maybe if I knew a bit more about programming, I could’ve. Anyway, the worst worst thing was that when I decided that yep I didn’t want to have anything to do with the site anymore, I couldn’t find any button or thingamajig that I could press to self-destruct. I searched the site for an hour until it was obvious they hadn’t thought of putting the "close my account" feature in - at which point I decided that the site was truly fucked up. So I decided to write to the webmaster requesting for my page to be taken down. If IAC was really supportive of “indie” music, it would’ve given artistes on the site the choice to delete their presence without having to ask for permission. Anyway, they replied after about two or three days, asking me why quite sincerely. I replied “You suck!” No, I didn’t. I explained the two points to them (slightly different than the two points here) in a very stern tone I must say. LOL. After that I got another email replying to my two points, saying that they appreciated my two cents’ worth, and informing me that my artiste page (formerly http://web-iac.nokia-asia.com/malaysia?frame=/malaysia/artists/jkugan) had already been taken down. A Google entry for it still exists, but it leads to a “Cannot find the action you requested” page on IAC.

Such was my fruitless dalliance with IAC.

Next time I sign up for something, I must be more careful. Don’t fall into the “indie” trap!

Labels: , , ,