What is Authenticity?
Authenticity is a word that means different things to different people but I think many would agree that it’s something that’s become a rather rare commodity in current music. Technology and marketing have come together to make it less common, maybe less valued, maybe just less noticeable or less important to some people. I don’t think they shot 3 different endings for “Gone with the Wind” and test marketed them to audiences across the country to see which one would go over the best…… they went with the vision of a great director. But radio stations don’t do that anymore, market researchers tell program directors to tell DJ’s what to play. Even on supposedly “indie” rock stations.
Labels don’t sign bands because they dig the band, they sign them because their research is done, i.e. their last indie record sold 20,000 copies. But is that why John Hammond Sr. signed Bob Dylan? Don’t think so. Publishers don’t even sign writers anymore because they like their writing, they sign them because they’ve already gotten some cuts that they can glom onto by offering them an advance. It’s no different than those ads on TV that offer to give you money up front so you don’t have to wait for that court settlement money that you have coming. Hmmmm. The best part is that on those people’s business card’s it says the word “creative” – with no quotation marks and no intended irony.
So maybe the business end of our business isn’t really interested in authenticity right now…. so it’s up to us. Up to us to create something authentic, whatever that means to us as artists. I guess it means NOT pretentious, NOT overly imitative, NOT calculated. I’d be interested in hearing what anyone else’s definition is. Hopefully it means something that you actually love and that’s the reason you did it.