Bassnectar Talks Taylor Swift & The Money-Hungry Music Industry
Lorin Ashton, better known by a sea of adoring fans as Bassnectar, is not happy with the music industry. He's a man with a net worth of $20 million thanks to his bass alter ego, but he doesn't like the idea of his art being turned into a commodity, and it's the soul-sucking industry that he views as the main culprit behind everything wrong with music.
"There's nothing musical about the music industry. It's no more beautiful or special than the plumbing industry or the fucking military industry-—it's an industry. Many of the people who work in the central nervous system of that industry, are in it to make money and that's what [the music industry] exists to do."
Ashton thinks the music industry is only concerned about the industry part, shilling out commercialized music meant to sell a buck but not created to inspire or connect people.
"As an artist I've been screwed repeatedly and as fans you're screwed constantly.That's because of the music industry's disconnect of values. It doesn't exist to bring people together."
But Ashton doesn't think it's just the suits that are screwing over independent artists who are trying to bring their vision to life. He talks about a wider systemic issue of how our culture consumes music in general, and that it's the artist who gets the short end of the stick more often than not.
"Something I hear a lot of from the kinds of high school and college-aged average fans is an entitled right to download and own the music, often times justified, by 'oh, I paid to go to the shows' so i'm going to take the music for free."
But he understands piracy isn't the only cultural norm affecting the way artists make their living. Ashton touches on the concept of selling out, and the belief that if an artist is making money from their work, their integrity is automatically compromised by financial gain.
"One thing that people need to keep in mind is that an artist who has financial success isn't a bad artist. It doesn't matter. What matters is that if they're an artist you love you should be happy for them for having financial success, it shouldn't be anything to be ashamed of."
His own opinion about the concept of the sellout has changed with time, but in his earlier years it was a belief he held himself and had to cope with as he found success as Bassnectar.
"I would always cringe when it would say 'BASSNECTAR SOLD OUT' on the marquee. Every night when rolling into a town I'd see that and I would go 'No, I didn't!'"
In an unexpected statement, Ashton expresses his respect for Taylor Swift's recent stance against Apple Music, refusing to offer up her music for streaming until she felt a fair deal had been offered to her.
"I never really had a thought about Taylor Swift until she made that statement. Not only do I respect that, but I respect that she was in favor of the underground artists needing support. I think that it's awesome to see artists get paid for the music they make."