Uh oh. The plebs are making anti-establishment art and building decentralized communities and zines to support one another, share information and engage in intelligent discussion and debate. How do you stop it? You've tried everything — putting parental advisory stickers on "problematic" albums, distracting them with lucrative major label deals, slapping fines on DIY venues who allow smoking and even convincing musicians that drugs are super cool and not bad....
But have you tried dismissing anyone who dares to think outside of progressive ideology as either transphobic, sexist or racist?
Who cares if some of the good ones get caught in the crosshairs, and undoubtably people who are actually up to no good got what was coming to them. But the point is — over the past decade or so, we now have rampant self-censorship. Anyone who dares step outside the allowable opinions has to face the consequences of weapons-grade character assassination. They've seen others have their careers destroyed and don't dare to step out of line.
Anyone who cannot stay current on the latest twitter arguments or moral panics are systematically taken down, for no real purpose other than they present a threat to the establishment.
The "laptop class" appropriating working class culture is more than just annoying. Indie rock larping as working class has created the illusion of indie music in particular being working class friendly... while simultaneously keeping the working class out. Pricing working class musicians out of the industry and censorship were the last nails in the coffin.
The entire time I worked in music, until the past couple years, I held a second job. This wasn't entirely uncommon, yet I'd say the majority of my colleagues and people in the music industry had some sort of especially helpful financial set up that allowed them to work a job that paid so little. This allowed them to work a job that essentially pays you in clout and records.
You can't feed your family on clout and records. Any serious person eventually realizes this at some point, and escapes.
The music industry refuses to innovate, but instead creates extremely competitive job openings to hire employees for jobs that computers have been able to do for a very long time. Not only are the vast majority of those working in music not paid well, but you will acquire no real transferable skills. If you work in music, and you talk to literally anyone who works in basically any different industry — they will likely laugh at you when you share details of any project you're working on, as the glaring inefficiencies are difficult to ignore.
Then, you have this same industry losing their minds about how to become more diverse, while only allowing participants that are ideologically aligned. How could decades of only hiring upper middle class staff — with the prerequisite of affording competitive unpaid or low paid internships in major cities, because let's face it, you're not going to get hired without one of those — how in the world could this result in a lack of diversity? How could a pretentious, condescending, self congratulatory industry completely incapable of self-reflection end up like this?
While pretending to care about diversity, the industry has actually stunted diversity that would occur organically from the universal joy music, collaboration and art brings all people. This problem then inevitably oozes into the roster. The people doing the A & R are stuck in a bubble — declaring themselves as the arbiter of all things creative, but operating in an echo chamber.
The tastemakers in charge lack the bravery to find anything truly different or challenging, since their livelihood, personality and self worth is closely tied to operating within the unspoken rules of what is or isn't culturally relevant. When the stakes are this high for an individual, it's impossible to take risks.
"We were better off with those guys than we are now with the supposedly hip young executives who are making the decisions of what people should see and hear in the marketplace. The young guys are more conservative and more dangerous to the art form than the old guys with the cigars ever were."
The entire struggling artist ruse completely falls apart now. It's becoming more and more clear that the majority of the music industry actually despises the working class. There is a complete lack of tolerance for those with differing views — but if your passion for music was genuine, wouldn't you keep an open mind? If music was so important to these people why didn't they fight for it when the government forbid it? How was it, exactly, that they were able to magically maintain an income while going years without touring?
Theres an entire swath of musicians that had to perform, it was life and death, it was a means to supporting their family and they also saw the value of the community it created. They were outspoken against mandates. They tried to keep performing. Yet they were made into villains by the people who could afford to stay home.
The people making actually interesting work — without fail — hold working class principals. Creation is working class. Struggle is working class. Creation requires struggle. The music industry is trying to squeeze all music into a bland box so they can control it, but it doesn't work, and it's not good.
Remove the working class from music and you effectively destroy music.
On a related note – Mark Crispin Miller describes the left's attack on the working class as demonstrated through their incoherent reaction to the trucker convoys: