Anohni Slams Streaming Services, Regrets Selling “Drone Bomb Me” to Apple Music
Anohni has slammed Apple and decried the necessity of artist partnerships with multinational corporations in a new interview with the Creative Independent (a new website headed by former Pitchfork editor Brandon Stosuy, who conducted the interview). “The income streams of musicians have all been upstreamed into the pockets of computer corporations,” she said. “Sound recordings are little more than free crackerjacks inside every computer or cellphone that you buy.”
Musicians have been stripped of the ability to effectively sell our music as an object. Now we are being herded into all these shady situations. So, now, say the focus of your music is social justice—social justice becomes a big part of your ‘brand.’ You do some TV shows and get lots of followers on Twitter. As soon as you have enough followers, the corporations come knocking to rent out your brand, which they then turn around and use as a pheromone to sell their products. You use that money to make a music video and pay your recording costs.
But now your record has a logo for Nike or Apple on the back. Do we really want to front for these multinationals? It’s been such an insidious transfer of our agency. Having diverted our income streams into their own pockets, they now siphon the “lucky” ones back a tiny lifeline of resources to keep us going. And by taking the bait, our credibility is conjoined with that corporation and their business practices. It’s exhausting. You see artists hailed as a new generation of independents, only to be enlisted to leverage product.
It was an experiment and a challenge for me. The record companies can’t afford to advance the whole cost for making the record anymore, let alone pay for an ambitious video. So after a lot of hemming and hawing I agreed to work with Apple on the video. I wanted the video to have a wider reach, and only Apple could offer me the resources to do so.
No one got paid to do that video except the hairdresser. The whole thing was done basically for free, just to make a product that we were then obliged to rent exclusively to Apple for a fraction of what they would had to have paid for it if they had framed it as an advertisement, which is of course what it was, though I didn’t want to admit it at the time.
My being bought as a politically outspoken artist is a more potent advertising tool for Apple than a 100 more explicit ads. It creates the false aura for Apple of being cutting edge, of being artist advocates, of being innovative mavericks, of being environmentally friendly, of caring about people and communities, instead of being the McDonalds of consumer high tech whose wealth was largely pilfered from what was once a biodiverse music industry.
How brilliant is that? All of us pitching in as if we were working for a charity, and Apple, one of the biggest companies in the world, walks with an ad. I felt like a house cat that had been declawed. Those are the terms of engagement now in the music industry. We really get what we deserve. I am sure we are already at a point where we are forfeiting important artistic voices as a consequence of this.
Read the full interview here. In it, ANOHNI also discusses her visual art career, the Occupy movement, and the connection between climate change and capitalism.
Earlier this year, Stosuy interviewed ANOHNI for Pitchfork. Read that interview here.