Sunday, September 28, 2008

Blog Names: Star Maker Machine
The Music Biz: Free Man in Paris

Joni Mitchell: Free Man In Paris


Our music industry theme this past week explored what many believe is a dying model, one which is quickly being overturned by a more socialized, peer-to-peer model of music promotion and support -- that same model which justifies our own existence as a music blog, and which we perpetuate each time we proclaim our love for a song or songwriter in text, or provide a link to purchase an album.

As a counterpart to our exploration of the music industry, then, this week offers an opportunity for each of us to pay tribute to some of our favorite blogging peers by sharing songs which other bloggers have chosen as namesakes.

As we transition from one theme to another, I thought it would be a good chance to post our own namesake song -- one of very few songs out there to provide a sympathetic view of the lot of the record label executive.

According to Joni, Free Man in Paris was written on-the-spot while on a 1973 trip to Paris with her ex-housemate, entertainment mogul and then-president of her label David Geffen. Many of the song lyrics were direct quotes from Geffen himself.

Reportedly, Geffen begged her to take the song off the record, uncomfortable being portrayed as someone who only felt free far away from his desk, unfettered from his stateside life dealing in "dreamers and telephone screamers". And, to be fair, it's hard not to feel sympathetic for a guy working the starmaker machinery out of a love for music, who ends up finding that regardless of noble motives, working in the industry really means having to deal with people with suspicious motives claiming to be his friend, constantly "calling him up for favors".

That the song remained on Court and Spark despite Geffen's concern, of course, says much about how little power over the music itself even the highest executive holds. In the end, it is truly the system, more than any one person, which perpetuates the world of tension which holds artists and their representatives in chains.

Meanwhile, we aim to free it, one song at a time.

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