a good many years ago, godspeed you! black emperor put this on the back of their album 'yanqui uxo'.
the flow chart shows that every major record label is a subsidiary of a weapons manufacturer. they were roundly mocked for being naive. the point they were trying to make wasn't that military contractors are force-feeding us pro-war music in a nefarious effort to accomplish... something. the point was, simply, that major record labels are amoral, joined at the hip to an industry of mass death; companies have no values, and as a musician, you can do better than to let them be the ones who feed you.
this is "naive" because survival is the ethic of any musician, and only in movies do people turn away money because of principle. cut to present day:
fleet foxes, the hottest shit in the universe for the moment, will be performing on saturday night live this weekend. usually it takes a while for a "cool" band to end up on SNL. (modest mouse weren't allowed on until they wrote "float on".) even more usually, saturday night live's stage plays host to ashlee simpson, justin timberlake, perhaps mudvayne.
last winter, vampire weekend played SNL mere months after their album was released. now it's fleet foxes' turn. NBC is owned by GE, the third largest military contractor in the history of the world. what's my point?
bringing it back to godspeed, they would never be invited to play saturday night live, nor would they be likely to accept such an invitation, were it ever to be extended. is this because they are better people? no. it's because they are better artists.
if GE doesn't mind pimping your music, you're probably playing something the suburban dads of this country can get behind. i, for one, believe this means you suck, out of hand. fleet foxes suck. vampire weekend sucks. (glad i got that out there)
when i was working in a record store in san francisco, we had one section called "indie" and another called "rock". a co-worker tried to move vampire weekend from the former to the latter, since the promotions blitz our employer was engaging in cast serious doubt on the independence of vampire weekend's operation. (story continues in next paragraph)
did you know that record labels send assholes around to record stores in order to make sure that their shit is being pushed with appropriate enthusiasm? they do. it turns out, vampire weekend was in the "indie" section because of a financial arrangement between my record store and their distributors. ain't that a kick in the teeth?
long story short, "indie" bands who get put on saturday night live to promote their debut record are not "indie". they are "corporate", like "christina" aguilera.