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Common – Gael.The White Stripes – The Hives.Beck – REC.

If you’ve heard of any of these artists, chances are it’s the first of each pair.And while there are many varied reasons why that might be the case – from forces both internal & external, subjective & objective – there’s one MAIN reason that all of them share.

Commerce, politics, and even social constructs all run by majority rules.The more popular and profitable something is, the more popularity and profit it amasses.The bigger something is, the bigger it gets.There’s very little concession made or attention given to those things and people who control and consume a smaller piece of the various pies.

In music, this rule – which I call “the tyranny of the many” – manifests in a couple of ways.The most obvious is that artists who aren’t as popular and don’t have as much money/power to determine their own destinies have always naturally been lesser known, obscure, even completely unknown.The other is that bands whose careers did once skyrocket to fame often end up toiling the rest of their careers in relative obscurity, paid attention to by only the most loyal fans. The result in each case is that attention and resources are distributed so wildly unevenly, that the artists who make money and headlines are awarded more of both, and the artists who don’t have to struggle for every penny and every scrap of recognition.

So whose fault is this?EVERYONE’S.We’re all guilty.The music companies.The streaming services & radio stations.The distributors. The advertisers.The media.And yes, the fans.We all discriminate – sometimes deliberately, more often without even knowing it.We’re all lazy and scared.We cling to the safe and comfortable, and assume anything outside of that bubble is in some way worse and in all ways not worth our time, attention, or dollars.

And it’s no conspiracy.It’s happening openly and in plain sight.Companies & streaming services & distributors & advertisers deliberately choose to dedicate disproportionate resources to the already successful, or acts who are enough like the already successful to cash in on a trend.Why wouldn’t they?It makes them easy money – though not as much as they could be making if their resources were more evenly distributed.The media choose to cover the hot artists to the almost complete exclusion of anyone else.And why wouldn’t THEY?We the fans get excited by big things, big news, big successes, so we gobble up both the articles & reviews & posts & content all these power players spit out.We rarely complain.There’s no reason for them to change tactics because we all tacitly agree that it’s the way things should be – either by cooperation or silence.

Yes, there are exceptions to all of these.There are smaller entities in each category who champion the obscure, who try to shine bright lights on artists who deserve more attention, who put as much money & power behind that push as they possibly can.And there are tons of fans who actively seek out lesser known artists, who bounce out of algorithmically crafted playlists to hear what else is out there.Who consciously or not are bored of the sameness the power players present us.

For all of these champions of the lesser known, it’s an uphill battle, one that’s been waged since forever.But things are way weirder now.In every facet of the world, things and people are factionalized to a harmful degree.Ideas and people are categorized beyond direct connection to anything or anyone else.The people with more power & money find it easier & easier to get even more power & money.The so-called “natural” disproportion between the haves and have-nots is at an all-time high.Whether it’s money or work or food or living conditions or health or politics or intellectualism or art, there are giant chunks that are atrophying from neglect, while the powermongers suck up the whole rest of the world.

Which is exactly why more organizations and thought leaders and PEOPLE are fighting back.We’re getting sick of being ignored, marginalized, mistreated, abandoned.We’re getting sick of losing more of everything all the time.We’re getting sick of hearing the same voices shout the same hate with the same results.We’re getting sick of seeing the same actors, reading the same books, hearing the same songs by the same creators.We’re creating our own version of the world.We’re telling the world the story it needs to hear.We’re fighting factionalization with EQUALIZATION.We’re finding ways to be both individually our fullest selves and more fully connected all at once.Our efforts haven’t destroyed or dismantled the tyrannical power structure of the many, and may never will.But they force attention.They force change.And even the smallest change adds up.

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