Garbage Frontwoman Names Biggest Problems With Music Industry Today, Explains How It Harms Musicians

There are two aspects of music. One is purely artistic, giving an individual, or a group, to express themselves the way they feel. It’s art in its purest form. Then there’s the other, the business side. Although automatically interpreted as “bad,” we cannot ignore it entirely as it gives these artists a way to make a living from what they love and to continue putting out works that we enjoy.

However, things get pretty complicated, especially with the business aspect today. Now that music is no longer something you sit down to enjoy, but rather have not-as-unpleasant background noise, there are things that are beyond our control. Sure, the business aspect is important. But if it comes down solely to business, the variety of music is lost and it’s all turned into a commodity devoid of all meaning. That’s what Garbage frontwoman Shirley Manson recently addressed.

Garbage - Only Happy When It Rains

Taking to her Instagram, she spoke up on the unfair treatment of smaller and new artists who are keeping things diverse and interesting. She attacked bigger players in the game for setting up the market so that already big mainstream artists can make a decent living. She said:

“Live music is under enormous strain. The average musician can no longer survive let alone thrive under the current conditions.

“We are seeing so many precious talents buckle under the economic injustice of a system that does not pay the creative for their artistic output.

“Everyone is vying for a handful of venues in order to make a small amount of money to tide them over until the next show, most sailing without a dollar of insurance. A large percentage of musicians that you know and love are likely living hand to mouth.

“Corporations are making billions of dollars off of their work and sharing none of the profits. This can not stand. We will lose a whole generation of young artists if it does.

“Let me put it to you another way: So many of the artists that we revere and hold dear throughout history would have been utterly destroyed by this system entirely. Musicians cannot survive without being paid fairly for their music.

“And if the live scene fails, the whole ship goes down entirely. All you will be left with is the main stream. No alternative perspectives. Nothing loud. Nothing dangerous. Nothing weird. Little that lasts more than one album cycle.

“That strikes me as a great sorrow for our culture as a whole.

“Please support the move to support legislation that is attempting to reverse this situation once and for all.

In the end, she also credited the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers for their work towards a fairer market. The ultimate goal isn’t to ruin the business model of hard-working mainstream artists but rather just set things up so that hard-working independent and smaller artists can reach potential audiences who would most certainly enjoy these works of art.

Photo: Thomson200 (2021 Shaky Knees Festival – Garbage (7))


  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.