COLUMN: Aaron Osborne (I Exist) presents another entry in our column series where we give musicians freedom to offer a unique, personal and individual voice.

Today, I Exist guitarist Aaron Osborne delivers the July entry in his monthly column.

The musician touches on the complexities, and sometimes excluding nature, of music based on financial status.

“Non Conductive Negative Reasoning”

A good friend of mine showed me an article recently that featured excerpts from an interview with a very popular (and wealthy) metal musician who was talking down and basically insulting a group of England’s middle class claiming that they weren’t suited to, or didn’t fit into the mould of a particular British Music festival, and essentially that they were too posh for it. I don’t really want to go into bitching about this person nor the article, but it is just my jumping off point for the next couple hundred words of my opinion – that this is stupid, and really working against what I hope people take away from music, especially in the alternative music scene these days…finances shouldn’t matter, music and peoples like or dislike for that music should.

I have spoken in the past on this website about my distaste for musicians money-grubbing through crowd funding and people giving other people grief about their likes and dislikes in music, but this just seems ridiculous to me. At what point did it become up to musicians to decide who can or cannot attend a music festival, due to their personal or families’ socio-economic status? Now, I for one will be the first to admit, I have whinged at length in person about the price of entry for particular music performances, yet upon thinking further, realise the costs that go into such events and how this money is used for good (IN SOME CASES, I KNOW THERE ARE DUDES OUT THERE JUST GETTING RICH OFF GIGS, EVERY BODY CHILL), so from time to time, wish that I had access to more funds to help pay for every thing I wish I could go to, but that doesn’t mean if I am playing those shows, I am allowed to call out people who have money and can afford to go, and get cranky at them.

The financial side of the music industry is one that will always be fairly complex, hard to understand and sketchy at best, but the music that these musicians are creating and performing (hopefully) isn’t generally being created solely for financial gain, but for personal creative output and entertainment for an audience…who paid their money to come and see it. So how in this chain, does one get the right to judge who is allowed to see them play, based on how much money they have in the bank? To me, this is just as bad as saying someone can’t come watch you because of the shoes they have on, who cares? I, like a lot of people come from a fairly well off background, with parents who have busted their asses to earn the money they have, and have taught my siblings and I, that we too should bust our asses and work as hard as we can to be as successful as our personalities and drive will allow, but this doesn’t mean when I perform music in front of people I am going to inform anyone with a yearly earning of under $60k they have to leave the room.

I think once again as my previous columns have led to, I don’t really understand how a lot of musicians who have heaps of fans, success and finances, are in a position to bitch and moan, ask for a handout or judge the people who have helped them get to the place they are today. I know the world isn’t perfect and every musical scene will have its assholes, but if anything, all I can hope is that by some people shedding light and voicing an opinion on this stupidity, it stops other people from saying dumb shit that makes people who are nice, and work hard to please people that like their music, get the recognition and acknowledgment they deserve. If you don’t have much cash, but you’re spending it on seeing a band, good on you, if you have a bucket load of money, and you’re spending it on seeing a band, good on you too and finally if you play in huge band, have a shit load of money, stuff and an awesome career, GOOD ON YOU, just don’t be a prick to those people who are keeping you in that lifestyle and who without, you wouldn’t be able to play to at all. Money isn’t everything, and judging people for how much they have is about the dumbest shit I know.

After all of this, my band is playing shows soon, come and hang with us, enjoy some music, and spend your hard earned dollars however you would like – I will be wasting mine on having fun, I hope you do too.

– Aaron Osborne

Do you agree, disagree or maybe just have additional thoughts? Let Aaron (KYS username: AaronOsborne) know in the comments below.

I Exist support High On Fire in Sydney this July.

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