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Thurston Moore
Photo: Sonic Youth

Embrace the New Reality: Sonic Youth Insired by Friends Theme, Thurston Moore Makes Nice With Universal Music Group

By: Spacelab Research Staff
This is not one of those "fake news" stories. John Stewart is not here, that is not a headline from the Onion, and it is all really, really happening. Your alarm clock is not about to wake you from a dream.

But maybe this is a wake up call to a new media environment. One in which playlists on shuffle means unsimiliar songs bump into each other, seemingly polar opposite musical styles overlap, and indie labels seek a wider distribution network by working with the people that own the major distribution channels.

Thurston Moore brought to light this week that he has signed a deal with Universal Music Group to allow his Ecstatic Peace recording label to be distributed through Fontana, a distribution company owned by UMG. Thurston wants his Ecstatic Peace artists to gain wider exposure, and in today's media environment, the old gaurd of major labels still owns much of that ability.

So the first reaction everyone had seemed like ironic shock. But then perceptions mellowed. It just seemed to make sense. Let's not forget that Sonic Youth was once on Geffen Records, at the time a huge recording label. They often talked about how they kept telling David Geffen to sign bands like Dinosaur Jr and Nirvana.

And before all the indie kids cry foul, consider this: it's not what you do, it's how you do it.

The indie and underground labels and scenes have become a breeding ground and hotbed of talent, who now break bands before they go on to much wider audiences. The strange irony is that the indie labels don't usually have the spending power to distribute and promote the music on bigger levels, so, viola! The indie-major label partnership. The indie label owns it, the major label distributes it. More people hear it.

Where truth becomes stranger than fiction is when Thurston Moore told Rolling Stone this week that the music on the upcoming Sonic Youth album has influences like the Rembrandts (Friends theme) and Blue Oyster Cult (Don't Fear the Reaper). Punk ain't what it used to be.

And they're talking of plans to tour this summer with the Flaming Lips, in what could be one of the best tours of
the year...


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