A New Year's Resolution for the Music Industry

Artist: Evanescence
Published: 2004-01-13

If there's a time to resolve to do things better, it's now. This year I am using Evanescence as my guinea pig, and to illustrate the resolution I'd love to see the music industry adhere to.

Evanescence scored very high on the charts this year. Everything was chugging along fine and dandy until it hit: "The Christian Controversy." After much speculation about the bands spirituality, former guitarist (who recently left the band unexpectedly) Ben Moody set the record straight during an interview with Entertainment Weekly. A few occasions of taking the Lord's name in vain, a couple of F-you's here and there and Fallen was suddenly recalled from Christian stores across the country.

Here's where the resolution comes in. Someone, somewhere along the chain linking Evanescence to its record label, isn't being honest. You see, if you're signed to a label that boasts some fairly popular and well-liked Christian acts, a certain amount of association is going to take place. If your albums are being sold in Christian stores, that's another reason to suspect that Christianity plays an important part in your life. Finally, if all you're singing about is salvation, seeing the light and, more obviously, God himself then calling you a Christian band seems a fairly logical thing to do.

So what happened? Were we lied to? Was selling Evanescence as a Christian band just a marketing scheme? Was the label "Christian band" alienating fans and short-changing record sales? It's a reasonable assumption, especially given recent world events that have cast an ugly shadow over religion in general. Or maybe Evanescence just lost their faith while touring. But why be so coy about it?

The truth is I don't think the majority of Evanesce fans care what faith, if any, is important to the band. This is why we love music, it's a universal language and it connects all of us, no matter which God we believe in. There would have been no big uproar had the band said "We use to believe but now we don't. Sorry." So why all the exploitation?

Evanescence was exploited; it's their sales that are going to suffer because of this silly controversy. Wind-up Records were exploited, and their reputation has taken a bit of a shot in the arm. Sony was exploited; now they have "that band who was Christian but now they're not" on their roster. And most importantly, fans were exploited. No one knows the truth of the situation and the whole thing smells of a marketing scheme gone wrong.

So here's my resolution for the music industry, pay a little more attention to what's really important: the music. Happy New Year!

Writer: Erica Basnicki

Photo:Frank Veronsky

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