Bob Vylan have called out the music industry for telling them their “scarily relevant” new EP ‘We Live Here’ was “too extreme”.
The duo – comprised of Bobby Vylan and Bobb13 Vylan – shared the record on Bandcamp today (June 5) in response to “the climate we are living in right now”.
Speaking in an Instagram video, Bobby Vylan explained the EP had been finished for “at least six months” but the band had struggled to find support for it within the music industry. “We’ve taken it to everybody – PR, magazines, blogs, radio pluggers, playlists, everybody – and they all said the same thing: ‘We love it, but it’s too extreme. The content and the topics that you’re dealing with are too extreme.’”
He continued to list some of the subjects broached on the tracks, including “police brutality, racism, the widening gap between the rich and the poor, and fearmongering in the media”. “There’s a Grammy-nominated artist from the US featured on this and they all still told us it’s too extreme,” Vylan noted. Jason Aalon Butler of Fever 333, who were nominated for Best Rock Performance at the 2019 Grammys, features on ‘Pulled Pork’.
“Now those same people told us ‘Black Lives Matter, hashtag change must come’,” he said. The musician continued to explain the band had decided to self-release it on Bandcamp and not put it up on streaming services like Apple Music or Spotify.
“We will not have our art – our art that in particular concerns itself with the fight against injustice, the fight against racism, the struggles of the disenfranchised, the struggles of minorities – we will not have that art devalued to the extent that it’s worth £0.004 a stream on a good day,” he said. “It’s not gonna happen. We will determine the worth of the art and that’s what we’ve done.”
Vylan added that the duo had decided to put it out now because it is “scarily relevant”. You can download the ‘We Live Here’ EP on Bob Vylan’s Bandcamp page now.
The music industry has been forced to look at how it profits from Black culture while upholding systemic racism after the death of George Floyd sparked protests around the world this week.
Earlier this week, The Weeknd called on Universal, Sony, Warner, Spotify and Apple Music to “go big and go public” with their donations to organisations tackling racial justice and equality. “No one profits off of Black music more than the labels and streaming services,” he wrote.