Kesha and the economics of misery

boycott

A New York state judge has ruled against Kesha in her quest to be let out of her record deal with Sony due to sexual assault allegations against producer Dr. Luke. In the wake of the decision, some of Kesha’s fans have called for a boycott of Sony.

But a consumer boycott against the industry behemoth isn’t likely to do much.

For a boycott against a major entertainment distributor to have an effect, it has to be limited in time (a designated day, for instance) and well-coordinated. Even 100,000 people here and there refusing to buy Sony product will have little impact.

But even if it did, such a boycott would punish other artists who are also tied to the company via record deals they can’t get out of.

New artists refusing to sign a deal with the label might have some impact. However, in a world in which bidding for new artists isn’t that competitive, turning down a record deal is a lot to ask of anyone. And let’s be honest – every other record company would have done the same thing. It’s an industry-wide problem that isn’t going away anytime soon.

I applaud Kesha wholeheartedly for standing up to Sony. It’s not easy for any artist to do so, let alone one suffering from the trauma of working with an alleged rapist.

So what can we do to help artists stuck in oppressive contracts?

Well for one thing, we can stop downloading or streaming entertainment illegally. That put distributors out of business and stunts competition. We can also call companies out when they turn a blind eye to sexual assault, discrimination or harassment – and that includes paying women less than their male counterparts – such as when Fox purportedly offered Gillian Anderson less than David Duchovny for the “X-Files” reboot.

And if you’re in the industry, isn’t about time you stopped looking the other way in the interest of your own paycheck or the company bottom line? Because it shouldn’t be up to the consumer to prevent wrongful conduct. It should be up to all of us.

 

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About Jackie Fuchs

Fuchs’ television and radio appearances have included Crime Time, NPR, Huffington Post Live and The Insider. As Jackie Fox, she played bass with the '70s rock band, The Runaways.
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