Akerfeldt fears music is taken for granted

Opeth mainman Mikael Akerfeldt fears that the general public take music and musicians for granted.

And he believes that a traditional record label system is the only way new bands will find their way out of the cluster of self-powered acts who struggle to gain mainstream success.

Akerfeldt tells Music Business Facts: “It’s so hard being a creative person. You put out a product, and people throw the ‘sellout’ thing at you because you depend on some kind of income.

“It’s like, ‘You’re lucky to be in this position. You shouldn’t complain. Get a real job, just like the rest of us.’

“Which is fair enough – but I think people underestimate how much they need music. Once it’s gone…”

He adds: “It’s really difficult for bands starting out today to get their names out there. I think the filter that was provided by a record label back in the day was ultimately good.”

Akerfeldt argues that bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Kiss had to go through a process where they were compared against competing artists, meaning they knew what they had to deliver if they wanted success.

“Bands today start their own YouTube channel and put out their own record. But they’re fighting,” he says.

“They’re rubbing elbows with millions of bands – and quite frankly, many of them are shit. For a band who have something, starting out today would be very difficult. They’d be caught in that stream of shitloads of bands.”

Opeth continue to generate an income from their music, but Akerfeldt has considered what might happen if that begins to tail off.

“If the sales would go down completely, maybe I would actually sell out – who knows? I think I would have to reconsider my life and change it around completely. I would probably move away from music if that happened.

“I’d still write, of course, but I wouldn’t want Opeth to end up in that position where we just put out music to pay the bills.”

Earlier this month he argued that the band’s fans couldn’t be allowed to call the shots over their musical direction. Opeth appear at this year’s Bloodstock Open Air in Derbyshire on August 6-9.

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Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.