Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan attacks music industry "exploitation": "Think of all the people my generation has lost to addiction and suicide"

(Image credit: Paul Elledge)

Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan has criticised the music industry for its "exploitation" of artists and its lack of resources to tackle mental health issues. “I don’t know if you can be happy in the music business," Corgan says bluntly, "because the music business is sort of designed to mess with your head."

Corgan was speaking on New York’s WFAN Sports Radio, as a guest on the Boomer & Gio show, having announced his band's plans to return with a massive 33-track rock opera, Atum.

Talking about the music industry's failure to properly protect its talent, Loudwire reports Corgan saying, "I think the music business in particular has been very late to the game with mental health and artists. The NFL has figured it out but the music business hasn’t, because the music business is based more on exploitation, which goes back to more of its 20th century roots. I think the 21st century of the music business should be a legacy of finding artists young, fostering them and making sure that they go on to create great music for generations to come.”

“Think of all the people my generation has lost just to addiction and suicide alone," Corgan continued. "It is a travesty that there wasn’t more support systems around those artists. I don’t mean to throw shade at anybody. I just know how the business works. It’s one of exploitation.”

“Think of all the music that Jimi Hendrix didn’t make. We’re still talking about Jimi Hendrix 54 or 55 years after his death. I get lost in there because it’s so sad to me.”

According to Loudwire, Corgan went on to say that he feels "blessed" to still have a career in music, but adds "I don’t want to be on the other end of the casualty list."

Earlier this week, Corgan shared details of his band's forthcoming twelfth studio album, Atum, which will serve as the sequel to 1995's Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness and 2000’s Machina/The Machine Of God.

The album will be divided into three 'acts', with Act 1 scheduled to arrive on November 15, 2022.  Act 2 will be released on January 31, 2023 and Act 3, along with a special edition boxset featuring all 33 album tracks plus 10 additional unreleased songs, will be released on April 21, 2023.

Each track from the album will be released chronologically every week on Corgan’s podcast, Thirty-Three With William Patrick Corgan.

Listen to the band's new single, Beguiled, below:

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.