Nathalie has been nagging me for some time to recommend the movie "24hour party people".
It is the story of Tony Wilson, who founded the mythical label "Factory Records" in the 80's (Joy Division, New Order, Happy Mondays). His club in Manchester, callled the "Hacienda" helped spur the birth of acid house and the subsequent electronic music revolution.
The story plot always reminded me of JBoss, in a way. It could have been the way people got attracted to the same energy, the same project. It felt right. As they show in the movie, it may have been just 10 guys listening to the yet unknown "Sex Pistols" in a mostly empty room, it didn't matter, they knew they were part of something special.
The part that always haunted me at JBoss was the sobering lessons about copyright and how not to build a business around it. "The artist has the right to fuck off!" was a contract clause written in blood and beer on a pub napkin framed in their headquarters. FR simply did not own the rights to the artists work. This, in spirit, was very close to the OSS ethos on both the positive and the negative. Of course this led "Factory Records" to be worth close to nothing when came the time to sell the label to a mainstream label. They didn't own jack, not their artists, nor their work. They were a club cult and a phenomena but as the movie points out, the only people who made money were the dealers selling X at the bar.
They never made a dime, BUT they helped spark a cultural revolution. Seen in that light was that a fair trade? I call BS, why does it have to be either/or? why can't we have BOTH? The image of the starving artist still lingers in OSS mythology, that always bothered me. It is a romantic view that only leads to cynicism (see Nathalie's points about FSJ accusations of PJ).
Sure, we were going to work at our passions, sure we would spark an industry revolution, but we would also put the kids through school and pay our rents. By god, we were going to be responsible adults about it. And that was important to me and a lot of people at JBoss. That was how we wanted it.
On a side note, reading the daily mail from the UK in Majorca, I learned that Tony Wilson, now in his late 50's is having to hit up his celebrity friends to pay for the top of the line cancer treatment he needs. At least he has a good looking wife, that's for sure. Not all was lost.