I posted a long rant last year about the evils of flyposting, and I pointed out that:
It’s estimated that illegal music flyposting saves firms around £8 million per year in advertising, and the cost of removing the posters comes from people’s council tax. Doesn’t it give you a warm glow to think that your Gran’s council tax is helping big corporations save so much cash?
I was talking about posters, which are bad enough, but a small record company’s campaign that’s currently running in Glasgow (and possibly beyond) takes things one step further.
The phrase “destroy rock and roll” is all over the city, not just on hundreds of posters, but on various items of street furniture such as telephone exchange boxes, on which it’s been spray painted. As the paint has clearly been applied using a stencil, it’s clear that the logo isn’t graffiti by an over-enthusiastic music fan; it’s part of a marketing campaign. Whether it’s the label itself, a third party paid by the label or a street team recruited by the label, it’s clear that the stencil campaign is a deliberate act of vandalism on behalf of a commercial enterprise.
As I wrote back in September, Something Should Be Done:
…go after the organ grinder and ramp up the fines dramatically so they’re as expensive as advertising, and use the money to pay for better clean-up squads to get rid of the posters that will continue to appear. And if it’s unclear who’s responsible – a common ploy is to talk about independent third parties who just happen to put posters up, it’s nothing to do with us, we’ve no idea why they’d want to promote our products or artists – then fine whoever benefits from the poster campaign.
…it’s become a multi-million pound industry, an industry that holds councils and the public in utter contempt, costs you and me a fortune and looks bloody awful. Of course companies should be able to promote their products, but not by flouting the law, turning streets into giant billboards and defacing the environment.
I’ve every sympathy for small, cash-strapped record labels who believe their artists should be heard, but ultimately record labels are businesses. If a local double-glazing firm was running around spray-painting ads on phone boxes we’d be outraged; we should be equally outraged when a firm in the music industry does the same.