A quote from Steve Albini in the Sept/Oct 2004 issue of Tokion:
“Well, I think the ’90s created an artificial inflation of attention on music…I think that was a really bad cultural influence. Because it raised the possibility that bands could do that sort of music as a career, and I think that was a very destructive influence. Music is good when there are no consequences for failure, when people are doing it for its own sake. If someone is counting on it as a paycheck, then all of the reasons for doing it, and every single decision after that, becomes a questionable one.”
The same thing can be said about Shibuya-kei and Japan: the neo-Shibuya-kei crew are all convinced that they can make a living as musicians doing a genre originally created as anti-Jpop. At this point in time, the Japanese music business barely provides for anyone outside of the top mainstream level of success, and this in turn is just making the younger bands act more explicitly commercial, instead of the more reasonable alternative: giving up on the financial side of things.
I’ve been to way too many gigs in this city where the ticket prices are very high for completely unknown acts, and the overall focus is selling CDs and other goods in the stalls at the entrance. I’m not as dogmatically “anti-sellout” as Mr. Albini, but I do think that commercialism and self-marketing should at least be as hidden as much as possible to not interfere with the music. If you’re going to pander for money, at least do it with a quiet dignity.