So, what's the big deal about the name IrishUnsigned? Are we not all a little bit too old for all that crap?

Ever since IrishUnsigned was started in 2001 and officially launched in March 2002 we have been defending ourselves against insult and (to be honest) uninformed crap from a small handful of people in the Industry, based both in Ireland and the UK, and from musicians as well as non-musicians working in the Industry. Including, it has to be said, from a record label.

So, the deal seems to be that the word 'unsigned' means 'desperate to sell my soul to a fat-cat'. However, in no dictionary anywhere did I ever see that definition. The ony one that shows up on is "lacking a signature" but that's not really much use.

The main thrust of what we have been hearing, indeed insulted with, is that we are simlpy some sort of recruitment agent for major record labels, and the 450+ Artists on the site are all screaming out to be snapped up by suits. Well, it doesn't take a rocket scientist (just a little bit of brain and a few attempts to read) to realise that IrishUnsigned is populated by such a wide variety of bands, singers and assorted Acts that they simply cannot be tarred with the same brush. Besides, if we were to be such a recruiting agency for the suits, we'd be called PopStars Ireland or something. And we'd be mega-rich.

An IrishUnsigned band, to define the name, is Irish and Unsigned. Now, we tend to be quite open and flexible, so 'Irish' is defined as any Act in which one or more of the permanent members is entitled to hold an Irish passport. That means even anyone who has an Irish granny is allowed, whether they have ever applied for an Irish passport or not!

'Unsigned', by our definition, means 'not currently signed'. Simple, isn't it? But would have looked stupid. It does not mean "waiting to be signed", "Desperate to be signed", "willing to sell my soul to be signed". "Nor does it mean "Never want to be signed", "never likely to be signed", or "Completely against the whole idea of the political and philosophical purpose of being signed".

In short, we don't care. Couldn't care less if you want to be signed, sold two grannies to be signed or would happily chew off your own head before you signed. That's your business. Helping bands get information, contacts, exposure, advice. That's our business. Well, not business, because that would suggest we make money off it. We don't, we lose money. That's another story, though

So, 'unsigned' means 'not currently signed'. Do you see the flexibility in there? It could mean 'used to be signed', or 'about to be signed' or 'in between signings'. We also create a bit more flexibility and open-access by expanding our 'not currently signed' definition to read 'not currently signed by a major label or any of their subsidiries'. We even expand the term 'subsidiaries' to be - basically - only those that the majors have a controlling interest (over 50%) stake in. This means that bands signed to indie labels are fine, bands signed to their own label are fine, bands who have a publishing deal are fine, etc etc etc.

Why the anti-Major labels angle? Is it because we are anti-industry? Not in the slightest. Anyone who ever bought a guitar string, or a CD, or played in a gig is part of the Industry. What we are, is anti-control, and the Majors seem to be dedicated to taking control of every aspect of their Artist's lives, not just the marketting control, but the Artistic control and the Business control. If you take the time to read my article "What's the fighting all about?" you will get an idea of what my personal standpoint is. However, before you do, just to avoid the insulting repercussions I was faced with from one Industry 'insider' (who works for a record label), be aware of the use of irony/satire in the use of the term 'know' where it is used inside quote-marks. It's like when you ask someone "How do you know that?" and they just say "Everyone knows that", meaning they don't actually 'know', just heard it once and wanted to lick ass enough to believe it. A sad reflection of the state of rational debate in Irish music circles when I have to exlpain that, isn't it?

I personally believe in self-education in as much as is possible. I like to make my own mind up, and tough shit to anyone I don't happen to agree with. That's the beauty of human intelligence: very few things are set in stone.

To finish: IrishUnsigned is for Acts who have an Irish (or nearly-Irish) member and who are not currently signed to a major label or their subsidiaries. And we can't even be bothered checking! We believe in the fair and transparent disemmination of information, and we apply whatever limited resources we have - at any given time - to help progress the development of Irish artists and, hopefully, to impact the development of the grass roots Industry itself.

And we happen to generally like music.