Right money, wrong direction

It’s hard to argue against a benefit concert. Famous musicians coming together to raise funds and awareness for a good cause can hardly be a bad thing, right? However, when the concert benefits the musicians, something can’t be right.

Artists including The Eagles, Billy Joel, No Doubt, Sheryl Crow and Eddie Vedder performed Feb. 26 in Los Angeles on behalf of the Recording Artists Coalition, a group advocating legistation to ensure musicians get fairer contracts and better deals from record labels.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with musicians standing up for themselves. There’s nothing wrong with using all means possible to reach your goals and better your situation. If you’ve got the power, you may as well use it, but isn’t there a better use for such influence than bettering the situation of celebrity millionaires?

That very theme comes up in most interviews the member musicians give about the RAC, killing any sympathy for their cause. For some reason, the artists seem just a little bit sensitive about their wealth and fame.

"This isn’t a bunch of rich rock stars bitching about not making an extra penny on this or that," Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor told the Chicago Tribune.

"If they paid us what they were supposed to pay us, we’d have a hell of a lot more money than we do now," said The Eagles singer Don Henley on CNN.com.

Oh, cry me a river. Yes, Trent, it is a bunch of rich rock stars bitching. And sorry, Don, I don’t care you lost a couple million in your career when you’ve made more. Yes, it sucks you made a mistake signing a crappy contract 10 years ago, and it sucks that some bands get screwed over. However, it’s hard to care about the labour problems of millionaires with so many other worthy issues to grab one’s attention. There are hundreds of better ways to spend the $2 million dollars the group apparently raised than spending it on the 140 members of RAC. I’d rather donate to cancer research than make REM richer. I’d rather see funds go to fight AIDS in Africa than give Weezer more money. I’d rather do just about anything than give Sisqo a penny.

Arguably, RAC is just trying to get their message out, but, honestly, the people at those concerts were there for the music and not the issues. If you want to spread the word through music, make sure the word is worth spreading. There has to be something more worthy of such publicity than this.

When other professions have labour issues, they strike, walk out or quit. Nurses, teachers and transit employees take a personal loss when they try to improve their situation. They pay for their union and for their battles out of their own pockets, while the RAC members use the cash of their fans.

Some people may be willing to pay, but I’d prefer my few dollars go to a more worthy cause.

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