Scissor Sisters, the NYC-based band that is currently red-hot in the UK, has shot itself in the collective foot (feet?) as a result of lead singer Jack Shears’ accusations that U.S. record stores charge exorbitant fees for CDs.
Regardless of whether one agrees with the statement, communications 101 teaches us to think about the impact of our statements before making them. Sadly, Shears didn’t think before he riffed about a particular retail outlet’s high CD prices. Now, he and his band, who have the UK’s best selling album, find themselves with limited U.S. Distribution. Why? Because a huge music retail conglomerate, Trans World Entertainment, took umbrage at Shears’ charges and has simply refused to stock the album in over 1,100 of its stores, which include Sam Goody, For Your Entertainment, Wherehouse, and others. Ouch. Talk about retribution.
Sad to say, it seems like neither side is willing to back down and smoke a peace pipe (or whatever kind of pipe rock stars smoke these days). Instead, both sides are escalating the self-destructive drumbeat.
If I were advising Scissor Sisters, I’d tell them to back off, issue some sort of apology and move on. Why alienate a major source of your revenue unless you have an alternative source of incoming pounds sterling lined up backstage? Picking fights with an 800-pound gorilla simply isn’t a smart career move. And, the entertainment industry graveyard is littered with the tombstones of artists who got a little too big for their britches too soon (Lenny Bruce and the Monkees come to mind. Comedian Bruce insisted on using expletives in a still puritanical society while the Monkees, believing they were bigger and better than the Beatles, managed to piss off nearly every TV and record company executive of import).
Humble pie (another classic Rock group, btw) can be tough to swallow for a rock group. But, in the case of Scissor Sisters, I suggest they break out the carving knife ASAP and make amends.