Taylor Swift didn’t win everything this year, though it sure feels like it. Canadian indie band Metric was honored as MySpace’s Triumph of the Year (or is that “Triump“?) for not only making a killer album, Fantasies, but doing it without the help of a major label. “We want to set a precedent for other young indie artists to look to,” says frontwoman (and Top 10 indie-rock crush) Emily Haines.
Just this year, Metric self-released their fourth studio album, enjoyed the benefit of hearing their tunes on TV hits like Gossip Girl and Entourage as well as big-screen fare like Zombieland. The Fantasies LP peaked at #6 on the Canadian charts (though all the positive buzz couldn’t push it above #76 on the U.S. Billboard 200). But going the indie route certainly wasn’t easy. Haines tells MySpace:
“In the time between albums we undertook legal action to extract ourselves from all our existing contracts, which meant a lot of legal fees. Simultaneously, we began building a recording studio in Toronto, and we had to finance the making of the record, while also paying for day-to-day expenses. Everything we’ve earned from royalties and as a touring act went back into a number on the roulette wheel.
“We had lots of productive meetings with all the conventional U.S. majors and entertained the possibility of signing deals with all of them. But in the end the offers they brought were in the form of the old-school record deal, and they didn’t take into consideration the value of what we’d already accomplished. At some point you hear the phrase ‘a million dollars’ and you’re like, ‘Wow!’ But then you realize that a million dollars is nothing. Especially when it’s a loan.”
Read the whole interview at MySpace Music. Though the band deserves huge credit for betting on its own talent, and delivering a fabulous collection of tunes, we were a little surprised that the interview didn’t cover the kerfuffle over a $50,000 loan provided to the band by Canada’s nonprofit Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Recordings, in addition to a smaller federal grant.
Back in the dog days of summer, about two months after Fantasies was released, a Toronto-based indie label owner named Greg Ipp complained that Metric, which has built up a loyal following over the years, “really doesn’t need the government paying their way,” touching off a kerfuffle among music critics and industry watchers. Metric’s manager Mathieu Drouin responded at length, with a reply you can read here if you have several weeks to kill. If you’ve only got a few minutes, though, just spend it enjoying Metric’s music video for “Sick Muse.”
Metric – “Sick Muse”