Country music star John Rich: 'Extremely liberal' people run music industry
"You don't have to bend the knee to beat the machine" he said. "You don't have to."
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Country music star John Rich said Friday that "extremely liberal people" run the music industry, which prevents conservative country music artists from discussing their views.
Appearing on the "Just the News, Not Noise" television show to discuss the release of his new single, "Progress," Rich explained his thinking behind writing the song, which he debuted on Truth Social and has since topped the Apple charts.
"Listen, it was so ironic to me to look around our country and see all these terrible things that are happening to everybody," he recounted, "and realize that it's being done under the banner of the word 'progress,' because it's anything but progress.
"But as we've learned, a lot of times they like to invert these words and turn it into something that it's absolutely not meant to be. Progress is one of those words, in my opinion.
"So as a songwriter, I was thinking about that, and I went, 'Man, nobody's gonna write this song because nobody would ever play it at radio, and the music industry is not ever going to allow any other artists to put it out. But it just so happens that I am no longer involved in the music industry on that level.
"I haven't had a record deal and several years on purpose," he asserted. "I don't have a publishing deal. I don't have anybody telling me what I can sing, what I can write. And I've been very blessed that I've had a great career, still having a great career, and I can afford to not have to ask their permission.
"So I recorded the song. And I thought, 'You know, one of the lines in the song says they shut down our voices. So I decided, 'Let's experiment for a second. What if I only launch it on True Social, and on Rumble? And let's just start right there. And let's just see if we can be competitive with everybody else in the world, not just country music, but everybody.'
"So we put it out. Within six hours of that song hitting through Social and Rumble it was the number one most downloaded song across all genres of music. And that proves such a huge point, guys, it's such a huge point that you don't have to bend the knee to beat the machine. You don't have to."
"Truth Social was proud to help John top the iTunes charts with his new single, 'Progress,'" the platform told Just the News. "John's stunning success affirms that artists and content creators no longer need the woke entertainment industry and its Big Tech allies, and can instead achieve monumental success on free speech platforms like Truth Social and Rumble."
"Sunday's first-ever live-streamed Truth Party — with an exclusive performance from John Rich — will be a fitting celebration," the company added.
Just the News Editor in Chief John Solomon suggested to Rich that his success in promoting a single outside of the traditional industry norms could inspire other musicians to make similar efforts. The country artist, however, lamented that anyone pursuing the same artistic freedom would even need to use such methods, noting the traditional industry would not allow conservative content to get airplay.
"There's a lot of country artists that I'm friends with that feel exactly how I feel about it," Rich said. "But they can't do it. ... It's not that they get censored. They don't even record it in the first place. Because they know it's it's just going to get shelved, it's not going to come out."
He went on to express hope that Solomon would be proven right and that a new generation of artists would seek to emulate his success outside of the industry. He then suggested that the single's position on top of the charts would be a major symbolic win against censorship.
"[W]ouldn't you like to look up and see all kinds of patriotic, freedom-loving content creators number one on the big charts?" he said. "I mean, they call this a culture war. It really is a culture war. So how do you know if you're winning or losing in a culture war? How do we keep score of that?
"Well, I would argue that taking away their most prized possession from them, shows that you're competitive and that you're at least swinging. Right? So the number one spot on iTunes, which is their download chart, in the music industry, that's one of their most prized possessions is that number one spot on the Download chart."
Rich then described his experience as a conservative while still part of the mainstream country music industry, saying record company executives often warned him against speaking publicly about his views.
"You should have seen some of the meetings that were taking place when I was at Warner Brothers Records in Nashville, when I would do an interview with Sean Hannity or somebody like that, gosh, start talking about current events, oh, man, they had meetings about that," he recalled, saying they told him it would jeopardize his career.
"What are you talking about? My whole audience thinks like that," he retorted.
"And that's the interesting dichotomy going on here is you've got conglomerates in Nashville, you've only got about four major companies that own 90% of all the labels," he said. "And those conglomerates are run by extremely liberal people."
Country Christian music star Natasha Owens appeared on "Just the News, Not Noise" earlier this month and expressed similar frustrations with the Nashville recording industry. Owens caught the attention of conservatives with her latest album, "American Patriot," for which she said she received "a little bit of flack from Nashville ... warning me, 'You shouldn't go down this path.'"
Owens suggested the stifling of conservative artists was as much a reflection of changing culture as it was the industry. "I blame it completely on the culture that Nashville is turning into," she said. "It's very woke. It's very — I call it hipsterish – and so it's a culture that's changing with everybody from around the country, around the globe, kind of invading Nashville and moving into it."
Rich, meanwhile, asserted that the industry's financial clout with artists would not keep them quiet for much longer, as they, like him, would ultimately opt to keep their integrity.
"I've got two kids, two sons, they're 10 and 12," he said. "And one day I was watching the news, upset like everybody else. And I thought to myself, 'They're watching me watch the news.' And I thought, 'Am I gonna be the guy that yells at the TV. But then I walk out the door, and I go play pattycake with these people that are doing this just so I can go make 1 bill?' And I thought, 'You know what, I think I'm done doing that.' I felt there was a lack of integrity for me to be that way."
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