T Bone Burnett Unveils New Label

T Bone Burnett

T Bone Burnett is launching a new label, but if recent views still stand he won’t be promoting it.

Variety reports that roots-music auteur T Bone Burnett will launch a new music label , Electromagnetic Recordings, with Capitol Music Group. The label’s roster includes Gregg Allman and Jerry Lee Lewis.

It’s not surprising, given Burnett’s adversity aversion to technology, that the label appears to have no web presence and that the promotion appears to be handled by other rather than Burnett himself, except for being available for interviews. Is that promotion? (I say yes!)

“T Bone is quite simply one of culture’s most creative forces,” says Steve Barnett, CEO of Capitol Music Group. “He is an influential curator and tastemaker, and his projects are consistently of stellar quality and integrity.”

Burnett shares the admiration “Steve Barnett is a very interesting, energized, smart executive,” Burnett says. “(He) actually listens to, and believes in music as a force for good in the world. He has given me a base for which I can invest in some very good young artists. We’ll be doing films, television, records and tours. It is about music. The marketing focus is simple: it is music for people who like music. It’s all going to be good and it’s all going to be done analog. This is one of our things.”

Burnett has been in constant demand (in spite of a profession of no self-promotion) He recently lent his executive music producer and composer duties for his fourth film collaboration with Joel and Ethan Coen, “Inside Llewyn Davis,” and last year, did the same for “The Hunger Games” and ABC’s “Nashville.”

Burnett has also taken on another music exec producer role for HBO’s forthcoming “True Detective” series starring Matthew McConaughey, and has begun working on “The Basement Tapes … Continued,” an album and film documentary that will revisit 16 previously lost Bob Dylan lyric sheets from 1967. Dylan will be involved and as well as some of today’s most acclaimed artists.

10 thoughts on “T Bone Burnett Unveils New Label

  1. T Bone Burnett
    January 8, 2014 at 7:25 am

    The Straw Man Fallacy

    “Straw man” is one of the best-named fallacies, because it is memorable and vividly illustrates the nature of the fallacy. Imagine a fight in which one of the combatants sets up a man of straw, attacks it, then proclaims victory. All the while, the real opponent stands by untouched.


  2. Baron Lane
    January 8, 2014 at 7:33 am

    And in this case the straw man and the real opponent are? There seems to be a muddle.

  3. January 8, 2014 at 7:50 am

    The article states that he intends to promote young talent, but the musicians named are Gregg Allman & Bob Dylan, not exactly spring chickens. Any word on emerging songwriters?

  4. Baron Lane
    January 8, 2014 at 7:59 am

    Good point Sloan. A label for established artists that need no self-promotion (generally, if not for specific new activities) would fit the MO nicely.

  5. T Bone Burnett
    January 8, 2014 at 8:30 am

    I have no “adversity” ( you probably meant aversion) to technology. I, like most people, use it all day long. I am averse to destructive technology (like Fukushima). The wheel, as you know, is technology. In fact, most of the technology we have, especially in the electronic universe, is a wheel spinning in a circle- the car, the dishwasher, the jet plane, the blender, the recorder, the hard drive. Electricity, itself, is created by a wheel spinning in a circle. It is significant that the most prevalent symbol in computer technology is the ‘beach ball’ spinning in a circle.

    As the words have been used for decades, there is a marked difference between promotion and self-promotion.

    Promotion is an attempt to draw attention to a piece of work. (For instance, with our new label, we will promote the recordings of the artists we invest in.)

    Self-promotion is an attempt to feather your own nest- to promote your self. Self > Others

    (Is that what you are trying to do on this web log?)

    It is my belief and experience that one moves forward by doing good work.

    If his work is not good, all the self-promotion (all the promotion, period) in the world will not help.

    An artist’s time is best spent doing good work. In fact, an artist’s time spent making art is the only time he is being an artist. Making art is not easy. It is the most demanding of practices. It is time consuming. It takes decades to master.

    (Do you make art? If not, you should probably not be advising artists.)

    You have not understood what I have been saying.

    You have misrepresented what I have been saying.

    You have taken it out of context and tried to ridicule it.

    I am sorry that you are threatened. I mean you no harm.

    I am on your side.

    Best of luck to you in all your endeavors.

    I am signing off now.

  6. Baron Lane
    January 8, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    Mr. Burnett, Thanks for your reply and tips on editing. I’m sure you have more pressing matters.

    I certainly never mean to imply that you had an “aversion” to ALL technology i.e. the wheel and penicillin. But in the realm of the internet you are on record of displaying an acute distaste . Couple that with your advise to musicians, established and as yet undiscovered, to not engage in self-promotion, and a general paranoia around it’s most effective channel, the internet.

    To answer your question I do not make the art you imply, music. But I do come from a musical family and have spent a significant amount of time enjoying and promoting music.

    I do, on the other hand, make my living through technology and have done so for 20 years. Primarily the Internet in all it’s forms – laptops, tablets, mobile. Perhaps you should take your own advise and not be advising artists on technology since it’s not your expertise.

    My purpose for this blog is, and always has been, to bring awareness to established and emerging roots artists. If not for the daily emails and packages, that is self-promotion, many of the latter would fall outside my purview.

    I’m not sure what you think I’m threatened by. As I’ve stated before my beef is specifically with your harmful advice to artists not to self-promote. And your fueling of a general paranoia (instead of specific warranted paranoia, say government snooping) that would add them in the task of self-promotion.

    Also, as I’ve said before, i have the utmost respect for you and the work you’ve done to curate this great universe of rich and thriving music. I do realize that without people like you I wouldn’t be here.

    And without self-promotion and the internet our community would be silod and stinted as a result.

    Here’s to the music..

  7. January 9, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    My friend Gary Belz gave you a song of mine awhile back. It’s called “Short Rope”. Please listen to it again. I think it’s worthy of your label. If you don’t have it anymore, tell me where to send it or I will ask Gary to give it to you again. Thank you for being you!

  8. Baron Lane
    January 22, 2014 at 5:02 am

    Mr, Burnett, I’ll be in LA (where i assume you hang your hat) this week to cover the Grammys. Drop me a line if you would like to discuss this in person. baron(at)twangnation.com

  9. Baron Lane
    August 18, 2014 at 10:38 am

    Mr. Burnett,

    Thank you for taking the time to post again. But please let’s dispense with the formalities. Please call me Baron.

    After clicking the links, and reading all your recommendations, I am no more clear about your fundamental point in regards to our original conversation – self-promotion.

    There’s information on the new economic realities of the Internet. that affects all jobs, not just music. Government and corporate malfeasance, which predates the internet.
    America’s general disregard of its musical heritage, in terms of a recognized national resource supported by the state, also predates the internet. Then there’s the general isolation of alienation that some argue is a result of our increasingly technology glutted culture.

    The theme that appears to me to run through them all is a despair against a “technological utopia” was not achieved. The digital emperor is butt naked.

    The music that I cover, and if I may be so bold, that you create and choose to produce is innately intimate and anti-digital. Human and organic at it’s core steeped in blood, tears and the dirt of life. Americana and roots music is the punk rock to EDM’s soulless disco beat.

    I believe there’s also an argument to be made that if not, in part, for cultural technological isolation “O Brother…” would not have been the huge selling soundtrack that it was.

    But first that music, in the form of a movie, needed to be promoted.

    Some info for you:

    Johanna Blakley: Lessons from fashion’s free culture

    José Bowen: Beethoven the businessman

    Rob Reid: The $8 billion iPod

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