Indiana Indie Labels Call Boycott 'Well-Intended' But 'Misguided'

 Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence speaks during a press conference March 31, 2015 at the Indiana State Library in Indianapolis, Indiana.

After Gov. Mike Pence signed the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law, countless people decried it as a thinly veiled means to legalize discrimination based on sexual identity in the state. Many argued that Indiana should be boycotted until the legislation is repealed. And it wasn't just talking heads on cable news: Everyone from Wilco (who canceled a concert in Indiana) to Miley Cyrus (who tweeted her support for that decision) has railed against IRFRA.

But according to a group of Indiana-based indie record labels and music businesses, the idea of boycotting Indiana is "well-intended" but "misguided."

In a press release signed by a number of labels and businesses (full list below), the group makes clear their allegiance to the civil liberties of the LGBT community and calls on Gov. Pence and legislators to repeal the law. But they also argue a boycott isn't the best way to achieve meaningful change.  

Apple CEO Tim Cook Blasts IRFRA As Anti-Gay

"While this sort of action is well-intended to place pressure on government leaders to repeal or fix this law, we feel an isolationist approach can sometimes be misguided," the press release reads in part. "As music companies, we cherish the power which music and art can have in promoting social progress. We believe cultural events can be a great opportunity to put a glaring spotlight on injustice. We will continue to proudly call Indiana home, and we call on others in the arts community to address this issue constructively. To musicians with events scheduled in Indiana -- please follow through and perform. While canceling shows is one way to protest, a greater statement can be made by coming here and using your art to influence the policy debate that is occurring locally. You can insist that the venue you play publicly states that they will not discriminate under any circumstances. If the venue won’t do that, rebook your show with another venue that will. Your performance can be a rally. We need your support locally."

The debate over whether boycotts effectively punish malfeasants or unfairly punish the many for the deeds of the few goes back multiple generations.

Wilco Cancels Indiana Show Over IRFRA

More recently, it's worth noting that despite talk of boycotting Florida after the demonstrably harmful effects of the Stand Your Ground law, few major artists actually followed through on that.

Read the full list of signees below:
Asthmatic Kitty Records
The Bishop
Bloomington Guitar & Amp
Cultural Cannibals
Dead Oceans (Secretly Group)
Flannelgraph Records
Fort William Artist Management
The HI-FI
Indy CD & Vinyl
Jagjaguwar (Secretly Group)
Joyful Noise Recordings
Jurassic Pop Records
Landlocked Music
Luna Music
Magnetic South Recordings
Mahern Audio
Meitus Gelbert Rose LLP
MOKB Presents
Russian Recording
SC Distribution
SC Publishing (Secretly Group)
Secretly Canadian (Secretly Group)
Spirit of ’68 Promotions


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