Hey, it’s the Sh!tty Music Industry and Kesha is Living It: #NowWhat

Kesha is having a hell of a time in the music industry.

ColumnThe music industry is a tough place to find success. Musicians have a hell of a time breaking into it, and even when they do, they face a lot of tough competition. And if you’re a female in the industry? Go ahead and multiply the “this is impossible” factor by a whole lot of tambourine shaking.

We could go on and on about the various issues that affect women in the music industry. Hell, we could even write a book about how it’s even difficult to be a die-hard female fan. (If I had a nickel for every time a male tried to one-up my music fandom or grab my ass at a concert, I’d have a lot of cash… but I digress.) This week, however, we’re going to discuss just how terrible one female artist has it right now…

You may remember Kesha (previously known as Ke$ha) from such “club bangers” (ah, music terminology) as “Tik Tok,” and “Timber.” Sure, these songs aren’t amazing, but hell, who cares — they’re fun. While Kesha used to be known for her (hilarious) on stage, vulgar antics (penis props, glitter body paint, etc.), she’s been out of the spotlight for some time. The reason? It’s complicated and pretty fucking gross.

The first reason: In October 2014, Kesha filed a lawsuit against Dr. Luke, her former manager. As we previously reported, the lawsuit claims that Dr. Luke drugged, sexually abused, and physically assaulted the pop star. The assault revelation happened while Kesha was in rehab for bulimia.

The second (more recent) reason: Kesha has been out of the public eye since filing the lawsuit against Dr. Luke. Why? Because, apparently, Kesha is still under contract with Dr. Luke… the person she says sexually assaulted her.

According to Bust, Sony (the company Kesha and Dr. Luke work with) isn’t releasing Kesha from her contract, despite all of Kesha’s claims against Dr. Luke. (Kesha has even gone so far as adding Sony as a defendant in her lawsuit, “claiming the executives at Sony were aware of the abusive nature of Dr. Luke and condoned it through their inaction,” Bust reports.) So, as everything stands right now, Kesha has to continue collaborating with Dr. Luke to work. Kesha is desperately trying to wriggle herself free from the contract, but until the singer gets word on an injunction she filed in September that asked a New York Judge to “allow her to record without Dr. Luke,” she’s stuck.

Yeah, that’s a whole lot of not cool.

While Dr. Luke is saying that all of the noise Kesha is making is an “obvious contract renegotiation strategy,” we’ve got to agree with Bust and second that we also find it difficult “to believe that a famous and successful star would jeopardize her career and the reputation of a man who was key to her success just to get out of a contract.”

This is a big problem for a big (HUGE) reason: It shows that women in the music industry are pretty much told to shut up if they have a problem in the “workplace.” Kesha works in a studio and now, because she has a problem with one of her co-workers (who allegedly assaulted her), her company is telling her she can’t work until her contract is up. But Dr. Luke? He can just go on working — business as usual. Even if Dr. Luke is innocent, it seems incredibly unfair that both people involved with this story aren’t getting equal treatment.

All we can say is we hope this entire thing ends soon (and ends fairly), and we get to see Kesha back on a stage doing her thing.

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Image of Kesha from Martin Lehmann – Shutterstock

Abbie Stutzer

Writer, editor, and owner of Ginchy!, a freelance writing and editing company, and home funeral hub. Adores smart sex ed, sustainable ag, spooky history, women's health, feminism, horror, wine, and sci-fi.