For Jeff Rosenstock, "Bomb the Music Industry!" was more than just a clever name. After his excellent ska-punk band The Arrogant Sons of Bitches had burnt out in the mid 2000s, Jeff was left with boundless creativity but no interest in the business aspect that was commonplace in music, especially at a time when a major label feeding frenzy was still sweeping punk. So he started BTMI!, which was originally a bedroom solo project (hence the name of his 2005 debut album, Album Minus Band), but which blossomed into a collective of musicians who could co-exist without the same pressures of band life that caused ASOB to implode. The fiercely DIY collective gave away their music for free, and spray-painted their band name on shirts free of charge for anyone who wanted a BTMI tee. For vinyl releases, they eventually linked up with the likeminded Mike Park and his label Asian Man Records (whose Twitter bio is "I hate the music biz but love music").
BTMI! retained elements of ASOB's ska-punk, but they also introduced synthpop, power pop, folk music, indie rock, hardcore, and whatever else they felt like doing into their truly chaotic (and virtually unparalleled) sound. They did everything on their own terms, and existed in opposition to both the Alternative Press punk world and the Pitchfork indie rock world, but not in a way that was overly bitter or combative. Punk and indie rock might've theoretically been places for the misfits and the outsiders and the freaks, but Bomb the Music Industry! shows were a haven for the people that liked this music but felt out of place even in those worlds. BTMI! seemed to exist entirely outside of the punk and indie rock "mainstreams," but their uncompromising DIY ethos and positive/accepting attitude earned them a truly diehard fanbase. A lot of those diehard fans eventually started bands of their own, and many of those bands became part of the DIY scene that blossomed in the 2010s. "DIY" as we know it in 2021 isn't following in the footsteps of Ian MacKaye so much as it's following in the footsteps of Jeff Rosenstock. BTMI!'s approach to home recording, internet accessibility, and genre fluidity, as well as the judgement-free vibe of their shows, can be seen all throughout today's DIY scene. And it would be impossible to talk about Jeff's own ethos without talking about the impact of ska, a historically anti-racist form of music and one that Jeff and his bandmates took seriously when almost no one would. It makes sense that the DIY scene that Jeff inspired is finally starting to embrace ska, and in a real full-circle moment, now that Jeff has become one of the most critically acclaimed rock musicians in the world, he's gotten back in touch with ska too.