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Prog musicians juggling music career and work?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote handwrist Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 16 2020 at 13:04
Being a one-man project, I've never had any problem juggling between music and day-job, outside of the occasional tiredness when I get home, but usually I can overcome it (even if like Meltdowner I also work at the computer all day and then make music on it too). Since I have been working remotely, it's been much easier (lot of hours gained from not having to commute).

I've released over 20 albums in less than 10 years, all for free. I allow the bandcamp option of paying whatever people want to pay, and I always get something, which is nice. But I am fine if people just get it for free (I'm in the minority in this regard, I suppose). To me money and value are two different things, although I've had people give me 50 cents or 1 euro and send me a mail saying that they would like to give more but can't. This feels nicer than someone just paying me 10 euros for an album to be honest. For musicians who are full time in music, it's different of course, since they depend on the revenue. But for me, I like to keep music and money-making separate. I've gotten a few gigs a few years ago where I would make music for films and videos and stuff like that, and I hated it. Not because of the money, but because it's a product, and I think music should never be product. I guess I'm an idealist. 


Edited by handwrist - August 16 2020 at 13:04
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 16 2020 at 21:55
Originally posted by Awesoreno Awesoreno wrote:

This is a very important thread and has given me much to think about.

I think it's also worth mentioning that with all the saturation and freeloading that the Internet provides, it is imperative to any musicians that really want to break out to STAND OUT in a crowd of others. As I said before, many people are bored of the music they listen to and have no idea. It explains why we have loops of music just to study to, it's just there as a way to help you concentrate on something else. It sucks to say it, but if you're playing a rehash of Yes or Marillion or Led Zeppelin or The Foo Fighters or Rush, etc., then you won't get much attention. Groups like Haken and Snarky Puppy have drawn crowds for the last couple years because they tried to be different. So there is success to be had with prog/fusion/experimental music, you just might actually have to be progressive with it.

This is not a personal attack on anyone here. I'm not about to say any of you experienced musicians are doing the wrong things because I haven't listened to your music yet. I won't assume it's dated, it could be on the bleeding edge of music. In any case, it's hard to make it as a musician, and even harder (almost impossible) to do it in a prog outfit. But let's face it, The Flower Kings and Spock's Beard probably wouldn't have been as popular if they started in, say 2009. And that's not JUST because of streaming (though that would certainly contribute, no question).

Also, I think Nu Jazz and Metal off-shoots have been and will be the new the playground for aspiring progressive musicians who really want to break out. Music that lends itself to being an interesting live experience is going to win out. Not only is it a more captivating experience for the distracted masses of today, but there is still more money in it than trying to sell an album and/or being a studio session player (as cstack mentioned). Sure it's not a lot, and it can be very expensive, as Davesax has elucidated and as I am coming to experience myself. But it's one of the reasons Haken is successful and An Endless Sporadic (a project between two dudes) is not, good as they BOTH are.

Nu Jazz and Metal have wider fan pools, so if you can tap into those, then one could feasibly lure them to the prog. Almost tricking them into being interested and inoculating them to your proggy ways (sorry for being so whimsical but I felt obliged to have something light in this downer of a discussion, despite it being the hard truth). But this sucks for musicians who don't want to play that kind of stuff. I guess, as Mosh said, you can't be successful if you're doing it for the love of the art form anymore. 

OTOH Greta Van Fleet became a big rock band by becoming the Lion King rehash of rock - slavishly imitating the original. 

In fact, the GVF example shows how the old label-media infrastructure can still work to 'make' a new band.  If they want to.  But remember that today, whether in music or movies, it is all about tone.  That is why you had these laughable complaints about Joker being wronged at the Oscars by an 'affirmative action' awardee - Parasite, which was a far more original and insightful film than a film that merely crossed Batman with Taxi Driver, down even to a 70s/80s setting. Large swathes of the audience have simply forgotten that 'original' means something that doesn't quite sound like something you've heard before and which therefore requires you to adjust your perspective.  

On similar lines, a band like Haken succeeded because they were not so far out of the comfort zone of prog rock fans while a much more far-out band like Bent Knee will never have their success. Haken is successful with a PROG audience because they find a balance between having something different to offer and something that is simultaneously familiar.  

So the reason you won't have media working to help make a success out of a prog rock band is prog hasn't been a successful commercial product for a long time. There are spaces like prog metal which still do enjoy a decent, albeit not spectacular, level of success.  You can see that InsideOutMusic promotes prog metal quite well on their YouTube channel and videos of these bands quickly run up hundreds of thousands of views. Floor Jansen's performance of Phantom of the Opera at Beste Zangers has 9.5 million views now!  It's pretty much a platinum hit single of sorts, albeit not capable of being monetized to the same degree.  But Floor Jansen/Nightwish can use the popularity generated by such a high number of views to perform live (rather, in this case, the live act, the studio releases and such TV appearances all feed into each other). 

The fundamental issue when it comes to prog is there was already only a narrow space for prog artists not involved in prog metal and the download economy followed by the streaming economy have made it even more of a difficult proposition. As DaveSax puts it, it's for those who profess a passionate love of prog to support prog artists through other means than merely streaming songs.  

I also have the feeling that as a result of home studio recordings becoming both cheaper and better, there are more prog artists today than the audience can support.  If you catalogue all bands who have released at least one album in the last five years and are still active in terms of touring, it's probably a bigger list than the number of bands in the 70s.  Because in the 70s, you would have only known of the bands that actually had a recording contract.  This has further aggravated the inequity of the situation.  More people want to make/play prog now but the fanbase has been dwindling over a period of time with the additional blow of music being effectively 'demonetized'.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cstack3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 17 2020 at 00:01
Originally posted by Grumpyprogfan Grumpyprogfan wrote:

^Well said.

I agree, brilliant post! Clap
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Awesoreno Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 17 2020 at 01:00
Originally posted by rogerthat rogerthat wrote:

Originally posted by Awesoreno Awesoreno wrote:

This is a very important thread and has given me much to think about.

I think it's also worth mentioning that with all the saturation and freeloading that the Internet provides, it is imperative to any musicians that really want to break out to STAND OUT in a crowd of others. As I said before, many people are bored of the music they listen to and have no idea. It explains why we have loops of music just to study to, it's just there as a way to help you concentrate on something else. It sucks to say it, but if you're playing a rehash of Yes or Marillion or Led Zeppelin or The Foo Fighters or Rush, etc., then you won't get much attention. Groups like Haken and Snarky Puppy have drawn crowds for the last couple years because they tried to be different. So there is success to be had with prog/fusion/experimental music, you just might actually have to be progressive with it.

This is not a personal attack on anyone here. I'm not about to say any of you experienced musicians are doing the wrong things because I haven't listened to your music yet. I won't assume it's dated, it could be on the bleeding edge of music. In any case, it's hard to make it as a musician, and even harder (almost impossible) to do it in a prog outfit. But let's face it, The Flower Kings and Spock's Beard probably wouldn't have been as popular if they started in, say 2009. And that's not JUST because of streaming (though that would certainly contribute, no question).

Also, I think Nu Jazz and Metal off-shoots have been and will be the new the playground for aspiring progressive musicians who really want to break out. Music that lends itself to being an interesting live experience is going to win out. Not only is it a more captivating experience for the distracted masses of today, but there is still more money in it than trying to sell an album and/or being a studio session player (as cstack mentioned). Sure it's not a lot, and it can be very expensive, as Davesax has elucidated and as I am coming to experience myself. But it's one of the reasons Haken is successful and An Endless Sporadic (a project between two dudes) is not, good as they BOTH are.

Nu Jazz and Metal have wider fan pools, so if you can tap into those, then one could feasibly lure them to the prog. Almost tricking them into being interested and inoculating them to your proggy ways (sorry for being so whimsical but I felt obliged to have something light in this downer of a discussion, despite it being the hard truth). But this sucks for musicians who don't want to play that kind of stuff. I guess, as Mosh said, you can't be successful if you're doing it for the love of the art form anymore. 

OTOH Greta Van Fleet became a big rock band by becoming the Lion King rehash of rock - slavishly imitating the original. 

In fact, the GVF example shows how the old label-media infrastructure can still work to 'make' a new band.  If they want to.  But remember that today, whether in music or movies, it is all about tone.  That is why you had these laughable complaints about Joker being wronged at the Oscars by an 'affirmative action' awardee - Parasite, which was a far more original and insightful film than a film that merely crossed Batman with Taxi Driver, down even to a 70s/80s setting. Large swathes of the audience have simply forgotten that 'original' means something that doesn't quite sound like something you've heard before and which therefore requires you to adjust your perspective.  

On similar lines, a band like Haken succeeded because they were not so far out of the comfort zone of prog rock fans while a much more far-out band like Bent Knee will never have their success. Haken is successful with a PROG audience because they find a balance between having something different to offer and something that is simultaneously familiar.  

So the reason you won't have media working to help make a success out of a prog rock band is prog hasn't been a successful commercial product for a long time. There are spaces like prog metal which still do enjoy a decent, albeit not spectacular, level of success.  You can see that InsideOutMusic promotes prog metal quite well on their YouTube channel and videos of these bands quickly run up hundreds of thousands of views. Floor Jansen's performance of Phantom of the Opera at Beste Zangers has 9.5 million views now!  It's pretty much a platinum hit single of sorts, albeit not capable of being monetized to the same degree.  But Floor Jansen/Nightwish can use the popularity generated by such a high number of views to perform live (rather, in this case, the live act, the studio releases and such TV appearances all feed into each other). 

The fundamental issue when it comes to prog is there was already only a narrow space for prog artists not involved in prog metal and the download economy followed by the streaming economy have made it even more of a difficult proposition. As DaveSax puts it, it's for those who profess a passionate love of prog to support prog artists through other means than merely streaming songs.  

I also have the feeling that as a result of home studio recordings becoming both cheaper and better, there are more prog artists today than the audience can support.  If you catalogue all bands who have released at least one album in the last five years and are still active in terms of touring, it's probably a bigger list than the number of bands in the 70s.  Because in the 70s, you would have only known of the bands that actually had a recording contract.  This has further aggravated the inequity of the situation.  More people want to make/play prog now but the fanbase has been dwindling over a period of time with the additional blow of music being effectively 'demonetized'.

It is funny that you mention GVF, because I totally thought of them when I was writing that as a counter point, but I still put LZ. Don't know why. 

In any case, I still think people are looking for interesting music right now. But to amend my previous statement, I suppose new music for one individual doesn't have to be "new" music, just unexplored to them. Some of these older bands have been coming to light lately among younger folk for one reason or another, like KC. 

In any case, I generally agree. Though I will say that Haken is gaining a whole new fan base by going more metal. I'm not as big on their new direction, but I can't tell you how many people I saw in the YouTube comment sections of their new singles praising the heavier take. I guess it further proves how difficult it can be for prog artists.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Davesax1965 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 17 2020 at 01:25
Thanks to everyone who enjoyed the last post. I wish they didn't, and I wish I hadn't felt the need to post it. It's unfortunately true and needs saying - and reiterating - until people realise yes, you can get away with not paying for music.... if you want to kill it. 

I'll add another point. 

I sit back in awe of some of the music of the past, where (full time) musicians reached dizzying heights which we don't see today. Probably the high point of individual musical talent was the rise of avant garde jazz in the 50's, with high standards of musicianship carrying on into the late 70's. 

The reason that standards were so high were two fold - musicians got to such high standards by playing with each other on a daily basis and also it was expected (by the general public) that musicians should create something special. 

With the rise of the part time or bedroom musician, chances of playing live with other musicians disappears or diminishes. Music (at it's best) is a creative process where you play with and off other musicians. It's a melting pot of ideas which raises the skill level and creativity of all involved. And that's effectively disappeared. You may come back with a few, rare, individual examples but the landscape has utterly changed. If you think it hasn't, you've not been around long enough to remember. 

So we're on an inevitable downward spiral as well. 

Every single person I know who's involved in music has just had a total morale failure and thrown the towel in over the last five years. A few play pub gigs - not the natural home of pub rock - a few "do it for a laugh" - you soon stop laughing - the love has simply gone out of it for serious musicians. Which is bad news for prog rock fans, as it's "serious music". 

What's the solution ? Well, I tend to think that the main problem is a lack of venues musicians can go to - musical projects such as the Zodiac Arts Lab in 60's Berlin spawned a great mass of creativity. Stick some musicians in a venue at non rip off prices, watch what happens. Trouble is, most city centre rents are prohibitive, and a city centre is the only place this sort of thing can happen. 

But the most important thing is - this is a two way process. Fans - yes, you - buy the music or it dies. Look around, how much evidence do you need to put your hand in your pocket ? Two way street. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Awesoreno Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 17 2020 at 12:24
Hmmmm. Not enough venues for that kind of experience. This gives me an interesting business idea.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cstack3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 17 2020 at 13:04
Originally posted by Davesax1965 Davesax1965 wrote:

Thanks to everyone who enjoyed the last post. I wish they didn't, and I wish I hadn't felt the need to post it. It's unfortunately true and needs saying - and reiterating - until people realise yes, you can get away with not paying for music.... if you want to kill it. 

I'll add another point. 

I sit back in awe of some of the music of the past, where (full time) musicians reached dizzying heights which we don't see today. Probably the high point of individual musical talent was the rise of avant garde jazz in the 50's, with high standards of musicianship carrying on into the late 70's. 

The reason that standards were so high were two fold - musicians got to such high standards by playing with each other on a daily basis and also it was expected (by the general public) that musicians should create something special. 

With the rise of the part time or bedroom musician, chances of playing live with other musicians disappears or diminishes. Music (at it's best) is a creative process where you play with and off other musicians. It's a melting pot of ideas which raises the skill level and creativity of all involved. And that's effectively disappeared. You may come back with a few, rare, individual examples but the landscape has utterly changed. If you think it hasn't, you've not been around long enough to remember. 

So we're on an inevitable downward spiral as well. 

Every single person I know who's involved in music has just had a total morale failure and thrown the towel in over the last five years. A few play pub gigs - not the natural home of pub rock - a few "do it for a laugh" - you soon stop laughing - the love has simply gone out of it for serious musicians. Which is bad news for prog rock fans, as it's "serious music". 

What's the solution ? Well, I tend to think that the main problem is a lack of venues musicians can go to - musical projects such as the Zodiac Arts Lab in 60's Berlin spawned a great mass of creativity. Stick some musicians in a venue at non rip off prices, watch what happens. Trouble is, most city centre rents are prohibitive, and a city centre is the only place this sort of thing can happen. 

But the most important thing is - this is a two way process. Fans - yes, you - buy the music or it dies. Look around, how much evidence do you need to put your hand in your pocket ? Two way street. 

Another thoughtful post, thank you!  

You bring up a very important point when you mention the avant guarde jazz....playing the best quality music of any genre is hard work that involves serious study of theory, scales, history etc.  

I'll be the first to admit that I'm a hack, with virtually no musical education....I was able to become an in-demand bassist simply because of my innate sense of feel for the music and compositional skills, much of which were "borrowed" (i.e. stolen) from the likes of Chris Squire etc.  

The prog music that we rate highly (Yes, Genesis, ELP) was a mixture of self-taught genius (think Jon Anderson, Peter Gabriel), woodshed brilliance (Chris Squire, Steve Hackett) and sound musical training (Fripp, Wakeman, Emerson, Howe etc.).   This type of education takes time, dedication and resources....I do not have the time to endlessly play many scales, practice constantly to a metronome (Fripp's advice), and so forth.  Therefore, my music suffers....I mostly play for my own pleasure.  

Support for musicians (and all artists) is essential.  We need subsidized rehearsal space, avenues that do not cut the throat of musicians to sell a few drinks, a more supportive legal system and a better foundation in musical education for the young.  Given today's realities, I'm not optimistic that any of this will come to pass.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Davesax1965 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 18 2020 at 01:46
Originally posted by Awesoreno Awesoreno wrote:

Hmmmm. Not enough venues for that kind of experience. This gives me an interesting business idea.


I frankly hope it does. ;-)

All over the UK are disused cinemas, warehouses - venues which would make an excellent rehearsal space, on the edge of town for noise considerations. However. As well as rehearsal space, what's needed is a community space. I'm in IT, "tech incubators" are becoming very popular, an organisation which offers a service to up and coming tech companies. Full package. 

There are, in the UK, "Arts Council grants" available. You meet 50% of the costs. A number of councils will have initiatives available where suitable buildings could be licenced on a pennycorn rent. 

What's needed are venues where musicians get to meet, rehearse and play together for free. Ideally, you'd have a free gig facility where musicians who sign up commit to a free gig every so often. (If they don't deliver, invite someone else). You have a small stage, small PA and lighting rig. The gigs are totally free, you make your money from the drinks licence and bar as you also invite an audience. Go mad, charge a fiver a ticket but essentially encourage free (or almost free) live music. 

The conventional scene is broken, so you have to have an "underground" approach. It'd definitely work. The numbers could be problematic, but if no one rips anyone off..... well, that's the way it used to work, so it can work again. 


Edited by Davesax1965 - August 18 2020 at 03:52

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Davesax1965 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 18 2020 at 03:58
Just an aside, to quote Awesoreno - 

"I think it's also worth mentioning that with all the saturation and freeloading that the Internet provides, it is imperative to any musicians that really want to break out to STAND OUT in a crowd of others. "

Then the musicians who STAND OUT just get pirated as well.

It's not about quality, innovation or anything else, it's about "fans" not buying music, not supporting artists, then saying "where has all the music and the live gigs gone ? " 

Even if you are a band who "break out" then you're back to a situation where every music producer, venue owner, record company etc etc etc will rip you off hand over fist, just like the good old days, because music has basically become a fool's errand. 



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Awesoreno Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 18 2020 at 12:31
Originally posted by Davesax1965 Davesax1965 wrote:

Just an aside, to quote Awesoreno - 

"I think it's also worth mentioning that with all the saturation and freeloading that the Internet provides, it is imperative to any musicians that really want to break out to STAND OUT in a crowd of others. "

Then the musicians who STAND OUT just get pirated as well.

It's not about quality, innovation or anything else, it's about "fans" not buying music, not supporting artists, then saying "where has all the music and the live gigs gone ? " 

Even if you are a band who "break out" then you're back to a situation where every music producer, venue owner, record company etc etc etc will rip you off hand over fist, just like the good old days, because music has basically become a fool's errand. 



I hear you. I meant that bands that stand out will get more people at their concerts. If you stand out as a live outfit, then more people will want to experience the group live, or want to consistently show up. But you are right that a group can't play live without resources, and pirating doesn't help that at all. In the end, it probably won't be very fruitful this day and age, unfortunately. Self-producing might be the only way to go from here on out, especially for more underground genres.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Awesoreno Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 18 2020 at 12:35
Originally posted by Davesax1965 Davesax1965 wrote:

Originally posted by Awesoreno Awesoreno wrote:

Hmmmm. Not enough venues for that kind of experience. This gives me an interesting business idea.


I frankly hope it does. ;-)

All over the UK are disused cinemas, warehouses - venues which would make an excellent rehearsal space, on the edge of town for noise considerations. However. As well as rehearsal space, what's needed is a community space. I'm in IT, "tech incubators" are becoming very popular, an organisation which offers a service to up and coming tech companies. Full package. 

There are, in the UK, "Arts Council grants" available. You meet 50% of the costs. A number of councils will have initiatives available where suitable buildings could be licenced on a pennycorn rent. 

What's needed are venues where musicians get to meet, rehearse and play together for free. Ideally, you'd have a free gig facility where musicians who sign up commit to a free gig every so often. (If they don't deliver, invite someone else). You have a small stage, small PA and lighting rig. The gigs are totally free, you make your money from the drinks licence and bar as you also invite an audience. Go mad, charge a fiver a ticket but essentially encourage free (or almost free) live music. 

The conventional scene is broken, so you have to have an "underground" approach. It'd definitely work. The numbers could be problematic, but if no one rips anyone off..... well, that's the way it used to work, so it can work again. 

That's similar to what I was thinking, though you've given me a lot to consider. I'm from Los Angeles, California, and while our country has slowly been defunding the arts all over, this city is still pretty supportive overall. I can think of few other places this could be done on our West Coast (maybe Portland, Seattle, San Francisco). Plus, we have enough hipsters around here would love an eclectic club for progressive music, anywhere from jazz to rock to electronic. It's been my dream to make some sort of artist commune for a while now. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 18 2020 at 16:25
Originally posted by Awesoreno Awesoreno wrote:

...
But this sucks for musicians who don't want to play that kind of stuff. I guess, as Mosh said, you can't be successful if you're doing it for the love of the art form anymore. 

Hi,

I believe you have misquoted me ... I have no issues with someone just doing their art for the love of it ... and not bother showing it to an audience that can't even appreciate it ... !!! And this happens all the time, and not just in one place, and some people, have to distance themselves from the war fronts, because the work they want to do suffers, and many know that their music, for themselves, is their beauty and salvation ... and they do not exactly need someone to tell them that!

Success is relative ... what you are saying is that it is a commercial endeavor, which is something I would not be after, regardless ... !!! I am not interested "selling" any reviews, or novels, or short stories, or poetry, or anything that I have written ... mostly because "words" don't mean anything any more ... no one READS any more and has enough regards for the very art they claim to defend and love ... it's all scrambled in their minds behind satisfaction and preferences ... and I understand that inner thing very well for myself.

I got to see, in my life time a famous dad that got very far, and mom took his work further ... but the children? You know, if you look at history you can easily say that for every house and country there is a God and the children are the ones that go out to fight all the wars to keep the legacy alive ... nothing else matters! 

As for the one that wants to do a theater/musical thing, LA is the place where things like HAIR and THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW ... so no one can say that it can not happen there ... and at least one band was quite "movie driven" (THE DOORS) ... so being able to make it down there is probably just a matter of timing and guts ... it can be done ... but you really need to have a focus on the art of it all ... that goes beyond the norm for the species! Wish I was young again, to get there and help "direct" it for you guys to make it even better!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 18 2020 at 16:34
Originally posted by Awesoreno Awesoreno wrote:

...
That's similar to what I was thinking, though you've given me a lot to consider. I'm from Los Angeles, California, and while our country has slowly been defunding the arts all over, this city is still pretty supportive overall. I can think of few other places this could be done on our West Coast (maybe Portland, Seattle, San Francisco). Plus, we have enough hipsters around here would love an eclectic club for progressive music, anywhere from jazz to rock to electronic. It's been my dream to make some sort of artist commune for a while now. 
Hi,

Portland is a small town country land ... nothing sells here, or makes it here that is not "famous" ... and even the jazz scene here ... is "traditional" ... since the biggest jazz group here, centered around a college for a long time, is into "traditional" and its yearly jazz festival is almost strictly a "traditional" thing, and a couple of years ago, when they brought in 2 ECM folks ... only 10 people showed up for the show!

There is no respect for the arts in Portland ... and some of the lower level of bands listed in PA that have gone through here, played in bars that you would not even take your girlfriend to for a date! Not to mention that "classical" here means STRICTLY ... the Portland Symphony ... which will AGAIN feature Pink Martini ... because it has nothing else it wants to show!

SF and LA are better at new stuff ... but being in the right place at the right time with the right everything is not something that most of us can get to ... like now! There are many of those artistic and musical groups doing the rounds of the many Renaissance Fairs, or the Oregon Country Fair ... that made several millions on Garth Brooks a year or two ago ... on a sold out University of Oregon football field! AND, tickets re-selling for $500 dollars at the door of the show!

For good measure, when I saw RETURN TO FOREVER with ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA, the show was in EUGENE, not Portland, which ought to tell you how much Portland loves the real thing. Both of those never made it this far, but Seattle got them!


Edited by moshkito - August 18 2020 at 16:36
... none of the hits, none of the time ... favoritism is not an artistic merit! www.pedrosena.com
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jaketejas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 18 2020 at 20:52
The tough part is maintaining your energy and sweet skills as you age, especially since anything done well takes oodles of time. You might be hearing amazing music in your head, but it can be a long haul translating it into something that sounds even remotely like what you’re hearing in your mind - especially if you’re on a tight budget of shoestrings and glass bottles.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Frenetic Zetetic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 19 2020 at 01:13
Originally posted by Davesax1965 Davesax1965 wrote:

This is how it goes. 

Day job. I'm the Sales and Marketing (yep, "marketing") manager of a software company in Manchester, England's second city. (Arguable statement). I have 23 years experience, so please assume I understand marketing. I've also been a musician for nearly 45 years, so please assume I also understand that as well. 

Here's the statement: live music is DEAD. The "fans" - and the internet, but mainly the "fans" have killed it through greed. 

Whilst everyone was delighted to pay subscriptions for streaming music sites which paid musicians nothing, and felt more than happy pirating music off YouTube etc with rippers, guess what ? No money went back to musicians. Now, it's not all about music, but most proper musicians need some kind of relationship and respect from the fans, and that dried up. So. Most actual musicians gave up. 

What's left is a mass of people with very little talent who wanna be famous. Those kind of people aren't musicians, and they certainly don't play prog rock. Or any music which requires talent and dedication. 

Whilst many proper musicians aren't in it for money, they need money to do live gigs and for fans to actually turn up and *support the band*. Even in a big city like Manchester, the costs of putting on a single gig, let alone touring, are prohibitive. Most non musicians have utterly no idea how expensive or difficult it is to keep a band going - even if you're not semi-famous. It is *impossible*. The costs of venue hire, PA, lighting and publicity are such that only mass market music can afford to take the risk in doing a gig. Otherwise, throw your money down a drain when no one turns up. It's virtually financial suicide to do so without hundreds of local fans in the area. It's prog rock, people, you don't get hundreds of local fans. 

If you do some kind of crap mass market pop music - aka "not music but entertainment", you may be in with a chance. But specialised music ? Zero chance. 

So the vast majority of all proper musicians work a day job. They always had to, but now the situation has become so impossible due to the greed of the fans - in fact, the lack of the fans and the rise of the freeloader ripping music off - that virtually every musician I know has given up or just plays with other musicians for their own amusement and says stuff the "fans", there aren't any left. 

Fans support bands. If 99% of all "fans" don't support bands properly, supply and demand, the bands just give up. And this is the world which most "fans" out there have created. They have inevitably killed music with their greed, selfishness and shortsightedness.

No more decent bands, no more live gigs. Only a morass of crap, talentless wannabe's. The only bands with a fan base out there are charging a fortune for gig tickets. Why ? Well. (a) partially down to gig promoters and producers are creaming off a fortune and (b) recouping money from "fans" who just pirate all their music. 

So that's the world of music. I go back to work, luckily I work with three other musicians, so we play amongst ourselves. I occasionally do a few releases for my own amusement as there are some decent people here and elsewhere who enjoy them and positive comments are always nice. I give 90% of my music away for $0. I have a day job. I'm lucky. I wouldn't mind being a full time musician, but it'll never happen.

All of a sudden, all that "free" music you've downloaded, all those CD's you've not bought but pirated instead, all those cheap streaming services you've signed up for suddenly come with a price of "no more music". It's an inevitability. And no, you'll come back and say "But I do buy music !" Perhaps you do, good for you if that's the case. But 99% of fans don't - and look around you for the proof of that. 



Ha! I'm in Manchester, New Hampshire - and everything you just said is spot on and has been happening here since what I'd call "the peak" for local and underground music, which was about 2006-2010ish. AFter that period it was very hard to get booked and paid as an original progressive rock/metal band. Even shows you did get on were drawing less and less - even on peak nights in the bars!

Your post really nails it. The only people that don't care about the lack of compensation are now the narcissisttypes who just want fame and have no integrity for art. You can debate that as subjective all day, but there's clearly a drop in musical quality after streaming was the way IMHO. Same with major corporations and YT; they now just make content for YT at the expense of everything else.

EVerything has gone from actual money, to click/conversions in hopes of earning 1/50th of a cent per view, etc. It's so messy and I despise it. f**k! Lol.


Edited by Frenetic Zetetic - August 19 2020 at 01:13

"I am so prog, I listen to concept albums on shuffle." -KMac2021
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Frenetic Zetetic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 19 2020 at 01:20
Originally posted by Davesax1965 Davesax1965 wrote:

Thanks to everyone who enjoyed the last post. I wish they didn't, and I wish I hadn't felt the need to post it. It's unfortunately true and needs saying - and reiterating - until people realise yes, you can get away with not paying for music.... if you want to kill it. 

I'll add another point. 

I sit back in awe of some of the music of the past, where (full time) musicians reached dizzying heights which we don't see today. Probably the high point of individual musical talent was the rise of avant garde jazz in the 50's, with high standards of musicianship carrying on into the late 70's. 

The reason that standards were so high were two fold - musicians got to such high standards by playing with each other on a daily basis and also it was expected (by the general public) that musicians should create something special. 

With the rise of the part time or bedroom musician, chances of playing live with other musicians disappears or diminishes. Music (at it's best) is a creative process where you play with and off other musicians. It's a melting pot of ideas which raises the skill level and creativity of all involved. And that's effectively disappeared. You may come back with a few, rare, individual examples but the landscape has utterly changed. If you think it hasn't, you've not been around long enough to remember. 

So we're on an inevitable downward spiral as well. 

Every single person I know who's involved in music has just had a total morale failure and thrown the towel in over the last five years. A few play pub gigs - not the natural home of pub rock - a few "do it for a laugh" - you soon stop laughing - the love has simply gone out of it for serious musicians. Which is bad news for prog rock fans, as it's "serious music". 

What's the solution ? Well, I tend to think that the main problem is a lack of venues musicians can go to - musical projects such as the Zodiac Arts Lab in 60's Berlin spawned a great mass of creativity. Stick some musicians in a venue at non rip off prices, watch what happens. Trouble is, most city centre rents are prohibitive, and a city centre is the only place this sort of thing can happen. 

But the most important thing is - this is a two way process. Fans - yes, you - buy the music or it dies. Look around, how much evidence do you need to put your hand in your pocket ? Two way street. 

You're on fire in this thread man, it's yours. At one point in history you could make a comfortable living as a non-famous backing musician in a jazz or swing band. Bass, trumpet, sax, etc - you didn't need to be famous and you'd get paid regularly. It was a profession and it was respected, as you said.

Also I'm a cynic in regards to "Now EVERYONE can record and release music from home! It's that GREAT?!" - no, it's not lol. All it does, as you said, is dilute the talent pool more and cater to laziness, which carries over to entitlement on the part of the listener due to other desperate people throwing their sh*t out daily and for free. This subconsciously creates an expectation in the consumer, which, as you laid out in your other post, kind of f**ks the whole thing up.

Artists don't do it FOR the money, but essentially being told there's no shot at even basic recouping completely kills motivation - and then normies also have the gall to yell you that you're just not inspired enough or care enough about "your art" to put it out.

Yeah, no. The last album I played on COST ME a grand out of pocket, and I paid that knowing my name would be printed next to Lile Gruber of Defeated Sanity on drums. I got in Terrorizer magazine, too. Guess what?! Nobody gives a sh*t and I've gotten 0 paid gigs since about 2018 lol.

"I am so prog, I listen to concept albums on shuffle." -KMac2021
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Awesoreno Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 19 2020 at 01:43
Originally posted by moshkito moshkito wrote:

Originally posted by Awesoreno Awesoreno wrote:

...
But this sucks for musicians who don't want to play that kind of stuff. I guess, as Mosh said, you can't be successful if you're doing it for the love of the art form anymore. 

Hi,

I believe you have misquoted me ... I have no issues with someone just doing their art for the love of it ... and not bother showing it to an audience that can't even appreciate it ... !!! And this happens all the time, and not just in one place, and some people, have to distance themselves from the war fronts, because the work they want to do suffers, and many know that their music, for themselves, is their beauty and salvation ... and they do not exactly need someone to tell them that!

Success is relative ... what you are saying is that it is a commercial endeavor, which is something I would not be after, regardless ... !!! I am not interested "selling" any reviews, or novels, or short stories, or poetry, or anything that I have written ... mostly because "words" don't mean anything any more ... no one READS any more and has enough regards for the very art they claim to defend and love ... it's all scrambled in their minds behind satisfaction and preferences ... and I understand that inner thing very well for myself.

I got to see, in my life time a famous dad that got very far, and mom took his work further ... but the children? You know, if you look at history you can easily say that for every house and country there is a God and the children are the ones that go out to fight all the wars to keep the legacy alive ... nothing else matters! 

As for the one that wants to do a theater/musical thing, LA is the place where things like HAIR and THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW ... so no one can say that it can not happen there ... and at least one band was quite "movie driven" (THE DOORS) ... so being able to make it down there is probably just a matter of timing and guts ... it can be done ... but you really need to have a focus on the art of it all ... that goes beyond the norm for the species! Wish I was young again, to get there and help "direct" it for you guys to make it even better!
Sorry, I think I'm having trouble being clear about what I mean. But I agree with you. Success is obviously relative and can refer to many things. I think I meant that there was a time where the passion for the art form was essential to the commercial success, but I don't see that as much anymore (well, I wasn't alive back then, so this is all based on what I have read, watched, heard, and generally synthesized when researching music history). Or at least, that passion was helpful in commercial success. But that love of the craft doesn't really help as much anymore. My producer friend is convinced this decade will be a renaissance, a return to the appreciation for exploring new territories in pop/rock/jazz/electronic music like the late 60s/early 70s. I myself am unsure, but I HOPE he's right.

Personally, I would like to share my music with others to which they can think and feel. Others may not, and that's fine too.

In any case, yes, LA is where it's at. If it were to happen anywhere, it'd be here.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 19 2020 at 05:03
Originally posted by Frenetic Zetetic Frenetic Zetetic wrote:

Originally posted by Davesax1965 Davesax1965 wrote:

Thanks to everyone who enjoyed the last post. I wish they didn't, and I wish I hadn't felt the need to post it. It's unfortunately true and needs saying - and reiterating - until people realise yes, you can get away with not paying for music.... if you want to kill it. 

I'll add another point. 

I sit back in awe of some of the music of the past, where (full time) musicians reached dizzying heights which we don't see today. Probably the high point of individual musical talent was the rise of avant garde jazz in the 50's, with high standards of musicianship carrying on into the late 70's. 

The reason that standards were so high were two fold - musicians got to such high standards by playing with each other on a daily basis and also it was expected (by the general public) that musicians should create something special. 

With the rise of the part time or bedroom musician, chances of playing live with other musicians disappears or diminishes. Music (at it's best) is a creative process where you play with and off other musicians. It's a melting pot of ideas which raises the skill level and creativity of all involved. And that's effectively disappeared. You may come back with a few, rare, individual examples but the landscape has utterly changed. If you think it hasn't, you've not been around long enough to remember. 

So we're on an inevitable downward spiral as well. 

Every single person I know who's involved in music has just had a total morale failure and thrown the towel in over the last five years. A few play pub gigs - not the natural home of pub rock - a few "do it for a laugh" - you soon stop laughing - the love has simply gone out of it for serious musicians. Which is bad news for prog rock fans, as it's "serious music". 

What's the solution ? Well, I tend to think that the main problem is a lack of venues musicians can go to - musical projects such as the Zodiac Arts Lab in 60's Berlin spawned a great mass of creativity. Stick some musicians in a venue at non rip off prices, watch what happens. Trouble is, most city centre rents are prohibitive, and a city centre is the only place this sort of thing can happen. 

But the most important thing is - this is a two way process. Fans - yes, you - buy the music or it dies. Look around, how much evidence do you need to put your hand in your pocket ? Two way street. 

You're on fire in this thread man, it's yours. At one point in history you could make a comfortable living as a non-famous backing musician in a jazz or swing band. Bass, trumpet, sax, etc - you didn't need to be famous and you'd get paid regularly. It was a profession and it was respected, as you said.

Also I'm a cynic in regards to "Now EVERYONE can record and release music from home! It's that GREAT?!" - no, it's not lol. All it does, as you said, is dilute the talent pool more and cater to laziness, which carries over to entitlement on the part of the listener due to other desperate people throwing their sh*t out daily and for free. This subconsciously creates an expectation in the consumer, which, as you laid out in your other post, kind of f**ks the whole thing up.

Artists don't do it FOR the money, but essentially being told there's no shot at even basic recouping completely kills motivation - and then normies also have the gall to yell you that you're just not inspired enough or care enough about "your art" to put it out.

Yeah, no. The last album I played on COST ME a grand out of pocket, and I paid that knowing my name would be printed next to Lile Gruber of Defeated Sanity on drums. I got in Terrorizer magazine, too. Guess what?! Nobody gives a sh*t and I've gotten 0 paid gigs since about 2018 lol.

The system is completely broken, man.  The friend I mentioned upthread - he has been featured in Prog Magazine multiple times and received glowing reviews from them as well as others.  And it's not easy to swing that being in India.  They liked his music, that would be the only reason they did so.  But to what avail, there is no path to where his band becomes a viable enterprise, none, which would be no surprise to you or Dave. I do knock him a little for being stubborn and having hang ups.  You still have a thriving film industry here (at least you did before covid-19, oh well) so he could do session work to pay for his passion projects, which he doesn't because it's mediocre work blah blah.  But people should remember that there was a time not so long ago, like right up to the turn of the century (no pun intended) when you could support yourself just playing, running a band full time. And I am only talking supporting oneself, not getting rich, not leading a LZ-like lavish lifestyle.  And musicians aren't asking for any government support to help them carry on their existence; all they want is to be paid for a work and I know that every full time corporate warrior lecturing musicians to be selfless would hate to be in a position where they can't get paid anything for their work. 


Edited by rogerthat - August 19 2020 at 05:04
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 19 2020 at 06:28
Originally posted by Jaketejas Jaketejas wrote:

The tough part is maintaining your energy and sweet skills as you age, especially since anything done well takes oodles of time. You might be hearing amazing music in your head, but it can be a long haul translating it into something that sounds even remotely like what you’re hearing in your mind - especially if you’re on a tight budget of shoestrings and glass bottles.

Hi,

Even though in music, having a "director" is not wanted at all, there are some things that a director with the proper focus can help a group with and their art. But that director has to have the ability to work a lot of experiments and improvisations, to help define and clarify that which a lyricist wishes to express, and make it stronger ... sometimes, a stiff just over there, singing the lyrics is not meaningful at all ... and the visualization of the presentation has to improve beyond the rock show bullpucky!

Shoestrings is relative ... if you look for the Jodorowski special, you will find that he had no money at all for his theater group ... and yet, it succeeded in Mexico City, although it probably did because of several warnings for nudity, and then, eventually, its showings stopped, likely for a couple of folks having actual sex on stage!

While something like this may sound extreme, in this time or so much religious and social bs ... something raw and open and strong, needs to come up ... it can't be just a punk like scene, because it will get laughed off the map! But it has to have some inner strength that goes way beyond the "tight budget and shoestrings" ... as so much new theater lives on anyway.

For rock music, the road is muddied badly ... and even folks here, laugh at the idea of rock music being done with costumes and theatrical this and that ... which some folks like PF took to the multi-media process, which worked ... but hurt the actual theater shows ... no show on Broadway will ever stand up anywhere near DSOTM or TW ... for example. The visualization and the design is stunning ... something that most theater productions, dance or regular stage, are completely afraid to do, anyway!

Fear is your biggest enemy ... not a record company, and not a public. Once you get over the fear, the strength of the work shows up ... and at that point, a lot of it is hard to stop and not be noticed. It might not be revolutionary ... but it will be seen!

But the hard part, is not your friend doing lyrics easy enough ... is having the ability to be able to create words THAT MEAN SOMETHING ... since most "lyrics" in any rock music are just complete and utter garbage and it is not likely to appeal to a new theater/film/multi-media audience ... or a rock audience full of fans sucking on little pipes or bubble gum! The same folks that won't buy your product because they can get it from their friends! 

But an "experience" like no other ... you will remember the rest of your life ... make it or not! And that is priceless, my precious friend!


Edited by moshkito - August 19 2020 at 06:52
... none of the hits, none of the time ... favoritism is not an artistic merit! www.pedrosena.com
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 19 2020 at 06:40
Originally posted by rogerthat rogerthat wrote:

...
The system is completely broken, man.  The friend I mentioned upthread - he has been featured in Prog Magazine multiple times and received glowing reviews from them as well as others.  And it's not easy to swing that being in India.  They liked his music, that would be the only reason they did so.  But to what avail, there is no path to where his band becomes a viable enterprise, none, which would be no surprise to you or Dave. 
...
Hi,

Just goes to show you what I say all the time ... it didn't happen in the country that invented the world of progressive music (England), which means, according to some PA fans that ... it didn't exist, and it must have been trash, otherwise it would have sold more, so it would have shown up in charts and in the threads.

The system is NOT broken ... the system is merely changing to something else, and most folks are trying hard to hold on to the past ... as if there were no future in front of them. You have to stop having these expectations about the future ... and just live for your work. So we could even take a nice story about a man that turned over a whole yard full of merchants, because of their very commercial attitudes towards everything!

AND WE STILL HAVEN'T LEARNED ANYTHING?

Originally posted by rogerthat rogerthat wrote:

...
And musicians aren't asking for any government support to help them carry on their existence; all they want is to be paid for a work and I know that every full time corporate warrior lecturing musicians to be selfless would hate to be in a position where they can't get paid anything for their work. 

Well, it worked in America during the depression ... even theaters and actors were being paid, although Orson Welles would tell you that it was worse than a McDonald's hamburger! But it created a lot of folks ... and people like Orson, went on to radio, and showed everyone how to scare the living pants off your legs!

It depends on the country and government ... in a country where the government funds everyone and every thing, it is very different ... but in a place like India ... the law of the jungle is the rule ... I would imagine. As an example, Portugal is one of those places where the country "serves" all of its people, and when my dad's ashes were brought to Portugal (government did that to create a space and bury him as an important figure in their arts history!), one of the first folks to complaint were the ones that were getting free handouts from the government ... and one said ... why we wasting money on ashes when the government can get us some food? And the point was that the gov't DID HAVE the money, but was not interested in giving it away ... and when I sad that the history of a country is often defined by its arts ... the whole thread died in 3 seconds with a very loud/large THUD! 

What bothers me, is how this is being stated and said ... as if a musician would expect to be paid for anything they do ... and immediately a bum on the street wants some pie! And honestly, I don't really know how I feel about that ... my history around musicians has been that most of them were average when it came to knowing music (no kidding!!!) and that they were more interested in riffs than they were in the music, which meant their song had one good part and three bad parts! I don't quite consider those folks "musicians" when compared to the folks in an orchestra, where the study of the music is just as important as the ability to play it! for rock musicians, this is a joke ... they don't really care how much they know or don't know, because they have an audience in front of them, and the orchestra doesn't!

That's the system that is broken ... not the rest!


Edited by moshkito - August 19 2020 at 06:51
... none of the hits, none of the time ... favoritism is not an artistic merit! www.pedrosena.com
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