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moshkito View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Value in Your Listening Experience
    Posted: February 10 2012 at 18:27
Originally posted by rogerthat

The question I pose to this general argument is if piracy alone is to blame for music's present state, why does Avatar rake in the millions?...
 
Bingo ... and the answer is NO.
 
The thing that riles me, though is people thinking that just because it is a "business" or a "company" that it is any more honest than you and I are. And from the experiences that I was next to ... I'm going to tell you that ... it's not even close!
 
There used to be a saying ... where there is money there is corruption and there are liars and thiefs.
 
But we have this image that because someone is rich or a label is big ... they are honest.
 
Times change ... and the American way that was defined by the movie "stars" in the 50's created a system that basically promotes "stars" and is discussed more fully in the Tom Dowd DVD which has the greatest history of American music you will ever find ... if you are progressive enough to want to check it out! And there it is ... your example highlighting the "millions" ... not discussing the music itself!
 
Basically, they turned their actors into singers and then made everything look bigger and better as a way to sell more and get results ... and it was against this that the 60's started fighting back.
 
So it took 30 more years and the Internet was finally the last piece that killed the star ... but we still have not gotten rid of the top ten thing ... which kinda tells you that we're still "guided" (or "controlled") by the Star or Chart thing ... which you and I really do not have any idea is actually true or not! 
 
Originally posted by rogerthat

... There is no doubt that illegal copies take away from the income of labels and artists but it is the major record labels who pretty much destroyed music culture as far as the mainstream goes and professional critics have played along like third rate conmen. 
 
This used to be the discussion in the 70's about the bootlegs.
 
But what made Led Zeppelin, Grateful Dead and many other bands famous in concert? ... you got it ... their bootlegs showed a band that was far and above superior in concert ... than it was on album ... which always suggested that there was a measure of control around them, and in a situation like this, they had more control than the record company would want you to have.
 
In the end, the band that sold the most bootlegs, is one of the richest ever ... The Grateful Dead. The 2nd most important number of bootlegs belonged to Bob Dylan, and you already know why ... there was never a same version fo the same song, and many times he changed lyrics on purpose and came up with something different. His "Basement Tapes" is still considered one of the best selling and picked up bootleg ever in the business, and I remember someone at _____________ in Berkely one time saying ... we can't keep enough of them! I don't see Bob complaining about not getting his money.
 
In the end, it was the "greed is good" generation that came up with this lawyer thing that made you and are familiar with became really famous on the Napster thing that Metallica tried to kill. You know what they did? ... they made downloading and mp3's famous instead. It was all about greed and Hammett on the "Behind the Music" once replied to the comment "... you have sold out ... " and the answer was ... "yeah. every night!". So you know they are happy about the money and have enough to allow lawyers to go around and get it for them .. why? ... because these guys can pay for themselves? ... I doubt it ... but when you are bringing in so much everyday ... who cares, right? Now you know why I do not respect Metalica ... music is fine but it is not a person, or entity I wish to meet or know.
 
Of course, this is also another problem ... you do know that Gong, Tangerine Dream, and a bunch of other bands have been trying to sue Branson/Virgin for some serious millions that he did not pay them yet on, right? But he can go fly his balls ... and we think it's great ... of the backs of how many other slaves, right?
 
Originally posted by rogerthat

... challenging music when Radiohead, Tool, Mars Volta have all done well? ...
 
It can be done now, because you can sell hundreds of thousands of records and only a stupid record company would not show up at Dream Theater, or Radiohead's door and say ... can we distribute your records? ... so they can also gain a dime from it! This is the main difference today ... the distribution conglomerates canalso make 50 cents per CD if they distribute it. But they also set their own price, because you sold them an X number of CD's out front, and what they (or K-Mart for example) charge on the disk is not your concern!
 
It was always there, and very visible in Europe that had a much more vibrant and outspoken attitude towards these things, because in those countries there is (still) a reasonable respect for the arts ... there is NONE in America and in England it is also almost NONE as well, as it is starting to fall into that commercial side and banter of things again ... there is no alternative media and too many internet sites are simply kissybum star things that do not help the arts or the artists ... it's become YouTube or Facebook ... and no one knows, or cares what the quality of the stuff is anymore.
 
Originally posted by rogerthat

...
And here's the thing that a lot of prog listeners don't appreciate given they are habituated to scourging the underground for good music:  it is very very important to have a healthy mainstream to support the volume and size of the music business as it is today. 
 
I agree to an extent.
 
I disagree when the so called "business" becomes your boss and you think it's good because everyone got sucked in by the advertisement and think its kewl and good. And you can easily go after Harry Potters and many other movies ... which are, essentially ... taking away from the smaller and more independent films.
 
I love hearing that the music is dead or the film is dead ... there has never been a time when the independent and true lover and dedicated film maker did not have a chance like they do today ... and on top of it, you have some visibility where 30 years ago I had to pray that the folks in Portland, SF, LA, Seattle, or some god-foraken place (at the time) like Sundance, even got a chance to read my scripts or see my two films ... today I can put them on Youtube and Facebook and tell all those festivals to go ________ themselves, and I can say out loud that Robert Redford is a jerk and what not ... because I don't need them, and above all ... I don't want them!
 
But I do not EVER fault Bob ... when he says what kind of idiot am I when someone is offering me $10 million dollars for 20 minutes of work and I am done?
 
Some of the patronage is good ... but you are not seeing this patronage at the Met or at the other places and music and Jazz and other musics are not doing as well as they could or should ... and I hope to see this improved on the Internet before I go from this ball of confusion and hatred.
 
 
Originally posted by rogerthat

I entirely endorse the passionate appeal to buy music but other than giving a bit of encouragement to the concerned artists (hopefully!), it won't achieve much more or 'save music'.
 
I have never bought a single mp3. For a very different reason. As you well know I am into the fidelity of things and the high quality of the sound and the music, and have had AMT HEIL's since 1975 ... and a Turnable with a $275 dollar cartridge from Stanton bought in 1978 (yep .. that EEE is that old!) ... and there was a massive difference between a lot of that sutff and 90% of all the mp3's or iTunes stuff that I ever saw that is a cheaper recording than any AM radio hit I have ever heard in my life.
 
That's not to say that mp3 is not good. I do my own on mp3 and don't have issues with it, but the stuff at iTunes and on most mp3's across the internet are not quality and what's more ... the majority of the people that copied them don't even know what the quality word means!
 
Will I buy an mp3? ... yes ... because I have over 500 albums that will never see the light of a CD or digital unless I rob the artist, and I simply will never do that.
 
But would I buy Daevid Allen talking about his days in the 60's with the Beat folks? ... you bet I would!


Edited by moshkito - February 10 2012 at 18:28
... none of the hits, none of the time ... you might actually find your own art, or self, and forego lousy heroes or Guru's!

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Post Options Post Options   Quote tamijo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 11 2011 at 05:04
Originally posted by Proggernaut

How about this scenario - JDL (apologies to Starless) tend to buy most of the music that he enjoys, yet really wants a copy of something that was only ever produced in a very limited run - say 500 copies - by a band that doesn't sell their music on iTunes (yes they do exist) so he downloads it illegally. If he hadn't done this he might have to wait years for a copy to show up on ebay as almost all of the original copies went to hardcore completionist prog enthusiasts. So now he has 'stolen' music he would never otherwise get the chance to hear.

The circumstances dosent change the fact that its a crime against the right holder.
As such we should keep this kind of thinking private, even if we agree.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote tamijo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 11 2011 at 05:00
So musicians will not be able to get the same size Castle that Jimi Page could, some will have to play on a simi amateur level (some allways did), more acts will be playing in smaller places where the audience can actuale c them without looking at a TV Screen. But on the other hand, much more acts will get out to a wider "geografical" audience. Not a big catastrophe is it ?
Its ethicaly a problem that the music are stolen from its owners, just like stealing from Mcdonnalds is not ok, even if they do make too much money, but i dont actualt think its bad for "music" in itself.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote leonalvarado Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 05 2011 at 00:58
Originally posted by rogerthat

I don't contest that there are people who download because the thought of getting music for 'free' is thrilling. But I agree with Starless that such people more likely fleece commercially oriented music.  I don't think such people would make the effort to track down, say, your albums and then download them.  Most people who care enough about music to venture into stuff like prog rock would eventually buy these albums.  For such music, I don't think the dent of piracy is significantly more than in the days of duplicate tapes and such.  Yes, because somebody can now upload the file on the net for others to access makes it more widespread but:
 
a) The demographic it caters to is still relatively small.
b) A good number of people who accessed these uploads would have probably never accessed the music in any other way back in the day.
 
The assumption usually made is if all the volumes of illegal downloads were converted to sales, the industry would still be doing just fine. But I think the answer to that lies in your suggestion that many of them thrill in the act of illegally downloading it. Ergo, they wouldn't have bought actual copies anyway.  On the other hand, because P2P and youtube gives much quicker access to music for many people, there are potentially more people who would buy albums.  And they do and most likely, whatever money you see is only on account of those who do buy CDs/LPs as applicable. I know of people who were not buying when they were in college but once they started earning, they began to collect.  The grim reality though is numbers of these fans for any given fragmented niche of the music industry are not huge and loyalties get further divided amongst bands.  In a more broad based musical climate, things may have been different, who knows.
 
I really don't think the industry has been wise to the changing lifestyle patterns and the steep increase in expectations of convenience of consumers in the last 10 years. I once thought of ordering GG DVDS directly off their website because I thought it would be a good idea to send the proceeds directly rather than route it through websites and possibly reduce their returns from it?  Well, the price of DVDs off their website was actually higher than say off CD Universe. Plus, most band websites don't give too many options other than paypal whereas with online portals, you can use credit cards. Maybe there are logistical difficulties with regard to this, but it is a problem for us consumers also when most obscure albums are not available in stores.  However, in the last one or two years, I think bands have started to use their websites better to promote their music and engage their fans more and also have a presence on social networks.  Perhaps, all this will bear fruit down the line but I don't see sales returning to 70s levels simply because the socio-cultural climate is in itself very different.  There are plenty options for people to spend time with and that has dented music's potency as an avenue of entertainment. 

Nobody knows for certain the future of the music industry. Otherwise, they would already had acted accordingly to stop the bleeding. The overall loss in sales affects all genres. Yes, the most commercially available get the biggest hit but then again, they also generate the most sales. Percentage-wise all genres have suffered from lack of sales. Record labels are moving fast to make more special re-issues and expensive box-sets because it is the only way the have figured out how to make a quick buck. I personally think that the strategy will eventually bite them back because the asking price for these products are astronomical. That's not even mentioning the fact that most people who will buy those box-sets already have the record to begin with. Call it a sign of desperation. Expect concert ticket prices to keep climbing ridiculously for the next few years. Many bands (myself included), are being more active in social networks and have better websites but that also takes a lot of time and effort. More so than people may think. I know, it is part of the new "doing business" but still translate into extra work outside of creating music.

The potential to sell more albums exist but so does the competition. P2P and YouTube offer so much stuff that to make oneself stand out becomes harder and harder. The major labels still control what plays on the highest rated radio stations and have the capacity and the capital to push records like no one else can. On the other hand, I think even some musicians should get use to the idea that the industry as a whole will not be as lucrative as it once was. I do feel strongly that musicians should be able to make enough to live comfortably but not necessarily live like royalty. Making a living as a musician is almost a luxury these days. They should feel lucky to be able to make a living without having to go to a regular office setting or a factory, (etc.) like most people do. Hey, but that's another subject matter.

There is no doubt that things in the industry are changing and we still far from seeing them settling down. I'll feel lucky just to be able to keep putting music out. The day when that becomes unfeasible will be the day I quit.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Proggernaut Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 30 2011 at 00:06
How about this scenario - JDL (apologies to Starless) tend to buy most of the music that he enjoys, yet really wants a copy of something that was only ever produced in a very limited run - say 500 copies - by a band that doesn't sell their music on iTunes (yes they do exist) so he downloads it illegally. If he hadn't done this he might have to wait years for a copy to show up on ebay as almost all of the original copies went to hardcore completionist prog enthusiasts. So now he has 'stolen' music he would never otherwise get the chance to hear.

Proggernaut (Noun) - one who is exploring the endlessly expanding universe of progressive music.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote harmonium.ro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 29 2011 at 23:03
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 29 2011 at 22:58
I don't contest that there are people who download because the thought of getting music for 'free' is thrilling. But I agree with Starless that such people more likely fleece commercially oriented music.  I don't think such people would make the effort to track down, say, your albums and then download them.  Most people who care enough about music to venture into stuff like prog rock would eventually buy these albums.  For such music, I don't think the dent of piracy is significantly more than in the days of duplicate tapes and such.  Yes, because somebody can now upload the file on the net for others to access makes it more widespread but:
 
a) The demographic it caters to is still relatively small.
b) A good number of people who accessed these uploads would have probably never accessed the music in any other way back in the day.
 
The assumption usually made is if all the volumes of illegal downloads were converted to sales, the industry would still be doing just fine. But I think the answer to that lies in your suggestion that many of them thrill in the act of illegally downloading it. Ergo, they wouldn't have bought actual copies anyway.  On the other hand, because P2P and youtube gives much quicker access to music for many people, there are potentially more people who would buy albums.  And they do and most likely, whatever money you see is only on account of those who do buy CDs/LPs as applicable. I know of people who were not buying when they were in college but once they started earning, they began to collect.  The grim reality though is numbers of these fans for any given fragmented niche of the music industry are not huge and loyalties get further divided amongst bands.  In a more broad based musical climate, things may have been different, who knows.
 
I really don't think the industry has been wise to the changing lifestyle patterns and the steep increase in expectations of convenience of consumers in the last 10 years. I once thought of ordering GG DVDS directly off their website because I thought it would be a good idea to send the proceeds directly rather than route it through websites and possibly reduce their returns from it?  Well, the price of DVDs off their website was actually higher than say off CD Universe. Plus, most band websites don't give too many options other than paypal whereas with online portals, you can use credit cards. Maybe there are logistical difficulties with regard to this, but it is a problem for us consumers also when most obscure albums are not available in stores.  However, in the last one or two years, I think bands have started to use their websites better to promote their music and engage their fans more and also have a presence on social networks.  Perhaps, all this will bear fruit down the line but I don't see sales returning to 70s levels simply because the socio-cultural climate is in itself very different.  There are plenty options for people to spend time with and that has dented music's potency as an avenue of entertainment. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote leonalvarado Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 29 2011 at 22:28
The self-gratification society is not just an assumption. It is a very palpable thing. Rogerthat made some good points regarding how much music is out there. However, greedy fans do exist and the allure of acquiring something for free is greater than spending the time to listen to it with the required attention. I know this because I have seen it with my own eyes. As a father of three kids with ages ranging from 23 to 4 years of age, I've seen plenty of the behaviour from my older kids and their friends. Even though they very well know my position on the matter.

I think I eventually got through to my children but I can attest for their friends. Trying to get away with illegal downloading of music seems to be a much bigger motivator than the music itself. This mere action has changed the perception of the true value of music in newer generations.  Subsequently, they do not think of whatever it took to create the music, nor do they care. I think to automatically assume that one is entitled to own music without paying is ludicrous and greedy.

How much does it affect the industry? Well, just today Universal announce that they are acquiring EMI. That leaves the world with only three major record labels (Universal, Sony and Warner). As a result, people will loose their jobs and bands will be let out of their rosters. In order to try capturing the buyers money, we are starting to see more "special issued" box sets of single albums. Pink Floyd (which I love), has the immersion set of some of their albums. Such sets include some ridiculous amount of material that we wouldn't have cared to listen to when the original album came out. Something like six CDs, a booklet, a DVD, etc. For God's sake, the original album was the best stuff out of all that and it lasted only 45 minutes!

The point I'm trying to make here is that the remaining labels are trying to come up with material that has more than what is available  by downloading. Thing s like books, art prints, postcards, tickets replicas, etc. All in one box set for the buyer's convenience. The one major problem, it is way too expensive.

Without Illegal downloads, the record industry would still be moving right along. The need to hike-up concert tickets prices to the levels of today would not have happened so sudden. The ultra-expensive box sets (U2 has one going for over $500), would not have happened neither. If only everyone would pay for the right to buy their music.

Rogerthat mentions that people would buy an album if they could. Well, if they can eat at a MacDonald's and pay for a friend's lunch too, then they can. Most CDs do not cost more than a cheap lunch (box sets excluded : D). Yet, people insist that they don't have the money to buy music. Well, maybe not enough money to get the entire Led Zeppelin CD collection but certainly enough to get at least one a month.

I will have to say that if you, (the reader), can't afford to spend $15.00 a month in music, then your troubles are so big that you wouldn't even have a computer to listen to illegal downloads. After all, computers are much more expensive than the music in them. And, let's not forget the cost of internet access, electricity and whatnot.

Call me cynical but I actually find it hard to believe that most people can't buy a CD now and then. Not even the CD! Just buy the song! At 99 per song I doubt it that it will really break anybody's piggy bank.

I will agree with Rogerthat in the sense that the experience of discovering new recorded music is not as alluring as it used to be. The amount of music available today is staggering. Because of that, independent artists such as myself find it very hard to make people aware of our music. Many like me, seek the help of the internet searching for people with similar taste in music. As a result, we end up in forums such as this one which allows us to participate in conversations such as this one so that other people can at least understand where we come from.

As far as the future of recording music goes. Who knows? Whoever has the right answer will become a very rich man/woman. As for me, I will keep releasing music until I can't anymore but, it would be nice for the whole endeavour to be able to at least pay for itself. So far that's not the case but I'll keep doing it because I love doing it. Simple as that.

Perhaps when the full damage is done (as is often the case), people will go back to pay for the pleasure of listening music. Musicians should be able to make a living (and I'm not talking living like kings neither). Illegal downloads steal from their ability to make that living. I don't know of anyone who likes for their means to an end be taken away by a total stranger. Musicians are no different.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Starless Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 29 2011 at 03:56
The story of Johnny Downloader (JDL)...
 
JDL's love of music lies mainly in the pursuit of the new. He has all the old classics, but apart from one or two long standing faves, prefers to hunt down obscurities by bands he has never heard of, usually on the strength of a review on PA and other sites. JDL has a busy life so he cannot spend inordinate amounts of time sitting in front of his computer listening to streaming from myspace etc.
 
Shock! Horror! He illegally downloads FragileOn The Edge by Scandinavian proggers Shaky so he can listen to it in his car as he drives around in his work.
 
He falls in love with the album, buys the CD from the band's website, and is pleasantly surprised at the much better sound quality than his ropey download (now relegated to his mp3 player), He also buys a t-shirt, and will undoubtedly buy their new album and has already bought their previous releases.
 
All because of one illegal download - so it's not all bad is it?
 
I suggest there are a lot of fans, particularly of obscure music, be it prog or any other genre, that have done this. Without fans like these and the delights or otherwise of the interwebby, "Shaky" and their ilk would remain a secret (which might be a good thing, but that's another story!) . On the other hand, people who illegally download music by established artists are killing the mainstream music industry it's true, but when said industry  thinks we all need a seventh version of Dark Side Of The Moon complete with all sorts of useless ephemera at a ridculously inflated price, you can't blame Joe and Jemima Public for being a bit pissed off, can you? Particularly when they discover that the thing they really want, the live concert, is split between DSOTM and WYWH. Who is being greedy here? Mason's argument boils down to "it's there if you want it" is a) wrong and b) shows how out of touch he is with the hard times we live in,
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 29 2011 at 03:05
Originally posted by leonalvarado


We live in different times. We live in a society of instant self-gratification regardless of consequences. We do many things that in the long run will hurt us but we still do them because is the order of the day. Hacking the web is cool even though it produces nothing good and is at best, a childish accomplishment. To expect for people to understand the value that music has is not something that equates well with the current crop of consumers.

 
I am afraid starting out with such an assumption is in itself not going to make much headway in overcoming this issue.  It beats me why musicians and music lovers both are unable to grasp the problems of too much fragmentation. I'd bet anything that piracy is much more rampant in the case of 'indie' films and hurts them much more than commercial filmmakers.  Pirated copies of commercial films are also made and circulated on the internet but access to the real thing is much easier so there is at least some group of consumers who will still go and watch it on the big screen.  Piracy is therefore not driven necessarily by greed but simply the desire to find out and explore, as Dean once put it.  The option to access it immediately than to look hard for it in a pursuit that may ultimately even be fruitless is too tempting for a lot of people.
 
The same applies to music.  People just don't have access to and information about lots of bands.  I and one of my friends now use an online portal that saves us shipping on imported CDs. It's a big boon and we are very happy to be able to order more CDs and have them delivered at our doorstep rather than hunt for them in poorly organized racks in stores.  But these alternatives are not always available nor are we always aware of it.  I know there are people who would not buy at any cost and believe in extracting every penny out of piracy if they could, but they are not necessarily the majority.  If people could buy AND they wanted to listen to a particular album, they will do so. 
 
The problem is, all this while more and more piles of recorded music has accumulated and the experience of discovering new recorded music is in itself no more as alluring as it used to be. And in the meantime, people have got a plethora of options to spend their time and are, in some cases, possibly more excited about it.  I don't really know what is the future of the recorded music format and I think the chances of faring better live are more favourable provided, again, musicians can come up with an experience that enriches the audience. It is tough, goes without saying, and the mountains of music that we can now listen to whenever we choose to (instead of attending a concert as in the pre-recording era) is not going to make this challenge any less difficult.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote leonalvarado Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 28 2011 at 21:43
Having read some of the posts here, I'll throw my two cents worth. Yes, labels are basically evil entities and yes, they do have some very talented people working for them. People who are great at combining the right producer with the right talent and the such.

I have been involved in the music industry in many capacities for over two decades. I have done work directly through some bands or through their record label. In the past I mostly did album cover artwork but today I find myself in the middle of things with two released CDs and a third one on the way. Over the years I have worked with, or done work for bands such as Jethro Tull, Yes, Peter Gabriel and King's X to name a few. I have also done album covers for Atlantic records, Word records and Priority records. As a musician, I have recorded with the talents of John Goodsall (Brand X), Billy Sherwood (Yes, CIRCA) and Bill Bruford (Yes, King Crimson). In creating my music, I have worked with Abbey Road studios and Metropolis Mastering in the UK and Rivendell Recorders in the US.

Technology has allowed us to reach goals that seemed unobtainable before. However, technology is a double edge sword. The other side of technology is what allows people to illegally download the intellectual property of others. Unlawful downloading happens at the cost of the artist's back. Many people operate under the misconception that if a person has an album on the market, then they must have lots of money. This could not be further from the truth.

In actuality, composing, recording, producing, manufacturing and placing an album in the market still cost many thousands of dollars. Sure, the costs are much less than what they used to but to make a quality product will still run into the thousands. Independent artists have to be in-charge of budgeting their own projects. That means getting the money from somewhere. Then, they have to find the proper studio and pay studio time, the cost of a sound engineer, equipment rental, mastering studio, the artist who prepares the artwork, the manufacturing, the distribution deal, the shipping, etc.

When people download music illegally, they don't think of whatever it took the artist to create the music. They don't think (and in many cases don't care) that the artist might have sank his or her savings into the project. One CD often costs less than a cheap lunch and yet, many people are hesitant to even pay that. On top of being an artist and a musician, I am also a record collector of sorts. For example, I have all the Genesis albums on CD but also have all the new box-sets (of course, my name is on the live one listed as a photographer so I had to get that one). Most likely, I spent a small fortune on the stuff but it's not like I bought them all in one day. Besides, why wouldn't I support the band that has brought me so many good times throughout the years? I feel that is the least I can do.

We live in different times. We live in a society of instant self-gratification regardless of consequences. We do many things that in the long run will hurt us but we still do them because is the order of the day. Hacking the web is cool even though it produces nothing good and is at best, a childish accomplishment. To expect for people to understand the value that music has is not something that equates well with the current crop of consumers.

Music is not the only part of the entertaining industry that suffers but it is the major one that does. Lower music sales equal higher concert tickets costs. So, it would probably be safe to say that many of the people that have illegally downloaded any Pink Floyd or Roger Water music will not be going to see the current The Wall tour which carries ticket prices from $100 up to $300 and above. One would assume that if you are not willing to pay $15.00 for the music, then paying those astronomical prices for the concert would definitely be out of the question. So, you can thank all the pirated music for elevating the cost of seeing a concert to the point that only your parents could afford.

Greed is everywhere. Record labels are greedy, of course they are! they are run by corporations who's main purpose is to prop up their stock value. Some artists are greedy, true but many are only trying to keep up with the lifestyle that they were once used to, (and I can't blame them for that). And now, we have greedy fans too! People who want all the music they can get without paying a cent for it.

All in all, there is a disfunction that permeates through the entire segment. Eventually it will get hammered out somehow. In the meantime though, the recording artists pay the big portion of it.

My personal projects are titled "Plays Genesis and Other Original Stuff" and "Strangers In Strange Places". The holidays are approaching and I feel is a good time to help those who are in most need. Somewhere in this forum somebody mentioned starving children. I can't end starvation among children but I can help and all of you can help too. Form now until December 31st, I will donate a portion from the sale of any of my CDs sold through CD Baby to UNICEF. I will also match the amount with my own money to double the donation. You could help poor children across the world as well as help fight illegal downloads in one swift move. I will let people know of the proceedings through my facebook page which is listed here http://www.facebook.com/Leonplaysmusic. To may purchase the CDs here: http://https://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/LeonAlvarado Not everybody is greedy, I'm not looking to get rich out of this neither. I figure we can do something good through something we all have in common, music.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 27 2011 at 01:30
I am saying...don't think about what the audience will like or whether it is ideal for a no.1 hit or such. Just think about whether it is sharp, crisp and hits the bulls eye.  An artist has to be detached enough to be able to judge his work in that light and work harder if he feels he has failed on that count.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 27 2011 at 01:28
Originally posted by thehallway

What I've been trying to get across is that, if a musician creates something according to their artistic maxim, and it is not memorable, then any attempt to take that music and alter it's memorability, can be defined as an artistic compromise. Even if it actually improves the music, and the music still makes its artistic statement, it is still changing a piece of art for financial gain. 

Well, my view may be hardline on this count but I think as long as music is made with the intention of finding some audience, memorability is under all circumstances an imperative and making it more memorable, except where it's achieved by rather forced and artificial constructs, makes the song better. And writing the best song possible is more important than one's artistic maxim.  When I write, I try to write the best I can. I don't know what is objectively the best and what is it that the audience would like more but I can judge if a line here or there is unwieldy or too verbose or simply not getting the point across.  A passage of music without initiative is similar to that. Maybe it flows out of the artist's style but that means the style itself needs more improvement.  If we look at Beatles here, for example, their flexibility was a great strength. They adapted and went with the flow and did not cling to 'ideals' as some artists seem to.  It may have been destiny that Beatles revolutionized rock and made an unprecedented impact on music culture but they also got a lot of things right.
 
Now, of course, if the artist makes art for himself first and foremost,  there are entirely different considerations and he may write absolutely as he pleases, aware that he does not care at all if it will find any takers. But if you desire an audience for your work, 'sharpness' is a must. The prog crowd loves to justify noodling on the grounds that 'others' don't have the patience but the fact is a lot of times, noodling doesn't really achieve much and it is just that we patiently wait for it to resolve and make way for something better while others won't. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 26 2011 at 21:06
I don't deny that it is tough to write a memorable piece and further that what a musician may find memorable may still not get such a good reception from the audience and also that you may not be born with a great personality. But I also feel artists in general, and not just musicians, could work on these things and give themselves the best chance of succeeding.  I mean, we surely recognize that not all actors were born with macho presence and not all actresses had drop dead looks when they began to knock doors in the industry? Grooming can take you places and the need is much less for a musician so it could well be cultivated without much expense or expert advice.  We know that Peter Gabriel was an introvert and not even  comfortable being the frontman of Genesis(which is why the role was initially given to Anthony Phillips).  For the sake of the band, Gabriel began to wear masks and talk and such and eventually became one of the legendary theatrical frontmen of prog.  Personality is everything for metal frontmen and again not all of them were brutal from the time they rocked the cradle. LOL   

So, my point really is that, yes, business savvy, the ability to write something memorable, and the ability to present oneself charmingly, these things may not be easily acquired but you can "make your luck" to some extent by putting efforts in this direction too.  It would not bother me one bit how the musicians look, as in even apart from physical features, do they exude confidence on stage. I really don't care about those things but a lot of people do and  and, sorry to say so, a lot of people who I'd otherwise consider very erudite and open minded about music attach too much importance to these things. So it's essentially a losing battle if you don't understand what the audience wants and rather than hoping for favourable circumstances, a better approach imo is to adapt and see to what extent you can improve on these things without compromising on your artistic values.  Speaking of which, the other big marketing coup of rock is Sex Pistols and to this day the legend of Never Mind the Bollocks is unshakable though I'd personally much rather London Calling or Marquee Moon and find it rather boring.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote thehallway Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 26 2011 at 14:20

"I think Steve Harris certainly is quite shrewd and knows what he wants on an Iron Maiden album."

Maybe he is. I don't know enough about the band to even know who that is. In any case, musicians being shrewd is rare. Robert Fripp comes to mind but not many others. Often it is a record exec or A&R guy that is shrewd, and that is when the compromises come in; whether they benefit or taint the music is just luck, the aim of these people is purely financial.

 "I have never been comfortable with the difficult-simple dicohotomy and don't like to look music in such terms."

Me neither. I was referring to the difficult-easy dichotomy, and regarding one's aims, rather than the music itself.

"I don't see why a piece cannot be memorable"

It can...... of course it can. If a musician creates something according to their artistic maxim, and it is memorable, then great. Win win situation. What I've been trying to get across is that, if a musician creates something according to their artistic maxim, and it is not memorable, then any attempt to take that music and alter it's memorability, can be defined as an artistic compromise. Even if it actually improves the music, and the music still makes its artistic statement, it is still changing a piece of art for financial gain. I'm all for being business-aware, but I just feel that the whole marketing process should be done after any music is completed, i.e. not overlapping with the actual creative process.

It's all to do with how music is made, I feel. Let's say I sit down with the goal of writing a number one hit single. If, when it's finished, I think to myself that the song actually isn't single-worthy, then I change it accordingly until the goal is achieved (or until I give up), then that's all fine. Chances are, the song may be worse than it originally was on other terms, but it succeeds in it's only purpose, which is to get to number one. This artistic goal happens to coincide with financial gain, so you can see how there would never be a need to alter this song on purely financial grounds. However, let's say I want to write another song that represents the sadness of unnecessary death in war, a protest song perhaps. Again, I can change it's musical elements at any point in order to help achieve the purpose of the song. But if I want to make money out of the song, and I find that it isn't a natural money-maker, I will have to change it more, and in other ways. If this still aligns with the artistic goal, then great, but it is unlikely. When it doesn't align, you have compromised one for the other. For me, the artistic goal is more important, which is why I am uncomfortable with such compromises, even if I have to make them from time to time in order to avoid poverty.

And, regarding the non-musical factors....... again, you're right in saying that having a particular personality can earn you money, while your music can remain safely unchanged by greedy hands. But Lennon was born with his wit and his charm, but if you happen to have a non-media-friendly personality, then it's just tough luck. Your personality isn't really something you can choose.

 



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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 26 2011 at 06:35
Originally posted by thehallway

I don't think it's intentional that a lot of musicians see commercialising their music as a compromise. It is inconvenient that the art people want to make rarely fits with mainstream tastes....... inconvenient but not desired. If the two variables aligned such that no compromise was necessary, I would love that! But as I said, it only happens to the lucky few, The Beatles, Iron Maiden....... You could try to say that these two bands were very shrewd at business, that they were marketing geniuses and were able to "tap into" audiences, and furthermore that their music aligned perfectly with this business model and they had perfect careers........ but that's untrue. The last part is true, and the rest is luck. I honestly don't think Iron Maiden knew what audiences want, it's more like audiences happened to continue liking whatever the band wanted to create that year.

Well, I think Steve Harris certainly is quite shrewd and knows what he wants on an Iron Maiden album. Yes, the first big break had destiny written all over it but he consolidated on it really well, which is a trick the rest of the NWOBHM crowd missed.  And generally speaking, metal musicians at least as of today know what metalheads want and serve it on a platter. Which is why it is one of the most networked and thriving underground music scenes. 
 
And with regard to compromise, it is all about how much importance one attaches to what aspects of music. I have personally never seen pop music inherently as a compromised effort, it is just that some or in fact a lot of pop is extremely 'manufactured'. But there is nothing wrong in my view in writing something appealing and memorable, whereas I have heard people from the art music crowd abhor the very presence of hooks.  It in fact takes a lot of skill and creativity to write something that is fresh and finds its mark in all of four minutes or so.  And I believe that, regardless of what IS the eventual commercial success of such music, a musician does give himself a much better chance of finding an audience when his music is very accessible and appealing. Rather than a compromise, I see it more as tapping a different dimension of compositional skill and a difficult one in my view.
 
So I do wonder if sometimes say the prog rock set wilfully avoid writing something memorable because they have already set out to write something 'difficult'. Certainly, Dave Stewart's observations made with regard to National Health's Of Queues and Cures suggests something of the sort. I am all for musicians writing with clear goals of expression in mind even if said goals take the musician in a not too accessible direction but  for all that I like prog, I have never been comfortable with the difficult-simple dicohotomy and don't like to look music in such terms.
 
You can write something lofty AND memorable too.  Beethoven's symphonies may not be pop music, but the motifs used are unforgettable and the music reveals a throbbing pulse when given the chance. I cannot say that all the 'lofty' music I have heard is necessarily driven by such clear goals and direction as the maestro's works.  So, while I do appreciate ambition, musicians need to be mindful of its pitfalls. It is not necessarily only a question of compromise or honesty but also a question of skill and limitations thereof. I have no objections whatsoever if an artist constructs an entire 50 minute long instrumental with barely any memorability and simply passages of music melodically leading into one another but I also don't see why a piece cannot be memorable and the moment it is, chances of it being well received improve. 
 
 
Originally posted by thehallway

Also, how can you tap into non-musical factors when making music?

 
Well, things like attitude, personality and such. There are many other aspects to it so I wouldn't want to reduce it to generalizations. But, for instance, Guns N Roses's success was driven greatly by how AXL was projected to the audience. I find the notion that they represented a break with the era of slick, cheesy glam metal barely convincing but the band were projected as bad boys and won much favour. To this day, their songs like November Rain are hailed as rock classics, so it is now a flourishing franchise and a legacy.  It may not be the most inspiring example musically speaking but it is again an example of tapping into things the audience cares about which may not have anything to do with the music. I have sympathy and admiration for the likes of Hackett who quietly play their music with a smile and do no 'more' but what again is the damage done at all in projecting oneself well and aptly to win more favour IN ADDITION to great musical talent? Why not?  John Lennon, I'd argue, is better remembered than Macca because of such non musical factors.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote thehallway Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 26 2011 at 04:47

Originally posted by rogerthat

One related point I omitted in that long-ass post is that commercial viability can actually fuel ambition by providing the means and resources that an artist would be otherwise denied. That's what happened in the 70s when bigger was actually better. When lack of resources makes you pare down your ambition and scale, that also affects how exciting (or not) your music is.  

This is a case where I am happy to compromise, if I can reap the benefits later by using all the cash I've earned to make the art I couldn't afford to make when I first started out. It's just another unlucky trend in genres like Prog and Metal, that the best albums and the best shows are typically the most expensive ones (just look at Pink Floyd's lighting bill........)!



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Post Options Post Options   Quote thehallway Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 26 2011 at 04:40
Originally posted by rogerthat

Originally posted by thehallway

 

The concepts of art and business indeed are not polar opposites, however, they don't have enough in common to ever avoid compromise (except in extraordinary cases like The Beatles), which means that, yes, even though people well-trained in both can make a decent financial gain from their art, it also means that they will never be 100% satisfied (unless their entire artistic desires happen to be exactly the same as what sells millions in the charts, which, given that that kind of music is fabricated by producers, record execs and calculating "hit-writers", and never the musicians, is unlikely). I hope that long sentence makes sense. LOL

You're saying that compromise is necessary in order to make any kind of practical living out of music, which is totally and unquestionably true. I just don't like it. It's not fair. It makes me grumpy! I'm sure if you've met any passionate artists, you'll know how they dislike compromise. A vision, a goal, a statement..... these things need to come out, and the harsh reality that you'll probably live in poverty if you don't compromise it in some way, sickens me. I wouldn't mind if it were even a poorly paid job, one that literally allows you to scrape by..... but it isn't, it's literally 0.00 (unless you start compromising). My own musical aims are not completely commercially infeasible, I guess, but they aren't exactly mainstream either. In ten years time I'll let you know how I'm doing! If I need a second job, so be it...... I think I would rather earn money by other means and keep art separate. If the current trends in art change in my favour however............




Let me put it this way. You try to make the art you want to and THEN you look at how best you can position to to get the best possible audience. There are two mistakes commonly made here: one is trying to second guess what people like and deliberately dumb down your art. The other is in assuming that anything accessible or with wide appeal is dumbed down and necessarily compromised (hence a true artist must make something esoteric, inhabiting a rarefied sacred place). Neither positions are correct in my view. 

A case study here, which I have always been fascinated by, is Iron Maiden.  During their long career, they hardly changed their style (though they got more ambitious within it around Powerslave-SSOASS and again Brave New World - AMOLAD) and they did not depend only on radio airplay for success. They have seemingly mobilized or galvanized legions of metalheads all around the world and filled stadiums time and again on tour. Not just back in the 80s but even in the decade gone by, and they still found YOUNG fans, not 40 somethings feeling nostalgic for childhood or teenhood favourites. And if one were to ask Steve Harris, he would not say he had to compromise to ensure the band lasted longer. On the other hand, he would say they remained 'true' to metal ideals.  There is, as such, much to learn from the concept of 'true' in metal.  They could never convincingly sell something like that in rock because it was too mainstream from the get-go but 'true' is everything in metal.  Iron Maiden quite miraculously added new fans to the legion all the time while never alienating loyal, die hard metalheads.  I don't think it is a historical accident, it's just excellent positioning. 

Another thing is I have never felt convinced that merely making something accessible and appealing involves a compromise. I would personally want as many people as possible to read my work and same goes for music. I don't really understand how snobbery derives from making it out there and difficult.  If somebody WANTS to explore new horizons and the results of that would not be so appealing in the near-term (Stockhausen or Schoenberg's innovations, for example), I fully understand that but I don't know that one has to necessarily be out of bounds of the mainstream to be true to art.  Sure, people do compromise but I strongly feel that if artists tapped into many, er, non musical factors that influence the listener's preferences (and I don't mean anything dirty or unethical here),  they would not have to compromise on their work and still find a good audience.

Lastly, I am not saying you said that but I don't think embracing contemporary sounds and technology in music is a compromise. It makes it sound 'different' but that is not objectively a bad thing.  In all honesty, I am at a loss when aspiring musicians talk about what "sounds good" because that is a highly opinionated and close minded way to look at music. I am strongly influenced by early 20th century fiction but I try to use specific words that are very commonly used nowadays without resorting to 4chan.  When I submit non fiction articles to websites, I use much shorter sentences than what I do on such internet forums LOL and attempt to communicate the same thing thus (and it is a fascinating challenge and learning exercise in itself). You must speak the same language as your audience, that being my point earlier about cultural oblivion.  The 'classics' that are admired by many rock listeners were all cutting edge for their time, be it Beatles or Led Zeppelin. They were 'with it' and pushed rock into new directions at the same time as they achieved commercial success.

I don't think it's intentional that a lot of musicians see commercialising their music as a compromise. It is inconvenient that the art people want to make rarely fits with mainstream tastes....... inconvenient but not desired. If the two variables aligned such that no compromise was necessary, I would love that! But as I said, it only happens to the lucky few, The Beatles, Iron Maiden....... You could try to say that these two bands were very shrewd at business, that they were marketing geniuses and were able to "tap into" audiences, and furthermore that their music aligned perfectly with this business model and they had perfect careers........ but that's untrue. The last part is true, and the rest is luck. I honestly don't think Iron Maiden knew what audiences want, it's more like audiences happened to continue liking whatever the band wanted to create that year.

I'm not making excuses.... or trying to say that it's out of our hands and hence, we are allowed to moan. But I also maintain that: in cases when the artist does feel they have to compromise their art, it isn't snobbery. It isn't that we only feel we're making true art when it isn't mainstream. Anything I create, I view as true art (whether it's truly good or truly bad!)...... and sometimes I feel it has an audience, but all too often that audience is nobody but myself. You could say I'm just not 'with it'. In addition, the loftier a goal is, the less likely it becomes commercially viable; probably why Prog isn't too popular. If your life's artistic goal is to get people dancing (and no, I don't think that that isn't "true art") then it is safe to say this is easier to achieve than getting people to sit and contemplate difficult metaphysical concepts. The more successful people have easier goals, which is fine..... hats off to them! But the loftier goals are not only harder, but they less often sync up with pleasant financial situations. Yeah, it's a stereotype, but sadly it's true.

Also, how can you tap into non-musical factors when making music?



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Post Options Post Options   Quote darkshade Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 25 2011 at 20:54
Originally posted by Henry Plainview

 
Originally posted by rogerthat

The question I pose to this general argument is if piracy alone is to blame for music's present state, why does Avatar rake in the millions? Why do kids rush to get their copies of Harry Potter/Twilight? I am not trying to talk up their quality, just asking how is that writers and filmmakers can still access a large audience in the same economic and social conditions as musicians?

Well reading a book on a computer sucks, and you can't repeat seeing Avatar in 3D on your computer screen. Music is the same no matter where you get it. I think we'll start seeing more widespread book piracy as digital reading devices take hold in the market. And movie companies are suffering hard from piracy, or at least people not going to theaters anymore. I can't find the link now, but I read that theater attendance in the US has stayed more or less flat even though the population increases. 3D has excited Hollywood so much because the same amount of people would go, but pay more money for tickets. Fortunately, people seem to be getting tired of this.


No time to go through this whole thread, but I just wanted to add, that pop music (-aka- anything that is shoved in our faces on TV/radio/internet/etc) still sells by the buttload. Maybe our beloved prog bands and jazz artists are getting hit, but pop is still thriving; as it gets more and more bland...

But on the bright side, our beloved prog bands and jazz artists are making more money touring than they were in the 90s (generally speaking)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 25 2011 at 20:28
One related point I omitted in that long-ass post is that commercial viability can actually fuel ambition by providing the means and resources that an artist would be otherwise denied. That's what happened in the 70s when bigger was actually better. When lack of resources makes you pare down your ambition and scale, that also affects how exciting (or not) your music is.  
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