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Author Topic: Music - and Integrity (Valuable Article)  (Read 1199 times)

hargerst

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Music - and Integrity (Valuable Article)
« on: May 22, 2004, 03:23:43 pm »

March 2001 - So they nominate Steely Dan for album of the year, and put Eminem together with Elton John at the Grammy's?  And they make a big speech about how artistic integrity is so important and freedom of speech and the right to disagree about the lyrics.  Big deal.  He sold about a bazillion albums, so they had to cover their corporate assets!!  Now that the music industry is in the hands of just a few people who are determining what the next big thing will be, we don't stand much of a chance to hear about real music.  If you're a female, it's all about your navel these days. If you can't see at least 6 inches of bare skin above and below your navel, you ain't gonna have a hit.

Boy bands are in and it's not important whether they play instruments or write songs - it's about the "major buying segment" (which happens to be 11 to 14 years old kids).  Watch Frontline on PBS the next time they run "The Merchants of Cool".  Limp Biskit, and a lot of your favorites are todays version of the Monkees - made for TV, created by faceless people, sitting in unmarked offices in some stone tower in New York city.  It's all about the "targeted market segment" and "return on investment" and spin-offs that determine whether a band lives or dies.  Get used to it - it ain't changing anytime soon.  A while back, it was a bunch of stars, singing, "We Are The World".  Today, it's about five conglomerates singing, "We Own The World".  

Yeah, you bet I'm bitter.  I remember a time when it was about real music and real talent, not "market share".  So what can we do about it?  Nationally, almost nothing, except to not vote with our wallet.  But locally, we can support live clubs, local bands, buy the CD from the bandstand, call the radio stations and demand more local music, and turn out to hear some of the best music around, played live almost every night of the week, all over the country.  If you gotta hear the latest from Bittany, or Christina or N'Stink, or all your other pop favs, listen to the radio.  Don't support them with your dollars.  Every time you shell out your bucks, you're just confirming some suit in New York that says "I've got these kids pegged".

Look around you.  Right now the music business is about as ugly as I've ever seen it, but that doesn't mean we can't change it.  The real question is, do you want it to change, and what are you gonna do about it?
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Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
Indian Trail Recording Studio

John Ivan

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Re: Music - and Integrity (Valuable Article)
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2004, 12:01:14 am »

One thing we can collectively do as people who have been around for a while is reach out to these younger bands  writers producers and singers and make them realize that, the fact that only a few folks in "high" places run this business is partly bullshit. It seems to me that this is true of the biggest of the biggest acts but more and more,bands are building their own fan base and walking into potential record deals with more power. It also occurs to me that, the big label guys are needed less and less.We need to let them know it's OK to have a real band playing and it's not totally necessary to have machines playing half the damn music,no matter what some deaf ass hole in a suit thinks.This will also keep people who have no talent from making it so frequently.I can't fucking believe how bad some of the big stuff is. Man,some of it makes me sick.It used to be that if you couldn't play,they would tell ya. Now, I'd be happy to be pulling money out of a tour with one of these hacks.

The folks making the art need to own the way it's represented to some extent.Radio is a great example of how the general public is being ripped off by the majors. If great players and singers had more to do with what got the marketing dollar and what didn't, we would hear better music more of the time. Twelve year old kids will buy what they are told to buy. The crap that's forced down their throat these days borders on criminal bad taste.{no,I don't think there should be a law but.god..}..


You mentioned Steely Dan. I love these guys. Very very cool use of the tools, great writing,strange yet appealing vocal style and so on. There are a bunch of strange and talented writers and bands out there that no one will ever hear,unless,,,,,,people take Harvey's great advise and make a habit of going out to hear live music locally as often as possible.


I just took a job playing with an old band from the sixties and seventies that had some hits. We will be touring all over the country doing only 5 or 6 dates per month and I'm really happy to be playing in a great sounding band with real singers. I start June 27th with them and I'll let you know who after my first gig's go well. My point is, there is a market for real playing and singing and good writing.


The faster the big labels go to hell in a hand basket, the happier I'll be. I am some what bitter myself I must admit..
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"Transformation is no easy trick: It's what art promises and usually doesn't deliver." Garrison Keillor

 

debuys

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Re: Music - and Integrity (Valuable Article)
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2004, 03:20:56 am »

Just to add to what's been said so far It's beyond sad and irresponsible what has been done. On two occasions work that has come out of my meager studio has led to a band being signed by a major or subsidiary. On both occasions the "big time" production has been nearly identical with the exception of a few items (real strings, marginally better drum sounds ... usually a ghost drummer, better ambiance, etc..). Also, on both occasions the "big time" producer or engineer has called us to get info on how some sounds were made and even in one case we had to mail some tracks. On the other re-recording my partner actually had to travel to the "big" studio to help mix it.

This is infuriating waste of money that costs everyone from artist to stockholder to consumer money. If it sounds good why do they need to make the record twice? And to make the culture more bizarre they later insist on the band writing a "hit" after they are signed and the advance is spent.  If the label didn't think they could sell the band as is why did the suit sign them in the first place?

Seems to me if the suits would just shut up and do their job, promote and distribute the product, the industry would be better off as a whole. Call me bitter, sure. Or just call me a guy with points on re-recordings of work that will never see the light of day.

Robert
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Robert de Buys
Dreamcatchers
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Homewood, AL 25209

John Ivan

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Re: Music - and Integrity (Valuable Article)
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2004, 10:55:53 am »

It has to do with "credibility". If they let the recording that you made go to print, what would they need the producer for? what about the relationship with the studio they've had for years. Everything they put out might go through there.Make sure that if the recordings on the other end are a result of stuff that was in your brain,You have points. If they were calling me wanting to know how I got sounds and how I shaped the vibe of the thing,I call that producing.One way to make sure your "in" is to talk to the writer up front about either taking a small writing credit or, taking some of their publishing. One thing I know almost for sure. The punk at the label wont ever bring any of this up and they will hope you don't. In some cases they will just say "Fuck it,Let's do a whole new thing" Even if it's not as good ,they wont want to involve another person in their game. Am I still this pissed?? -:}
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"Transformation is no easy trick: It's what art promises and usually doesn't deliver." Garrison Keillor

 
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