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Author Topic: ...so I have a friend who is A&R with a major label...  (Read 11497 times)

Fletcher

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...so I have a friend who is A&R with a major label...
« on: January 04, 2011, 11:33:45 pm »

... and we had dinner... and he was so blindly pissed off it was wonderful.

He had signed this band [who are excellent!!] and is trying to get the album made [yes Virginia, they still make albums]... and keeps getting shit from the boys over him "it doesn't sound like _____, it needs to sound more like "Lady GaGa", it should be closer to ____".

He's ready to either quit or blow his brains out [hope he does the former rather than the latter... but it is what it is].

Funny... I remember hearing some guy from "Loverboy" on a radio interview where he said something to the effect of "we had a great career going and then Nirvana came along".

Now the band that my buddy signed has two things going against them... the "corporate culture" of "instant hits"... and that I really like the band he played me [I have a track record for missing trends]... then again, they didn't sound like anything I'd ever heard that was "commercial"... but had enough really good music going on that they could have become the act which other visionless morons would be trying to compare / copy in a year or so after they changed the game... but it seems like it may never see [or be heard in] the light of day.

Seems the paralysis of lack of innovation has reached something of a pinnacle... but maybe some of the "moving ups" can lead us out of the doldrums [maybe not, but maybe yes...]

Discuss.
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CN Fletcher

mwagener wrote on Sat, 11 September 2004 14:33
We are selling emotions, there are no emotions in a grid


"Recording engineers are an arrogant bunch.  
If you've spent most of your life with a few thousand dollars worth of musicians in the studio, making a decision every second and a half... and you and  they are going to have to live with it for the rest of your lives, you'll get pretty arrogant too.  It takes a certain amount of balls to do that... something around three"
Malcolm Chisholm

Bubba#$%Kron

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Re: ...so I have a friend who is A&R with a major label...
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2011, 12:05:10 am »

This rodeo sure as hell aint over yet. There some good stuff comin, but it aint gonna be from corporate bean counter ville.  The revolution will not be televised!!!!      

Your gonna see a whole new range of producer/artists that are gonna make rec execs shake in their boots!!  They are gonna seriously not gonna give a shit about any of the hype out there.  After going through the literal hell of REALLY learning how to make records.  People are gonna have no problem living off their live gigs and give music away for free.  Its sad for the studio/engineering biz, but we are back to the days of the people who would be making music even if there was no glitz and glamour in the headlights.

I say let them get everyone tired of shit music, because I'm working on the next Nirvana album!!!

Still, it would not hurt if the giants from the past touched up on LFO's and midi programming techniques!!!    

I go to Burning Man and hear some seriously amazing electronic stuff that even you guys would like, but its all under ground.  And the under ground is the new medium- until we learn how to exploit that underground vibe to make money in the masses!!!!

Cheers
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"When we make music we don't do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point."  -Alan Watts

Bubba#$%Kron

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Re: ...so I have a friend who is A&R with a major label...
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2011, 12:41:16 am »

Also, I saw the most recent Anthony Bourdain show about Paris.  All the new talented chefs are starting their own small restaurants, and purposley  charging wayyy less.   They do it on pure principal saying things like the best food should not be reserved for the super wealthy only.  There really is a new way of thinking out there.  After the over-draft fees, predatory lending, and people owing $200,00 on a house that is only worth $100,000- you would really be surprised  at the new artists sentiments out there.

People seriously dont give a shit anymore.  That being said, the baby boomers went from kissing Abbey Hoffmans ass to money hungry wolves pretty damn fast.   The underground is fuckin huge and thats where all the kids are hanging out at and putting their cash towards. The web allows events and invites to be done fast and seemless- its changing everything.    

My friends and I throw an event in mexico in these hot springs where you have to drive on a dry lake bed for 2 hours in the middle of nowhere before you even get there.   Every campsite has its own Jacuzzi hot tub in spectacular valley.  People pay $200 tics and we have 2 full stages of bands and DJ's for 3 days- 400 people come and tics sell out in 2 min with 0 advertising/marketing!!.  Places like that is where the real artists are at all over the planet, hiding!!   Theres tons events like that all year long pulling in cash, but the organizers spend the vast majority of that money on the people and the party, and thats why it keeps going strong!!

Cheers
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"When we make music we don't do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point."  -Alan Watts

Silvertone

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Re: ...so I have a friend who is A&R with a major label...
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2011, 08:25:50 am »

Bubba Kron wrote on Tue, 04 January 2011 23:05

This rodeo sure as hell aint over yet. There some good stuff comin, but it aint gonna be from corporate bean counter ville.  The revolution will not be televised!!!!      

Your gonna see a whole new range of producer/artists that are gonna make rec execs shake in their boots!!  They are gonna seriously not gonna give a shit about any of the hype out there.  After going through the literal hell of REALLY learning how to make records.  People are gonna have no problem living off their live gigs and give music away for free.  Its sad for the studio/engineering biz, but we are back to the days of the people who would be making music even if there was no glitz and glamour in the headlights.

I say let them get everyone tired of shit music, because I'm working on the next Nirvana album!!!

Still, it would not hurt if the giants from the past touched up on LFO's and midi programming techniques!!!    

I go to Burning Man and hear some seriously amazing electronic stuff that even you guys would like, but its all under ground.  And the under ground is the new medium- until we learn how to exploit that underground vibe to make money in the masses!!!!

Cheers



The "underground" music scene has always been around with great music, players , performers and entertainers but it's "the machine" that gets them heard by the masses I'm afraid.

No machine, no masses. Unfortunately even with the internet it still seems to be true today.  You need the hype machine to alert the public who will then be "brainwashed" into supporting whatever has been crammed down their throats over and over again.  Just look at post disco Lady Ga-Ga era as an example.... those of us that lived through the disco era had thought it died a slow and painful death but really it just keeps coming back disguised as these "pop" artist... over and over... no one wants it really but it stays with us like the creepy uncle that wont leave.

I'm just afraid it's how the human condition works... one only needs to look back in "world history" to see how true this is.

Remember people: Propaganda Works!
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Larry DeVivo
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To see some of our work please click on any of the visual trailer montages located at... http://robertetoll.com/  (all music and sound effects were mastered by Silvertone Mastering).

jrmintz

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Re: ...so I have a friend who is A&R with a major label...
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2011, 09:27:13 am »

I spoke to a friend yesterday who used to be in A&R at a major label until he quit in frustration. He made a few points I thought were telling:

There are no record people at record companies. The only criteria they have to judge whether a song is going to be a hit is by comparing it, bit by bit, to the last big hit as if they were matching bathroom tiles or paint colors.

Since they have no musical judgment they rely on focus groups of consumers to tell them what they like and want. It's a recipe for stagnation. As Henry Ford said, "If I'd asked my customers what they wanted they'd have said a faster horse". The opposite of that is Apple: no one knew they needed or wanted an ipod, iphone, or ipad until someone had the audacity to put it in front of them.

He ran through an impressive list of artists he found and wanted to sign but wasn't allowed to, who went on to be very successful at other labels. Being wrong had no consequences for his superiors, and being right made him a pariah within the corporation.

He says the focus on kids is total, there is no other serious market as far as the label was concerned. And yet the target audience treats music as wallpaper and doesn't feel compelled to pay for it. He believes there is still a huge pool of potential buyers for whom music was formative and will still pay for it, but the labels make no effort to reach them because it goes against the conventional wisdom.

He feels there are plenty of opportunities for success, but that financing is scarce. He thinks someone is going to find an artist, get financing, and market correctly to demonstrate that there is still the potential for big hits with good music - Norah Jones selling 14 million copies of her first album being a good example.
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Wireline

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Re: ...so I have a friend who is A&R with a major label...
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2011, 10:22:54 am »

Quote:

He says the focus on kids is total, there is no other serious market as far as the label was concerned.


This seems so odd, as the people who give kids the money would still buy music, if they ever heard any they liked.  Exactly everyone I know listens to classic rock/classic country/big bands on the radio, by default.  

Perhaps if radio people would stop shooting themselves (and subsequently everyone else involved) in the foot, they might find a whole new and profitable demographic that does not have any desire to whip their hair back and forth or wear meat.

There again, if I knew the answers, I'd be rich.
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Ken Morgan
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Edward Vinatea

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Re: ...so I have a friend who is A&R with a major label...
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2011, 11:07:04 am »

Fletcher wrote on Tue, 04 January 2011 23:33

then again, they didn't sound like anything I'd ever heard that was "commercial"... but had enough really good music going on that they could have become the act which other visionless morons would be trying to compare / copy in a year or so after they changed the game... but it seems like it may never see [or be heard in] the light of day.



There are also periodic movements of the earth's plates and therefore earthquakes. Lady GG has certainly had her own {earthquake} and anybody who was trying to innovate prior to being released have fallen into the crack.

These patterns happened in the past, so you can expect them to continue happening in the future.

Regards,

Edward

Nick Sevilla

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Re: ...so I have a friend who is A&R with a major label...
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2011, 11:30:54 am »

We started a tiny record label :

 http://unbridledrecords.com/Unbridled_Records/Submissions_Pa ge.html


We love music.
We do not love most current music.
We aim to find and nurture artists and their art.
Our goal is not to "make hits."
Our goal is not to "get big."
Our goal is to find the music we love, and help it exist.

Our focus is the MUSIC.

Maybe this focus will allow us to find and help artists and their art to continue existing, and eventually, if the art is deemed good, relevant, interesting, by enough people, to give back to the artist and us.

I personally feel that the Art of Music has been under attack by money for far too long.

To me, money is a tool. A tool just like a screwdriver or a wheel. Nothing more and nothing less. It was invented by man, to have more control over other men.

Do we have things enough under control yet? I say, yes, and we have gone too far.

Cheers
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Jim Williams

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Re: ...so I have a friend who is A&R with a major label...
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2011, 11:34:26 am »

There are many more ex A+R people than there are current A+R people. All of them have similar stories. All of them either quit or got fired after their "discoveries" didn't pan out.

It is typically a 2 year program, either you graduate to something better or you drop out. There are no long term employment opportunities in that field. Those currently employed will find that out as those before them have.
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Jim Williams
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Edward Vinatea

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Re: ...so I have a friend who is A&R with a major label...
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2011, 11:46:58 am »

Nick Sevilla wrote on Wed, 05 January 2011 11:30

We started a tiny record label :

    http://unbridledrecords.com/Unbridled_Records/Submissions_Pa ge.html




You may want to fix your bullet points. I am getting these symbols: ➡

Edward

wwittman

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Re: ...so I have a friend who is A&R with a major label...
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2011, 01:51:15 pm »

The nature of the current state of the music business is that, because of all the stealing predominantly, the only model that makes sense for the big labels remaining is to only go for mega hits.
If you have a monster you can still sell ENOUGH, and make enough collateral other income, to justify the investment.
And that need for only grand slam home runs naturally leads to lots of nervous second guessing, and lowest common denominator thinking.
They want the biggest audience; not a discerning one.
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jrmintz

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Re: ...so I have a friend who is A&R with a major label...
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2011, 03:53:17 pm »

Bill, what do you think about the idea of reaching out to older listeners who will pay for music? It always gets groans when I say it, but I really believe they're out there. They're just very difficult to put your music in front of so they know it's available. Everyone seems to get curiously passive at the point of trying to reach boomers or gen-x-ers. Obviously there's no corporate reward in it, but is it impossible or just harder than most people want to work?
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Bubba#$%Kron

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Re: ...so I have a friend who is A&R with a major label...
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2011, 08:21:19 pm »

This shit is so depressing!!  The irony is the that the internet should have brought the world together, but it really just puts everyone in groups and weakens the machine that held us all together!!!!

The focus group thing is just a shame, because thats exactly how the fast food restaurants pick their new menus!!!!!

This is seriously like the Matrix movie, literally!!
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"When we make music we don't do it in order to reach a certain point, such as the end of the composition. If that were the purpose of music then obviously the fastest players would be the best. Also, when we are dancing we are not aiming to arrive at a particular place on the floor as in a journey. When we dance, the journey itself is the point, as when we play music the playing itself is the point."  -Alan Watts

DarinK

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Re: ...so I have a friend who is A&R with a major label...
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2011, 08:47:55 pm »

jrmintz wrote on Wed, 05 January 2011 12:53

Bill, what do you think about the idea of reaching out to older listeners who will pay for music? It always gets groans when I say it, but I really believe they're out there. They're just very difficult to put your music in front of so they know it's available. Everyone seems to get curiously passive at the point of trying to reach boomers or gen-x-ers. Obviously there's no corporate reward in it, but is it impossible or just harder than most people want to work?


I'm not Bill, but I think what'd you'd need is radio that was interested in those older listeners, and willing to risk playing something for them other than tried & true classics/oldies.  Because almost all radio is corporate radio, they want to focus group everything before playing it, which means that only non-challenging stuff would ever get through.  
It really is all about what radio will play, and they will only play that which is non-offensive to the focus group in question.  The labels can put out as much great music as they want, but if it doesn't do well in a focus group, it will never get played.
For a smaller label that just wants to break even, there's community radio & internet promotion.  I don't know if it would lead to enough sales to break even, though.  It may have to be a labor of love, like all the indie kid labels where the goal is to not lose too much money, and where nobody gets paid.
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Nick Sevilla

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Re: ...so I have a friend who is A&R with a major label...
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2011, 10:17:03 pm »

Edward Vinatea wrote on Wed, 05 January 2011 08:46

Nick Sevilla wrote on Wed, 05 January 2011 11:30

We started a tiny record label :

     http://unbridledrecords.com/Unbridled_Records/Submissions_Pa ge.html




You may want to fix your bullet points. I am getting these symbols: ➡

Edward


Hi Edward.

I am getting those too. They are the ones I picked. Maybe that is why we both see them on there.

Cheers
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It is quite possible, captain, that they find us grotesque and ugly and many people fear beings different from themselves.

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