Monday, November 09, 2009

Signs of the times...

Have people become so unwilling to buy music that musicians have resorted to this? It's sad.

43 Comments:

Blogger br549 said...

I have friends who have been playing music all their lives, who are, like me , in their 50's. Many are as good a musician as you have ever heard. Most are better than what you find on the shelves in record stores. Any good sized town probably has dozens of them, if not more. Someone who plays incredibly well, who appreciates and understands music, eventually turns to jazz or classical music as what he / she prefers to play. That's just about a guarantee you're going to starve, or end up with room mates all you life. It's also what drove me to the work a day world over 30 years ago.

5:07 AM, November 09, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Illegal downloading is really hurting the people who make the music we love. Don't do it. Buy a hard copy of the music you want, get a cd, a record, or a high res digital download, but don't settle for lossy mp3s. Music matters, and how it sounds matters too. In the bad days coming, sitting at home listening to some great music well played over a decent stereo will be a great choice and comfort.

Trey

9:38 AM, November 09, 2009  
Blogger Peregrine John said...

Weezer's doing fine. They just have that sort of sense of humor.

10:15 AM, November 09, 2009  
Blogger Ern said...

Well said, br549. A real musician doesn't care whether anybody buys his music. He plays the music for the music's sake. Charles Ives comes to mind here; he sold insurance during the day and composed during the evenings and week-ends. If he wanted something performed, he paid for the performance.

10:34 AM, November 09, 2009  
Blogger J. Bowen said...

Illegal downloading is really hurting the people who make the music we love.

Illegal downloading is hurting the people who either A) make the music we hate or B) haven't figured out how to profit from the changing way in which people consume music. In either case, I don't feel sorry for them. The people who are making the music that relatively few people like are now being forced to compete in a much freer market (with the people who distribute their music via YouTube, MySpace, and so on) and are finding out just how much value people attach to their music. They can no longer (at least for the time being) exact rents out of us via the copyright laws, which are nothing more than protectionist measures for people who are selling what is essentially an unlimited resource (ideas).

10:43 AM, November 09, 2009  
Blogger Axe said...

Let's go online radio over at AXFM with the AXEFM Radio Download Hour. Join in! Have fun!!

11:57 AM, November 09, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

i am an accomplished musician with over 35 years of playing and performing experience and i understand the real value of music is the performance. the relationship between the player and the audience.

i have played in professional bands with some top names and i realise that even they are struggling to perform because live music is costly to stage and promote...and to remunerate from.

illegal downloading is the way that many newer bands have become known. offering good product for free is a great way to do business. i do free seminars to promote my business and if i was young i would record and post on-line to advertise my shows and recordings.

a downloaded mp3 may well motivate a consumer to go get the higher definition version..if the product is good enough...or even go to the show.

the reason why downloading is even an issue os because record executives get cut out of the loop.

andrew keen wrote a book called the cult of the amateur wherein he railed against youtube and the like where he felt that only amateurs went, and that true professionals were suffering under the weight of shoddy competition.

the thing is, people can tell the difference. we all know what a good performance is and don`t much care whether the performer is from julliard or self-taught (like my self, jimmy page and many others.)

unless you are consuming the culture of julliard or the conservatory, in which case you will bristle at the audacity of mere amatuers to dare to play as well.

12:19 PM, November 09, 2009  
Blogger Topher said...

br549 -

I liken the music scene to the teenage-to-mid-20's dating scene. Good, solid musicians who practice and respect their art struggle to stay on the scene, while people without real honed skills who are shock-jocks and pull off what amount to outrageous performance art get headlines and record deals.

Likewise stable, normal people have trouble finding good dates while pyschos who push the envelope of decency get all the chicks/guys.

Since popular music is built on the cult of "cool," the parallel is not surprising. Now there is an entire mainstream industry (TMZ, etc) fusing music and paparazzi journalism so the Inside Hollywood fans now pump up record sales. Rock journalism used to be just a niche for hardcore fans and musicians (Spin, Circus, Kerrang, performing musician magazines). Now it's dumbed down and an arm of the Hollyweird press industry.

12:38 PM, November 09, 2009  
Blogger Joe said...

Weezer sucks. So do most musicians. Yes, they get a niche audience; someone just screeching like a cat in heat could get an audience, but so what? Weezer grinds out album after album of mostly crap and then complains.

The breakthrough in music is being able to buy single songs from iTunes, Amazon, etc. That's the key and always has been. We "forgot" when the 45 went the way of the turntable, but it's back now.

(The entire album concept is completely artificial anyway; the format was invented to fill a 12 inch 33 1/3 rpm record. Why insist on sticking with that? Why not just drop the entire album idea and sell songs?

When I look through my collection, I'm amazed at how few non-best of albums are great, or even good, in their entirety. Even more amazing is how few musicians/groups can make a greatest hits album that really is full of great songs.)

12:49 PM, November 09, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Dr. Allistair wrote: "offering good product for free is a great way to do business."

Ah, but that is not illegal downloading is it? Illegal downloading is stealing someone's intellectual property and using it without paying for it.

What you are referring to is giving a free sample to introduce people to your product. That is called smart marketing! If someone was ALWAYS offering their product or service for free they would be involved in charity, not business.

I buy product from the artists who produce music I enjoy. That way they can keep doing it. Simple capitalism. That is why I also buy my cigars from the local stores. I want to be able to go into a local store and buy some smokes and talk to the guys at the store. So I spend more to do so and the stores I frequent stay in business.

It is simple.

Trey

12:55 PM, November 09, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

the problem that the owners of intellectual property didn`t envisage was that the internet would allow quick copying of digital data. long before physical property laws could change to describe digital property, the damage was done to the industries that relied on the selling of physical property.

people like lars ulrik of mettalica alienated his own fans by supporting digital property rights and saw a substantial dip in his band`s popularity as a result.

while napster and kazaa and limewire were busily promoting a new generation of bands via the free filesharing network, ulrik ranted on.

one never wants to give all of thier stuff away at no cost, but free seminars for me allows access to otherwise costly markets.

from those seminars come a small percentage of paying clients for stop smoking and weight loss, who then refer me to thier friends and family as needed.

if i had a larger budget i would do more print ads and posters and signage, but the seminars are more enjoyable and cost-effective and don`t add to the advertising noise in the community like banner ads on fences and flyers on cars....which the emtrepreneur is forced to do to advertise.

besides, word-of-mouth is the best advertising. and that works for bands too, whether you are led zeppelin or a garage band starting out...unless you have recording company executives to feed.

1:21 PM, November 09, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

and yeah, we all want to support the artists we enjoy..but capitalism isn`t quite so simple.

we know the $20 we pay for zeppelin`s new blu-ray version of song remains the same goes into many different pockets along the way.

1:23 PM, November 09, 2009  
Blogger bmmg39 said...

Joe, what artists do you listen to? For most of the CDs I have, I enjoy most or all of the tracks.

Illegal downloading doesn't just affect "rich musicians and record executives," though we should remember that stealing is wrong even if you steal only from rich people. It also affects the factory workers who put the CD together and package it, the artists who work on the cover, the people who deliver it to the stores, the people who work in those stores, etc..

1:55 PM, November 09, 2009  
Blogger Larry J said...

It's smart marketing for a band to offer free samples of their music. It's theft to expect everyone do that. Just because some people choose to donate their labor to Habitat for Humanity, it doesn't mean all construction workers should work for free. They have to make a living, too.

I'd wager that most of the people calling for free access to all intellectual property have never produced anything of value themselves.

2:15 PM, November 09, 2009  
Blogger Peregrine John said...

Well dang. This is starting to sound a lot like certain other topics of note in the U.S. today...

2:26 PM, November 09, 2009  
Blogger Larry Sheldon said...

Ell, like so many things, the people with the problem are so busy looking for scapegoats that they can't see the problems that they are.

I used to go to concerts that I couldn't by any reasonable accounting afford.

I have about thirty shelf feet of vinyl LP's. I have somewhere between 12 and 20 (I don't remember for sure and going downstairs to look would hurt) drawers of tape cassettes, most that my father or I bought--some remixes he did that _might_ have tracks from stuff he recorded from the radio. I don't know if there are enough 8-track cartridges left to count, we wore out a lot of them in the on-the road years.

We have 7 or eight FM or AM-FM receivers in the house.

I don't have a clue as to how many music CD's we have--not as many as you might think.

Why don't I buy anymore? Why don't I listen anymore? Mo0st of the old technology has fallen out of use for one reason or another, and the new stuff is largely crap.

Prerecorded concerts? Why in God's green earth would I want to pay a lot of money to sit in cramped seats, with people constantly coming and going, with people chattering all around, with people talking on cell-phones, while I try to listen to and watch a program of insults to me personally, which is attacking a good lot of what I believe (and having nothing what ever to do with music).

And after all of that the music is not music, but rather is a cacophony of intermodulation and harmonic distortion that you can taste, discordant screeching, "percussion" rendered with all of the skill of a twelve train collision in a foundry.

I won't even steal the stuff and I'll wait until the Snuggie is available without the CD

2:32 PM, November 09, 2009  
Blogger Cham said...

I can see the advantage of the Snuggie, although I hear the quality of the product is poor. One could work the remote control and also comfortably turn the pages of a book with out compromising warmth and sofa position. If the manufacturer was willing to beef up the thickness, I'd be willing to invest. They could keep the CD for someone who would appreciate it.

2:52 PM, November 09, 2009  
Blogger Alan said...

I'd be more sensitive to artists if copyright laws mirrored patent laws. A development team who comes up with a world changing invention has less than a decade to make back their investment and earn a profit before anyone can steal the work. An artist has a lifetime and their heirs have even more time to profit from their efforts. If an artist, musical or otherwise, had 10 years to try and sell their stuff until it became public domain we'd likely see a much better product being produced and people willing to pay for it.

3:37 PM, November 09, 2009  
Blogger Alex said...

There have been plenty of great bands in the last 15 years, mostly in the British alternative scene led by Radiohead. If you are unaware of that scene, that's your problem, not mine.

4:32 PM, November 09, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

musical taste aside, which is entirely subjective, intellectual property rights are for the protection of corporate millionaires, and not producing artists, unless they have managed to produce thier own material.

concert prices have escalated and market shares per artist have dwindled to the point where aerosmith and zztop have to tour together and want the fat end of $900 from me so that i can show my kids what the fuss is all about.

and so why is this so?

corporate costs.

same as any other business, and nothing to do with producing the artistic material it`s self.

i own enough musical equipment and i know enough other active musicians with drums and p.a equipment that if zz top dropped by we could do a show at my friend`s farm up highway 6.

5:49 PM, November 09, 2009  
Blogger Larry J said...

There have been plenty of great bands in the last 15 years, mostly in the British alternative scene led by Radiohead. If you are unaware of that scene, that's your problem, not mine.

Taste in music is a very personal thing. Music that you love may sound like crap to others and vice versa. If you're unaware of that, the problem is yours, not mine.

5:50 PM, November 09, 2009  
Blogger Larry Sheldon said...

Musical tastes are not aside. I am under no obligation to pay money for trash.

And I'm certainly not going to steal it.

6:09 PM, November 09, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

A couple of bands that I am listening to a lot: The Vivian Girls, a weird mix of punk, girl group and shoe gaze, listen before buying; Levon Helm's new one Electric Dirt, blues and country from Helm's post cancer wild Appalachian twang; The Apples In Stereo, Brian Wilson pop gone wild.

I want these guys to keep making music so I pay for their stuff and mention them to other people. Give them a listen.

Larry, I covet your record collection! My lps selection is probably half of your if I am estimating my footage correctly. I saw at Best Buy the other day that they are selling a quite nice Project turntable if you are not set up to spin.

Trey

8:24 AM, November 10, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:24 AM, November 10, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

regarding one or two tracks on a record being listenable....every cd i wom is, to my ear, listenable in thier entirety.

it may be that i chose to listen to bands that could pruduce consistant material for an entire record, or that i am biased to the style of the artists i consume.

mind you, occasionally there comes a tune i like that is on a dog of an album, but that rarely happens.

new stuff that has caught my fancy? white stripes, korn (not too new) and a few others, but mostly led zeppelin, gary moore, ted nugent, sabbath, allman brothers, deep purple, ronnie montrose, and a ton of classical stuff,...mozart, beethoven, vivaldi, bach, and some unspellables, and they aren`t doing much new stuff.
i forgot floyd, trower, leslie west, traffic, hendrix, tommy emmanuelle, paul gilbert, genesis.....etc.

and yes, i own thier commercially produced stuff to blast in the car on a long drive.

big wreck is in the car right now.

9:47 AM, November 10, 2009  
Blogger Roman Wolf said...

Boy, I feel like the old man here...

All I listen to is Classical and Jazz. Everything else is just so second rate to my ears.

10:33 AM, November 10, 2009  
Blogger Casey said...

Did anybody actually read the linked article? Peregrine John is the only one to get it so far.

Weezer did this as a joke, guys. Watch the "making of" video; they're making fun of Snuggies.

11:55 AM, November 10, 2009  
Blogger Cham said...

I think the Snuggies people are having the last laugh.

11:57 AM, November 10, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

yeah, we got it. we judt don`t care much for weezer or snuggies.

now if john couger mellenhead hooks up with shamwow that would get my attention.

"a litle dittie about rednecks buying useless shit at the fairground"

12:11 PM, November 10, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Dr. Alistair, we have similar taste in music, though I never got the classical stuff. I need to get some more White Stripes.

Weezer made some great Power Pop with nice fuzz guitars, I recommend them highly!

Trey

2:45 PM, November 10, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

for fun pop i much prefer the presidents of the united states or some beck.

weezer are a little to geeky for my liking.

but, then again don`t listen to fun pop or country or elevator music.

and i think the white stripes is so heavy it is almost menacing at times.

and i`m still not finished listening to led zeppelin, studio, live and bootleg.

5:31 PM, November 10, 2009  
Blogger br549 said...

I'm with you, Roman Wolf. Classical and jazz for the most part. The rock stuff I have is on vinyl. That's how long it's been since I have purchased any "popular" music.

I try to go to local area clubs where people I know are playing. I like to listen to them, I like to help them be able to eat.

9:04 PM, November 10, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

Presidents of the United States are great, but I do not see them as significantly less nerdy than Weezer.

Trey

10:13 PM, November 10, 2009  
Blogger dweeb said...

How is what Weezer is doing any worse than Led Zeppelin pitching Cadillacs?

12:42 PM, November 11, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

dweeb, I think what Weezer is doing is MUCH better in that it is funny and ironic.

Trey

12:56 PM, November 11, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

yeah, i always thought it weird that zep were selling cadillacs. i have owned seven caddies and love zeppelin, but i can`t see the type of person who drives a caddy suv, or an sts being the same sort of person who would still be listening to the tune rock and roll.

most of the people who who drive those things never listened to anything harder than rick astley....

weird.

4:04 PM, November 11, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

and i drove caddies from the sixties and early seventies. the newest one i ever had was a coupe from `84 which i bought in `86 to sell real estate in.

4:06 PM, November 11, 2009  
Blogger Fen said...

Our artists need to suffer more.

6:18 AM, November 12, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

most do fen. most do.

11:21 AM, November 12, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

I read someone talking about Janis Joplin at Woodstock. His idea was that the more you suffered, the better your singing, that the pain made it into your voice and gave it character. He was remarking on how much Janis must have suffered to be the most compelling singer at Woodstock.

Trey

11:45 AM, November 12, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

i spent the winter of 1981 with brad campbell, janice`s bass player from woodstock. my brother and i had a band at the time and he wanted us to form a band with him. he said that janice was a depressed person, drunk and drugged mostly, but with a great child-like spirit tormented by the aldult world.

sounds like most of us some of the time.....

brad was a draft-dodger, coming to canada to avoid the conscription into the meat grinder that was vietnam.

and i don`t blame him in the least.

he`s still here. i haven`t seen him since those days but my girlfriend`s son`s girlfriend saw him in a band locally just recently. she said she saw a guy in a band that used to play with janice....and that he still had the strings on his bass that he played with that day...and i knew who that was instantly.

2:11 PM, November 12, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

"and that he still had the strings on his bass that he played with that day"

Whoa! I will never again feel bad when I play dull, lifeless strings because I always forget to change them!

Trey

3:41 PM, November 12, 2009  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

they are flatwound rotosounds. if you clean them they sound the same. but that is forty years though....


i change my guitar strings weekly when i`m playing a lot.

3:47 PM, November 12, 2009  

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