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  #1  
Old 04-04-2010, 02:52 AM
TheGroceryman TheGroceryman is offline
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Default the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

I've been thinking lately, since that pirating thread came up, more about the music business, and i'd like your input on something i believe pretty strongly about.

Capitalism is a great thing IMO. The ability to give people freedom to do whatever they want, how they want to do it, in order to live the American Dream is a great hope for which to strive. But can it go too far? Specifically relating to the music industry, has capitalism destroyed the quality of music? I'd say it has, unfortunately. The music industry has been a tough tough business to be successful in. This occurred from a variety of reasons (see the pirating thread...) and in an effort to get ahead in the industry I think artists have been holding back their creative edge in order to make uninspired, catchy tunes that continually sound the same. While uninspired artists gain massive popularity due to their "good" music, real talent get washed away on the local streets for the minority to admire.

Am i sounding stupid here? what do you guys think.
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Old 04-04-2010, 03:16 AM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

No, I don't agree with that. First off, capitalism is not at all about "giving people freedom to do whatever they want." Far from it. Capitalism is about selling products for profit, period. It's about limiting people's freedom of choice. Flood the market with your product and what choices do people have but to buy it?

As far as its impact on music is concerned I don't see that either. There are a lot of people making really good money from music these days, lots of money. They're making that money because the product they produce sells. That's capitalism, and "uninspired" artists don't have a chance in this business. You just don't get anywhere by "holding back."

Quality music, I'm not sure what that means because you have your idea of what quality music is and I have mine. But vision and intellect don't just disappear because some pop star's marketing machine is moving millions of units. Quality music is available no matter what your tastes are. It's just a little more difficult to find.

Making an enemy of the music business is a big, big mistake. Seeing it for what it is will never hurt anyone's creativity or artistry. If you want to be a star then the system is in place for you to run yourself through it, hoping for the best and listening to people who think that they might be able to make some money by backing you to some degree. If musical integrity is the most important thing to you then that's just something you need to take responsibility for. Make a good product and put it out on the market. Of course big money will always win, but that's capitalism, and money has nothing to do with music.
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Last edited by con struct; 04-04-2010 at 03:26 AM.
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Old 04-04-2010, 03:22 AM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

I don't think there's any lack of talent or good music our there. It all depends on where you source it from. My likes-to-dislikes ratio is the same as it was 10, 20, 30 and 40+ years ago.

If anyone can be blamed for the profileration of "uninspired, catchy tunes that continually sound the same" it's the youth that buys it, and that responds in-kind by reproducing said music for their peers and the next generation.

How different is it than the Beatles and other pop/rock groups in the sixties, where jazz, big band, crooner, and country lovers said basically the same thing about 'that' music?

In hindsight, we realize how indeed wonderful and timeless so much of it remains. Perhaps in 30 years, dance and rap and teen pop will viewed with the same nostalgia.

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Old 04-04-2010, 03:29 AM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

Nope.

For most the history of the music business, long term investment was still understood.

Labels were willing to invest heavily into bands for long term profit.

For example: The first three Rush albums didn't turn a profit. The 4th album made them stars. Their eight studio album made them legends.

Journey's first three albums bombed, their 4th gave them hope, their 5th album turned a profit. Their 8th studio album made them legends.

Fleetwood Mac first 8 albums were minor sellers until they struck a major hit that made them one of the best selling bands of the 70s'.

It wasn't until the late 80's, and mostly in the 90's, when labels stopped investing in long term bands. Then it just became about have a hit right away, or get off the label.

Capitalism didn't change the outlook from long term to short term, changes in corporate philosophy did. One could argue if the labels were better capitalists, they'd do better with long term investments.

As for the piracy angle, that is an issue world wide, regardless of economic structure.
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Old 04-04-2010, 03:35 AM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

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For most the history of the music business, long term investment was still understood.

Labels were willing to invest heavily into bands for long term profit.
What labels were these that were investing long-term into bands for most of the history of the music business? I mean, big labels with that kind of money didn't exist for most of the history of the music business. It was usually one or two guys who took out a second mortgage on their houses to put records out.
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Old 04-04-2010, 03:56 AM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

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What labels were these that were investing long-term into bands for most of the history of the music business? I mean, big labels with that kind of money didn't exist for most of the history of the music business. It was usually one or two guys who took out a second mortgage on their houses to put records out.
i wouldn't say that back in the late 60's record companies were doing "long-term investing" in bands per se financially, but they sure gave a lot of them time to establish their place in the business and not give them the boot because their first and/or second album didn't sell a million copies.

bands like Cream, Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Chicago Transit Authority, Blood, Sweat and Tears, and a lot of others from that era probably wouldn't be given the same chance to grow in today's business. either you get a/some hits right out of the gate or you're selling shoes in a WalMart in the near future.

today it's all about milking the cash cow for what it's worth before the udder runs dry. developing and working a band/talent is not what it used to be in this day and age. which is all the more reason why today it's the music "business" and NOT the business of music.
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Old 04-04-2010, 04:21 AM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

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What labels were these that were investing long-term into bands for most of the history of the music business? I mean, big labels with that kind of money didn't exist for most of the history of the music business. It was usually one or two guys who took out a second mortgage on their houses to put records out.
In the examples I gave.

I.E. it was common practice in the 60s/70s/ and even part of the 80's that if a bands 1st album didn't sell, (major) labels would still invest in a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th album until the band broke and turned a profit.

From the 90s onward, if a band didn't turn a profit right away, the label would drop a band like yesterday's newspaper.

Much of this change corresponded with Mo Ostin being forced out of Warner Brothers in the 90, and the consolidation of various labels that occurred around that time, although the changes were certainly not limited to the WEA family of labels.

Granted, bands were still signed to un fair deals, some bands were signed strickly for the tax write offs with no hope of getting released, and all sorts of other problems, but at least there was still active band development.

Labels cry over lack of sales, but they don't bother to put in the effort to make those sales. Some of the biggest selling albums in history were by bands who were not particularly popular in the beggining.

The biggest example is Pink Floyd. While they had some minor pop hits around their 1st album, for the most part they released album after album that were not big sellers. But despite their relative lack of success, the label kept investing money into new recordings.This paid off with Dark Side of the Moon, one of the most popular albums of all time.

That just does not happen anymore with the majors.

Last edited by DrumEatDrum; 04-04-2010 at 04:49 AM.
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Old 04-04-2010, 04:55 AM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

Since discovering that the wildly uncommercial band, Henry Cow, are on YouTube I've been reading up about their drummer, Chris Cutler. In this interview he has some interesting things to say about the music industry.

Some quotes:

Chris: We had our own PA system, lights and a bus for us (with kitchen equipment and bunks for sleeping) and a Lorry for all the equipment. So we were completely self contained. Then we organised all our own administrative affairs, tours and finances and acted as our own management and agency. All the money that came to the group we spent according to unanimous decisions made at meetings - on necessities (like repairs).

We didn’t pay ourselves until the last two years, and then the amounts were symbolic. Eventually we even released our own records, becoming to all intents and purposes completely dislocated from the usual support networks and exploitation machines.


Interviewer: [quoting from the Rock In Opposition statement] ... 'The music industry makes all its decisions on the basis of Profit & Prestiege... they have ears only for the rustling of money, hearts which only pump with the blood of murdered.'

Do you think the climate within the industry is any different today? If not, what's needed to better the situation?

Chris: If not the same, worse - big companies don't take anyone on for musical reasons; music is an investment which has to pay back with interest. Nothing is needed to better the situation - who WANTS the industry to have anything to do with our work? Better they keep their sticky hands off. I think we can look after ourselves best. In the satellite economy we are able more or less to control without too much compromise.


Interviewer: When the punk movement sprang up, did you feel that they were suitably anti-establishment (as Cow and RIO) or were they just co-opted?

Chris: There was something real happening on the ground, but what surfaced and the way it surfaced was almost wholly and immediately coopted by a failing record industry looking for new blood to suck and new markets to create and exploit. Most 'punk' bands turned out to be middle class art students.

‘Oi’ bands - who stayed 'punk' after the fashion faded- were political fascists -that was too grim for the fresh out of college guys in the music press who ‘discovered’ and hyped up Punk to contemplate by. In other words: confusion. One the punks had kicked the door in the ‘New Wave’ rapidly colonised the opened space.

Underneath it all was a great revolution of independent production and a head clearing attitude to music - although not so much of this saw the commercial light of day. Its good effects however are still with us, and this is it’s important legacy: the moves toward independence, sexual equality and stylistic diversity. The Sex Pistols and other money hoovers had nothing at all to do with this.
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Old 04-04-2010, 05:19 AM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

lol. im drunk/whyatever so i cant rea;;y respond atm, i'll edit this post in the morning.. :))

do i agree? NO!


MOTHERFUDGING EDIT

we're talking about pop music. when has that ever been good? LOL. pop music was good in like the 60s/70s man, you know when musicians could actually play their instruments. actually i'm joking when i say that, in the UK chart music is quite ok, and musicians are actually amazing nowadays. it's just that the US marketplace is a festering heap of shit if i'm honest.
we have such a wide variety of stuff over here, and most of it isn't autotuned T-pain wannabes! that isn't saying that good music sells the most copies in the UK, ofcourse it doesn't, but it sells enough to sustain an artist! plus no one should be relying on album/single sales alone anymore.

there are TONS of good bands/artists right now, and they can all make decent livings for themselves. i could go into london, do a 360 degree turn in a random street and probably find 3 or 4 bands that could all be at SXSW if it actually mattered to them. all unsigned/on small indies, doing most of the work for themselves. is it hard? yes. is it impossible? no!

just because you don't hear these artists constantly on the radio doesn't mean they aren't there. infact the radio is dying. for example, in the UK the BBC is about to cutback some of its services (including the best one, 6 music - http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Save-6-Music/318069702319?ref=ts

well guess what? that group may only have 70k fans, but if all those fans then move onto a streaming site, then that is a huge source of revenue for the site operator, and for the bands involved. and that will happen, trust me! it already is as we speak! streaming will kill radio. stone cold. and it will be a good thing, because then you won't have to listen to major record company playlists!

go on last.fm , type in your favourite band , listen to their 'radio station' - it will just be tons of bands like them! and if you like the original band then there is a chance you'll like the secondary. and if you don't then it doesn't matter, you can skip the song anyway.
write them all down in a notepad, pick the top 5 bands (on personal taste/music quality NOT hits), go and watch them at a gig. if you like them then buy a t-shirt. if you really like them then buy one of their CD's from them personally.

http://blog.varsity.co.uk/entertainm...lbums-of-2010/

the music business is a tough industry to survive in if you're mediocre. if you're a good band with a good manager and a good marketing strategy then you will be fine. if you suck? then give up now because even if all the major's burned down tomorrow it would not get any easier. infact it would be much harder for the majority of people!

i realise you're not talking specifically about the future, but i am. there will always be 'poor' quality music in the charts, but people obviously like it enough to buy it. but if you're a good band/artist/producer/DJ then people will buy your shit too!
i may have missed the point/your poin entirely, but whatever, i felt like i needed too.
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Last edited by toddy; 04-04-2010 at 12:10 PM. Reason: i was drunk
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Old 04-04-2010, 05:44 AM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

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Granted, bands were still signed to un fair deals, some bands were signed strickly for the tax write offs with no hope of getting released, and all sorts of other problems, but at least there was still active band development.

.
Yes, good point.
Labels will also sign a similar artist to an artist they are pushing so their preferred artist doesn't have competition. And the similar artist's career goes in the tank.

If one wants to go into the music business, I think one should get a bit business savvy and beware. Many artists, even the famous ones, have gotten themselves in trouble signing contracts early in their careers that gave most everything away.

The wonderful things about Capitalism is that it has given us a lot and a very high standard of living. And you need capital and a lot of it to do anything in music. it's an expensive hobby, as well. lol

Capitalism gives us so much music, more so than anybody needs. And most people need so little, 20-30 cds on the shelf, two or three a year is all they need. And they are very happy to turn on the radio and listen inattentively. I've met people at shows that have seen Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen or The Moody Blues over two hundred times. I don't think there is anyone I could sit through that many times. I mean I've seen those artists about a half dozen times each over the years and never need to go again. :)

The most important thing an artist can do is cultivate an audience and then really give that audience something to come back for. Your music becomes a part of their life. look at Jimmy Buffett.
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Old 04-04-2010, 05:52 AM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

anyone who thinks things like "band development" were not different in the 1970s versus now...is completely believing a fairy tale.

Rush is a good example....and the members themselves have been quoted often as to how a band is simply not given the same chances as they were in those days...and Rush is just one example.Heck...most bands you can think of from the 70s were in the same boat including Fleetwood Mac who broke it HUGE with Rumors...and even they will tell you the same thing. How about KISS...yet another band it took 4 albums before anything financially started happening.

I won't say you should toss your hands in the air...but things are quite a bit different...it is also true that the "recprd deal" does not exist anymore...it just is not the same ballgame.
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Old 04-04-2010, 06:00 AM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

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Yes, good point.
Labels will also sign a similar artist to an artist they are pushing so their preferred artist doesn't have competition. And the similar artist's career goes in the tank.

If one wants to go into the music business, I think one should get a bit business savvy and beware. Many artists, even the famous ones, have gotten themselves in trouble signing contracts early in their careers that gave most everything away.

The wonderful things about Capitalism is that it has given us a lot and a very high standard of living. And you need capital and a lot of it to do anything in music. it's an expensive hobby, as well. lol

Capitalism gives us so much music, more so than anybody needs. And most people need so little, 20-30 cds on the shelf, two or three a year is all they need. And they are very happy to turn on the radio and listen inattentively. I've met people at shows that have seen Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen or The Moody Blues over two hundred times. I don't think there is anyone I could sit through that many times. I mean I've seen those artists about a half dozen times each over the years and never need to go again. :)

The most important thing an artist can do is cultivate an audience and then really give that audience something to come back for. Your music becomes a part of their life. look at Jimmy Buffett.
Bruce is another one. His 1st two albums initially sold poorly. But the label stayed behind him, and now he has 120 million world wide sales to his credit.

Of course, now his 2st two albums are considered classics, but that's only because later fans went back and bought them later on.

If Columbia (now Sony) signed a guy today, and his first album sold poorly, he'd never get to make his 2nd one.
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Old 04-04-2010, 06:11 AM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

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Bruce is another one. His 1st two albums initially sold poorly. But the label stayed behind him, and now he has 120 million world wide sales to his credit.

Of course, now his 2st two albums are considered classics, but that's only because later fans went back and bought them later on.

If Columbia (now Sony) signed a guy today, and his first album sold poorly, he'd never get to make his 2nd one.
In the other now infamous thread, you and I fought, I think that when it comes down to it, you and I agree on a lot of things. What you're saying is exactly what Pat Metheny is concerned about.
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Old 04-04-2010, 06:40 AM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

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In the other now infamous thread, you and I fought, I think that when it comes down to it, you and I agree on a lot of things. What you're saying is exactly what Pat Metheny is concerned about.
We fought? I thought it was just a disagreement over who's turn it was to buy the next beer. :-P

Almost every agreed G is crap, the only argument was over how to classify how much crap it was. But whatever.

Your name is familiar. I see you spent some time in the San Francisco Bay Area. I'd swear we once met. lol
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Old 04-04-2010, 08:04 AM
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We fought? I thought it was just a disagreement over who's turn it was to buy the next beer. :-P

Almost every agreed G is crap, the only argument was over how to classify how much crap it was. But whatever.

Your name is familiar. I see you spent some time in the San Francisco Bay Area. I'd swear we once met. lol
I share a name with a well known tv actor.

I used to play with a trio a that little club on McCallister and Gough; but I can't imagine you ever saw us.
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Old 04-04-2010, 08:05 AM
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I used to play with a trio a that little club on McCallister and Gough; but I can't imagine you ever saw us.
Depends where you shopped for sticks and heads at the time.
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Old 04-04-2010, 08:06 AM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

There was a Guitar Center at Market and Van Ness.
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Old 04-04-2010, 08:30 AM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

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I think artists have been holding back their creative edge in order to make uninspired, catchy tunes that continually sound the same. While uninspired artists gain massive popularity due to their "good" music, real talent get washed away on the local streets for the minority to admire.
I have said this for years, but imagine if the visual arts allowed self appointed know-it-alls and "experts" to cut and paste all over Van Gogh or Picasso's works, because they knew more than the artist themselves about what the public REALLY appreciated in the world of art. That is the music business in a nutshell. And now they seem to think musicians are totally expendable - have you heard the rythm section in pop music lately? The mechanical drums and bass sound like they were programmed by elementary school students (you no longer hear human drummers or bass players except in rock - it's all cheezy programmed simple beats and simple bass riffs). They are in such a quest to save money, they have brought music down to it's lowest form of prostitution ever. They are strangling the whole art of music.
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Old 04-04-2010, 01:54 PM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

Strangelove is right on....it goes on in music...and it goes on other places...TV for example....let's admit it .Doing a "reality show" which has nothing to do with reality at all is a cheap cost cutting way of creating a "show". It's junk...but for some reason no one gets angered enough to change it. Lot's of Pop music consists of horrible "rhythm sections" that are not even players. It is ridiculous-the musical equivalent of a semi- rhythmic broken air conditioner with some beeps and bloops and cheesy video-sound effects with a completely auto tuned vocal line ( thank you Cher for starting this bull**it)....there is so much of this crap out there....and I won't even call it music...it's junk. Absolute junk

And I not referring to the band Garbage who I happened to have liked alot...there was intelligence behind what they did...and it sounded good. You never felt you were being robbed by them nor that your own brain was being drained with each beat.LL Cool J was 100% more creative...talented ...funny...and entertaining as ANY of the rap that comes out today...that is just one example.

It's low brow -do-it as cheap as possible stuff in most Pop music. Which is why I won't pay any attention anymore to what is supposed to be "big"...that goes for reality TV too...I don't have the time for it. At all.
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Old 04-04-2010, 04:43 PM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

Where there's economic rationalism there is soullessness. Very little love or passion.

Top 40, TV, production line art, food, literature ... all the joys of life reduced to 2D ciphers of what they could be. There's always been this cynical element around but my impression is that it's either increasing as a proportion of total output or there's a greater concentration of it at the forefront of the media. Probably both.

Thank Deity for the web. Great music can be easily found - just a web search away.
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Old 04-04-2010, 05:23 PM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

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I have said this for years, but imagine if the visual arts allowed self appointed know-it-alls and "experts" to cut and paste all over Van Gogh or Picasso's works, because they knew more than the artist themselves about what the public REALLY appreciated in the world of art. That is the music business in a nutshell. And now they seem to think musicians are totally expendable - have you heard the rythm section in pop music lately? The mechanical drums and bass sound like they were programmed by elementary school students (you no longer hear human drummers or bass players except in rock - it's all cheezy programmed simple beats and simple bass riffs). They are in such a quest to save money, they have brought music down to it's lowest form of prostitution ever. They are strangling the whole art of music.
Your a man after our own hearts.

As Phil pointed out with pirating, this is a moral issue, and when you think about programming cheezy soulless music without the use of musicians is certainly a moral dilemma. it puts people out of work. We've been discussing the idea that each generation has that its music is coming to pass and everything is in decline. By the 1980s, the studio system had started to dry up as more music became programmed, and that was a huge loss for music making here in the states.
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Old 04-04-2010, 05:39 PM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

Of late I've had this sneaking suspicion that I'm becoming a dinosaur. No, more that dinosaurhood snuck up on me while I wasn't looking and now here I am - an ancient, irrelevant relic and grouchy about new-fangled stuff.

I swore it would never happen to me but where to go?

Most techno is painfully repetitious. Metal is dynamics-challenged and designed to help young males get their ya-ya's out. The latest synthetic pop, where even the vocals are treated is dull as dishwater. The rock is formulaic and painfully derivative and predictable. The jazz bands around are playing the same old bop standards - or doing the smooth jazz/fusion thing. A few years ago my then-b/f took me to see an experimental gig. That was intermittently interesting but I could have done without the guy blowing an alto full of water while twiddling knobs on a box to produce feedback noises.

Excuse me while I waddle ponderously off to hunt down Henry Cow.
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Old 04-04-2010, 05:48 PM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

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Of late I've had this sneaking suspicion that I'm becoming a dinosaur. No, more that dinosaurhood snuck up on me while I wasn't looking and now here I am - an ancient, irrelevant relic and grouchy about new-fangled stuff.

I swore it would never happen to me but where to go?

Most techno is painfully repetitious. Metal is dynamics-challenged and designed to help young males get their ya-ya's out. The latest synthetic pop, where even the vocals are treated is dull as dishwater. The rock is formulaic and painfully derivative and predictable. The jazz bands around are playing the same old bop standards - or doing the smooth jazz/fusion thing. A few years ago my then-b/f took me to see an experimental gig. That was intermittently interesting but I could have done without the guy blowing an alto full of water while twiddling knobs on a box to produce feedback noises.

Excuse me while I waddle ponderously off to hunt down Henry Cow.
Experimetal music is still out there, but it's as hard to find as ever. Have you tried listening to Jim Black or some projects of Nels Cline (Nels Cline Singers?)?
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Old 04-04-2010, 06:44 PM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wS7CZIJVxFY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZuTIYEe_p8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rn0-f2MQIo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kols9wQQPzs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6hz_k4xua0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EICkZWEzFGE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tn_v7nBbJA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69mLJw0g6MQ


just a few random selections. there is nothing wrong with music today. nor the industry. it's so easy to find good music if you know where to look.
one thing that strikes me is that it seems (some) musicians just tend to be pessimistic. there is so much good stuff going on. all the time. be happy. :)
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Old 04-04-2010, 07:48 PM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wS7CZIJVxFY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZuTIYEe_p8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rn0-f2MQIo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kols9wQQPzs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6hz_k4xua0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EICkZWEzFGE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tn_v7nBbJA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69mLJw0g6MQ


just a few random selections. there is nothing wrong with music today. nor the industry. it's so easy to find good music if you know where to look.
one thing that strikes me is that it seems (some) musicians just tend to be pessimistic. there is so much good stuff going on. all the time. be happy. :)
Good selection there. I heard Mars Volta haven't been too happy with the big label deal. They are so creative that they make new material faster than what the record company can release, marketting is slow =(. So now we have something like 3 Omar's soloalbums per one mars volta album =P ... I don't care, Omar's solos are sometimes even better than the volta itself. =P Have had some of the best times of my life with that band, and Tool also. Haven't really listened to them recently though.
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Old 04-04-2010, 08:09 PM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

ahaha yeah man. i really think TMV would be better off if they just released everything on their own label but hired different people to do things for them. i.e. promotion, tour management, etc. they have the music/recording down already. and yeah tool are like my favourite band ever, but i don't play so much of that stuff anymore. i mean, i'll usually play a couple of their songs each day, but i'm not constantly doing it. :)

atm i like really simple groovey stuff, like this - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usigsQfrNyI&feature=fvw

sometimes i just loop that bassline and play along to it for hours on end.
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Old 04-05-2010, 02:40 AM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

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just a few random selections. there is nothing wrong with music today. nor the industry. it's so easy to find good music if you know where to look.
one thing that strikes me is that it seems (some) musicians just tend to be pessimistic. there is so much good stuff going on. all the time. be happy. :)
This is true.

The flip side of all these changes is there are so many smaller labels putting out good music, and bands who are able to do what they do without major label support.

Mysapce, youtube and such gives anyone the ability to samples thousands of different bands from all over the world. Where is used to be you had to rely on radio, MTV or a buddies mix tape to hear anything new.

It is very easy to get an unsigned band added to the itunes catalog, where anyone can search for it.

Most of my current favorite bands would never get radio play or be featured on MTV (assuming they played music anyway), but they were there to be discovered, I've bought their albums, and see them when they tour. Some are obscure, some of the are huge in Europe, just not known in the USA.

I don't much care for The Mars Volta, but they fly in the face of every criticism of the current state of the industry by doing everything people complain can't be done anymore.

We may never have another Pink Floyd "Dark Side of the Moon" that sells 45 million copies, but it is replaced by 200 different albums that sell 225,000 copies each.

There are numerous "scenes" where dozens of bands are selling record and touring, and making some money. Maybe no one is rich, but they're doing it. The metal scene is the perhaps most obvious, where there are just so many bands that don't have a gold album, but support themselves on word of mouth, touring and putting out records on small labels.
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Old 04-05-2010, 02:53 AM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

I think that the problem with the capitalism+artistic business thing is that it's easy to have big business involved with it.

Personally, I don't like big business, but I think that's it can be called a necessary evil.

You don't really hear of anyone who doesn't get involved with this, though. There's not a lot of grays as far as I can see.
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Old 04-05-2010, 03:46 AM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

Big business is the reason why it so hard to be an up and coming artist. They control the radio and will play the same stuff over.
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Old 04-05-2010, 04:02 AM
Michael McDanial Michael McDanial is offline
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

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How different is it than the Beatles and other pop/rock groups in the sixties, where jazz, big band, crooner, and country lovers said basically the same thing about 'that' music?

In hindsight, we realize how indeed wonderful and timeless so much of it remains. Perhaps in 30 years, dance and rap and teen pop will viewed with the same nostalgia.

Bermuda
I don't think that people are going to look back with the same feeling. From what I've seen, the vast majority of people are listening to something just because it's popular, and when it loses it's popularity, they toss it aside like yesterday's garbage. Nowadays when you hear people talk about music from seven or eight years ago that they loved when it was popular they just complain that it's old and they're not interested in it anymore. Maybe if music today was less about image and more about making good music it wouldn't be that way. A lot of people won't even admit they listened to things that were popular 10 or 15 years ago that they were listening to.
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Old 04-05-2010, 04:29 AM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

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Big business is the reason why it so hard to be an up and coming artist. They control the radio and will play the same stuff over.
When I was coming up during the 60s and 70s many FM radio stations played almost every track from an album.
Now they only play a limited list of hits!
Like Sting said in the Police song, "Its Music By Numbers"

A good friend is a DJ for WPLR in New Haven CT. WPLR used to play almost every song from every style of Rock. Now, It's a computer generated song list that is based on popularity only. This is all because of the music industry and the way that it is run today.

You used to have to buy an entire album to get the hit song. Now you just buy the single on iTunes! No one ever listens to the whole album anymore. The radio stations just ran with this concept.
Sponsors are not going to buy ads on a station that doesn't play only what are considered hits! Stations aren't going to pay royalties for less than popular music.

Its Just a matter of red and black ink.

The real money today in in touring. The pirating of music has never stopped. The only way that money can be made is through concerts.
The formula, Take a sex cymbal singer, Give them an image, And sell them to the max.

Apple insisted on the single song sale concept when they designed iTunes and sold the idea to the record companies.
Pirating was destroying the record companies at that time so they went along with the 99 cent song deal.
The pirating never stopped! No one has to pay for music today unless they want to!
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Old 04-05-2010, 04:49 AM
Michael McDanial Michael McDanial is offline
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

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The real money today in in touring.
Touring has always been where the artists earn a vast majority of their money. I think that's one of the common misconceptions, that artists are making most of their money off of album sales, and that's simply not true. Ask the Rolling Stones what the ratio is of how much of the money they have made throughout their careers in terms of record sales compared to touring. I would bet a good 95% of that money was made touring, maybe more.

Last edited by Michael McDanial; 04-05-2010 at 02:37 PM.
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Old 04-05-2010, 07:11 AM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

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... Take a sex cymbal singer,
Been playing a lot of drums lately, Bob?
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Old 04-05-2010, 11:09 PM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

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Been playing a lot of drums lately, Bob?
I did that as a joke from reading all of the Craig's ads where they spell Cymbal as Symbol.
I figured that either you of Grunt would pick up on it!
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Old 04-06-2010, 12:03 AM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

It depends on what we're talking about when using the word "capitalism". It's important to specify whether or not you mean state-capitalism (i.e. political entrepreneurs exploiting state-power for profit) or the free market (i.e. market entrepreneurs "doing well by doing good.") They are indeed, opposing definitions...making the word "capitalism" tricky...or even meaningless.

On one hand, which is the current state of the music industry, you've got a system where protectionism guarantees a lack of innovation.

On the other hand, you have a system where consumers are able to truly speak and vote with their dollars, and competition guarantees innovation and creativity.

The "profit motive" is not a bad thing...indeed it is the primary factor for mutually beneficial economic growth and innovation, in the market. All anti-market rhetoric surrounding the "evil profit motive" is based on ignorance and lies.

Profit Motive = competition = innovation, lower prices and more choice. It is economic freedom, sans protectionism.

Add protectionist laws to the mix and you can begin to accurately describe the modern music industry, which is more concerned with maintaining the status quo through fear and intimidation (via protectionist laws.)

There's $0.02 from the Laissez Faire Peanut Gallery. ;)
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  #36  
Old 04-06-2010, 10:17 PM
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Default Re: the music industry: victim of the profit motive?

Another thought,

As much as the major labels have screwed things up, and gotten away from artist development and have resorted to pushing bland, mindless tunes on the radio, the flip side is that the art of music is getting away from just being commerce.

Small bands all over the world are creating music and putting it out there that would have never had the chance under the old system. And because they know they won't be accepted by the majors, they don't try, and instead truly do what they want to do, creating art in music, which is why most of use are drawn to music in the first place.

The problem I have is there are so many bands out there now putting out decent to great music, it's tough to find enough time to listen to it all.
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