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Posted By : Marigolds | Comments : 21
Interesting clip about the changing face of the music industry. For better or worse??
It's an interesting subject. The overall ramifications seem boubdless. I'm sure the PRS will still collect in the same way and anything that goes with TV and advertisment is still worth big dosh. might need to sleep on though.
I blame the X factor generation. They have sucked the life out of the music industry and turned it into a generic parade of shite. Also, advances in technology have made it possible for anybody to make a record and fire it into the public arena. From their bedroom to the shelves of HMV regardless of how bad it is just look at Daniel Beddingfield.
In the 60's and 70's is it not true that bands had to have something special about them or be talented to get anywhere near a recording contract and get into a studio. Im sorry but I cant see bands like scouting for girls being remembered in 30 yaers time in the same light as Led Zep or The Beatles.
I disagree. Since my earliest musical recollections in the 70s, there have always been plenty of novelty records, and manufactured bubblegum pop in the charts. I don't think it's any worse now than then. The available media have changed, and the demographics have shifted, but it's STILL all about selling product. Look at a typical chart from the 60s and you'll see plenty of crooners, cover versions and novelty songs.
Firstly, illgal downloads arent killing music - maybe theyre hurting the giant corporate record companies. People always copied and shared music.Secondly, the x factor is nothing new - its just evolution of the way record companies make a quick pound from the latest fad.Thirdly, with reference to point 2, the 60s and 70s had as much shite as the 80s, 90s, and 00s. As with any decade there were some good bands but mostly they were best forgotten!!! (just google a chart week at random and see the obscure list of unheard - ofs in the chart :0)
I have to disagree to an extent with your point Spidermonkey. Although there's tonnes of throwaway nonense these days, there always was. For every Led Zeppelin there were plenty of bands like the Rubettes and for every Joni Mitchell there were countless Cilla Blacks. I'm sure people will still be loving music by bands like System of a Down, Foo Fighters, The Killers, Muse and Radiohead in 30 years time - hopefully loving the Super 8 Cynics too. Ha ha ha!!!
I think the switch to digital music has devalued the experience of what music is and undervalued it as an artform. It's got gradually less and less the experience of buying an album and somehow I feel like it detaches you further from the artist - even though in theory the internet allows you to have unprecidented connections to your favourite bands through social networks and the like. Maybe because it removes an air of mysticism around the artists. I don't really want to know when Bono's put his car in for it's MOT or when Jeff Lynne has booked a canal holiday and where. I liked the way the only exposure outside of the odd TOTP appearance and NME interview you had with your favourite bands was to either see them live or await their new album/single being released. The music was the most important thing.
I've recently started going back into record shops like the Vinyl Exchance and Piccadilly Records again, it's fantastic. None of the pretence, none of the marketting. Just you, a load of CDs and records and some people behind the counter who probably know everything about music ever. Shame they're of a dying breed.
For new artists although it's far easier to record now and get your stuff in a public arena, it's even harder than it was before to get a record deal and actually make a living out of your music. Labels are unwilling to invest in new artists these days as record sales are so low they struggle to make the costs back. To get on a major the band has to either have a huge fanbase across the country already in place or alternatively just tick every box imaginable, have one radio friendly hit already in the can and fit into an exact target market demographic they're after.
@SynhyMike - bang on about devaluing it!! The thrill of going and buying a record the day it came out, unwrapping it and putting it on the turntable has gone - or finding that hidden underpriced gem in a secondhand store!!! Now you can just google it and download something that you used to have to hunt out. As with most of the best things in life - the thrill is in the chase!! :0)
Talent or musical ability or hard work (or any combination thereof) has never equated to automatic or "deserved"success. The simple fact is that the majority of the public want something they don't have to reach for. That's why soap operas, McDonalds, MTV, Tesco, Holidays in Benidorm, Ford Focuses Ant & Dec work so well. In the majority of cases, Marketing is the key.On the subject of piracy, It's been happening since as early as the Cassette recorder that I know of. Technology has simply made it more efficient and the industry does not know how to respond. I kind of like the way it's turned a circle and making artists tour more to make money. It's only what musicians had to do before there was a recording medium to sell. We seem to forget that. Merchandising and suchlike is the way forward. Th big advantage the artist has today is that they don't HAVE to go through the big companies to get their music out to millions of people. Then we're neatly back round to marketing.
I saw an interesting interview with Don McLean. He made a few interesting points about modern music and the music business. He said he no longer enjoeyed making records. He liked having a laugh with the other guys in the studio and knowing your guitarist is emailing his part in just doesn't do it for him.I think thats something that oply really affects older musicians who haven't grown up with a high tech computer led music business.The more cutting remark he made was about the lack of emotion in mordern music. He called it the Prozac generation. He reckoned people don't suffer as much now with struggling emotions because they can take a pill and make it go away.I agree with him to some extent. I can't remember the last time I heard a song that made me feel like crying. Something that really emotionally moved me. Certainly modern love songs especially in the r n b genre are more likely to make me laugh than cry.Everything is changing in the music business. Steve Jobbs is the new Muscic industry mogul. new bands are not cutting it otherwise we wouldn't have 30 and 40 year old bands headlining festivals. I don't recall, any stars of the 40s and 50s headlining rock festivals in the 80s? Throw away manufactured pop has always been there. Even the Beatles were manufactured. However, it has now become much more prevelent. The secret has gone out of music. Parents are no longer telling their kids to get a proper job or go to uni, they are driving them to auditions for the X factor.Everything is easy to get now. If you want to learn a tune you download the tab, power tab, midi file, MP3. you can even watch someone teach you how to play it on you tube. If you want to make a CD you can do a full blown album on your laptop, sell it and market it on the internet. I think this has made musicians spoiled and lazy and could be one of the factors behind music becoming so sterile and unoriginal
@Ian - "I can't remember the last time I heard a song that made me feel like crying"...just stick Radio 1 on mate - reduces me to tears in no time!!!!
I'm not sure the age of headline bands has anything to do with it, I think bands tended to be a little bit older to headline anyway. Though if you have a look at V Festival The Arctic Monkeys and Plan B are headlining for instance. I think at the moment we're in a crossroads between two scenes and eras, you always get a lull. Look at what happened from Brit Pop to the middle of the last decade, only a handful of interesting pop bands. Then all of a sudden a new scenes emerged, they've all be spent now of course but what's to come next? It could be great, it could be loathesome!
I have to disagree with you again about the current generation of musicians Ian. I don't think it's made musicians spoiled or lazy by any stretch of the imagination. What it has done is greatly lower the boundary to which you can make music and get it heard - surely a good thing in many respects. The bad side of things is that to get noticed you have to work so much harder at ticking all the boxes. It's fine having an online prescence but it's got to be cutting edge, different and very professional. You realistically need to make a pop video for your youtube channel - again ideally to professional standard. You need to make flyers and posters - again ideally to professional standard and professional printed. As the outlets and sources of music have spread and become more digitally focussed, targetting your audience and attracting fans requires an unbelievable amount of social networking. Promoting gigs and selling tickets for shows is incredibly stressful and hard work, especially in the infancy of a band. Look at our gig in London, we're struggling to promote it online so I'm going down to London and standing in streets talking to people for ten hours, visiting cool places, giving out flyers, putting up posters where I can, flogging an EP and ticket pack to people interested. This leaves very, very little time to actually write any new stuff. We've got an album in the can, what I consider to be a great album, but what after that? At the moment, a good chunk of our energy is being taken up by just trying to get noticed.
On the other side, thanks mainly to record sales amounting to next to nothing, labels have had a shift in how they work. They ideally want a band with national recognition and a fanbase, or at the very least a band that ticks all the boxes, has a very good radio-friendly song that fits into a particular target demographic they need to fill. I'm not sure labels can afford to allow an artist to develop these days. Use the example of Pink Floyd. Piper was a great album then Syd went insane and it took three rather turgid, and somewhat expensive to record albums for them to find a new voice and become the amazing band they became. Would they get that chance now?
Don McLean raises an interesting ideas but I think he's very misguided. People don't want genuinely emotional songwriters anymore, the bloke/girl with the guitar is considered cliched and banal and if a rock/pop band dare show emotion it's considered miserable of self-indulgent. I've seen contemporary bands both signed and unsigned that dish up more emotion in their words and performances than in a plateful of American Pie.
With regards to the digital age, he's had the luxury of using the best studios in the world. If all he'd had was a Tascam 4-track cassette recorder he might think differently the computer recording. It's brilliant, it lets you make good, not great, recordings in your own home. It'll never truly replace the studio but it's a great vehicle to help people off the ground as I think the odds are stacked against the aspiring musician these days. The Internet has opened up a whole new world to musicians but all it's done is release a million little fish into one giant pond.
Jez C... Bang on about Radio 1. I'm amazed it's not banned under the Geneva Convention.
I disagree on one or two points, fistly I think he's right about the prozac generation numbing down perople's emotional response to music. The percentage of people on prozac now is astronimical. Over 50% of people in Greater Manchester are diagnosed with a metal helath problem. mostly depression. It isn't hard to see why. This is bound to have the above affectSecondly, only my opinion of course but Pink Floyd were crap till barrett left. And Piper at the gates makes a good ashtray.Finally I still think it's become easier for musicians rather than the other way around. Artists can make a million now without leaving their front room, where is the fun in that. "What it has done is greatly lower the boundary to which you can make music and get it heard - surely a good thing in many respects". It's also lowered the expectations from the music buying public I would suggest. Being a bit of an old fart, I am probably stuck in the past. That's the way life is, most of us get to a point where we think what went on during our period of youth was better than the music of today. I think the musicians now are much more skillful than those of the past, however I think that all the skill they have picked up from the tabs, online lessons etc has left a lot of them without the creativity and imagination which created bands like the beatles, the stone, pink floyd etc. It could be the reason we get so many bands now that sound so similar i.e grungy guitar chords and not a lot of melody.There are without doubt some very talented bands out there writing great music. Unfortunately the public no longer want to listen to itYour right about computer recording, I love it myself. But I can see the point he is making. Because all those recording sessions, meeting other musicians, travelling reound the country in a transit van half starved, standing on street corners handing out flyers (Something that isn't new by the way trust me)All those things create experiences and emotions that become part of the recordings. when you create a tune on a mac in your bedroom with logic or whatever and add the samples and the vst fx etc. That part is missing from the music.
In my opinion Radio 1 was good until about 5 years ago when all of a sudden things took a sudden turn for the worse.
I think maybe I was a bit blunt and vague with my earlier points and I have "been put in my place" so to speak but some of the stuff I have read. But some of the stuff that other people have written is getting at the same points I was making just in a more articulate way.
I think part of the fact that Radio 1 has gone worse is partly due to the fact that there isnt that much stuff thats any good these days. They can only play whats out there and at the same time commercially succesful which unfortunately tends to be N-Dubz and Tiny Stretcher or whatever his face is.
I think that Radio 1 doesn't help itself by having a playlist the DJs are forced to play. I'm amazed that's actually allowed on a public service broadcaster's channel to be honest as it favours the lucky ten acts/labels that are on the list.
Ian, you raise an interesting point about the depression factor but of course not everyone with depression would necessarily go on anti-depressants and also maybe the number is higher because there's less stigma attached to mental illness than there was 30 years ago?
I think the web opening up the doors hasn't necessarily lowered people's expectations. I think it's dulled people's attention. There's that much music out there it's difficult to filter out the wheat from the chaff. I bet more people are in bands than almost any hobby these days.
I'm not sure as well whether musicians are more skilled or not, I think skills have changed and how people acquire them have. In metal, of course bands are technically more proficient in many respects but in other genres I'm not so sure. There were classically trained geniuses writing songs back in the day, just as there are now. Plus there's never been a genre so reliant on technique as prog rock was/is.
I'm not sure how the hardship of being in a band would make you a better songwriter as none of that has changed - the difference now is you've not just got a few outlets, venues and bits of each town to concentrate your efforts on - you've got the whole Internet!
As for recording what I think limited gear does is force you to push the limits, you've a set criteria to work in and you have to abide by it and look to maximise what you can with it. If you've only got a couple of bounces worth of 4 channel mixes at your disposal you really have to make what you put into them count I guess. Perhaps also, the effort and expense of recording a song to release was so high before the digital age it was almost like a natural quality control as unless a band has a song that they new was special, they wouldn't spend £100+ a day recording it to 2" tape. Then again, if you're a bunch of kids on the dole who happen to be awesome songwriters, the fact you can do it for free must be incredibly liberating.
I agree that the 50s-80s had as many rubbish records as the 90s and 00s, but how many artists/bands from the 90s-modern day will be remembered in 20-50 years time?
I don't think the internet or piracy is ruining music, it's just a different way of doing things and the music industry has to adapt to it.
The industry has to obviously adapt but how? It was doomed when the MP3 became common place and the Internet began. Until then a pirate copy was inferior than the original and in a world of CD and vinyl media, you actually owned something physical. Good Hi-fi gear is incredibly out of fashion, in favour of docking stations so the quality shortcomings of compressed audio is not as apparent or relevant to 95% of listeners so MP3 is fine. With a shift towards digital downloads the product you get in the end from a torrent site or a label is identical, the only difference is whether you want to pay for it and reward the label and the artist or choose not to. How can labels cope?
I think they only way for the industry to survive is if labels merge with promotion companies and certain venues will be co-run by co-operatives between them so certain bands will play certain venues from the up-coming venues right up to the massive ones in each town. As a side effect the cut promoters/labels get for gigs will greatly increase but I think that's the only model I can see working for the music industry to survive.
As for bands who'll be remembered from the 90s/00s in 20-50 years time... off the top of my head (note not all are bands I actually like):
Alice in Chains
Manic Street Preachers
The Stone Roses
Kings of Convenience
come on guys ..... we're weekend warriors ... who the fuck (on here) cares about royalties, copyright, copying etc etc!! Anyone on here surely should be absolutely thrilled that anyone would take that much of an interest in their music to "steal" it!! LOLFFS the music "industry" will live or die by its own rulesthe music industry is dead, long live the music industry!!p.s. we're at The Old Bank Inn, Blackpool, 19th March 2011 in case anyone wants to bootleg/video us!!!ho ho, fucking ho!!
@ Willow: Yeah, we actively encourage people to steal our music. When we sell a CD to someone we tell them to copy it and give it to all their mates - it's just about spreading the word!@ Mike: That list is your own opinion. There's at least five of those acts whose music I've never actually heard and in order for them to be remebered in the future they have to be known by EVERYONE, even if those people don't neccessarily like or listen to their music (example, everyone's heard of the Beatles even if they don't like their music or listen to them). Also, it's not just a matter of being remembered, it's being remembered and respected as having made a giant contribution to music. Example, I've HEARD OF the Bay City Rollers, but I wouldn't say they made a mega contribution to music. Also, you left Chili Peppers off the list, lol!
Cheering the demise of the recorded medium as a revenue source means that the label will no longer recoup their profits through something they helped create and produce, instead through the live work of the artist. That opens up potential for musicians to be done over far, far more. The album has become a promotion tool to a large extent, which I hate as it undermines it as an artform and might possibly tie in with Ian's opinion about songs lacking emotion - though I disagree with that point.
My list was off the top of my head, I also left off bands like Take That (loathed as I am to say them) Gorillaz and The Prodigy. The Prodigy in particular practically invented their own genre of music (big beat, then rock/punk/dance/hip-hop crossover). Gorillaz consistently produce new and interesting pop songs and Take That are Take That - quite a few people like them put it that way and their success is growing rather than waining. All the bands I've listed have done sell-out UK tours and have had extensive careers, or have produced seminal albums in their varied genres. There'll be artists out there today who'll be the stars of tomorrow.
I beg to differ about making a huge contribution being a deciding factor on longevity of a band's music. Kraftwerk are one of the most influential and original band of all time and they're still loved and respected by those in the know but the average member of public (i.e. non muso) wouldn't know their Ralph from their Florian - whereas something like "5-6-7-8" by Steps is probably a far better known piece of music in Britain today.
I also think it's wrong to think just because you or I don't like a band it's not influential or good. Pop music constantly reinvents itself and the music loved by the real pop pickers, the 12-24 age group does sound like the end is nigh for music for me too. But then so too would the stuff I listen to for someone who grew up with Led Zep and the Beatles, just as Led Zep and the Beatles did to the generation who grew up with big band and Glenn Miller.
Use whether you get the top 40 as a barometer. When you don't it's over. I stopped getting it years ago, in the words of the King of Pop "you are not alone". Doesn't mean that people won't be talking about Dizzee Rascal and Tinee Tempah in 50 years time - who knows. The bands/artists who go on to become legend aren't necessarily the ones you can tell at the time. Look at Madonna for goodness sake - she's rubbish but she's also the most famous, influential and successful female artist of all time - even though there's more talent in Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell's nail clippings.
Surely nobody is forced to listen to music they don't like, not in this day and age, apart from those guys in caves who are driven insane by having to listen to some maximum volume heavy metal til they surrender - oh yeah and parents with teenagers, oh yeah and people in shared accomodation, oh yeah and all of us who live on a terrace, oh yeah and anyone who turns on the tv, oh yeah and anyone who leaves the house and goes into a shop - hmmmmmmmmmm?
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