Are we not fucked?

mjp

The stone that the builder refused
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#1
Jerry Casale from Devo was on NPR last night, pontificating about something he learned in college when he made a good point. He said "our culture has devalued music so much that people don't even want to pay for it."

I'm all for the death of the big record companies, but the byproduct of the rise of the technology is we've reached a saturation point and actually have too much recorded music. No human can absorb all the music that's created now. Even in one tiny sub-sub-genre. So devaluation would seem to be a natural progression.

A similar thing happened to television of course, when cable came along and gave people more than 3 or 4 choices. But cable is (so far) finite. Music just keeps expanding like the universe or Jesus' love for you.

Now that "anyone can create music," the (expensive) marketing of that music has become more important than ever. We went through a brief period where you could cultivate a sizable fan base online and even tour and survive as a musician, but as the expansion increases that becomes less viable (the same thing happened in the art world in the very early days of the internet).

We're way past the days where one band or one TV show can have a wide ranging cultural impact. That probably bodes poorly for us as a culture. As time goes on we'll have less and less common language and experience, and it will be that much easier to ignore and dismiss each other.

So, yeah. I'm sure you already know all that. I don't know why I just typed it.
 

Lolita Twist

Rose-hustler
Over 500 posts
#2
We ignore and dismiss each other now. I think in years to come, humans won't even use their vocal cords anymore (unless, evidently, they're in a band) - they'll be strictly text messaging and communicating somehow by telepathy (evolution's a bitch).
 

Mark73

Over 500 posts
#3
Evolved Mutations

Desoyribonucleicacid rape

---------------------------

I normally wouldn't post lyrics, but this song text of an old schoolfriend of mine was irresistible.
Written by Timo Knopf of the long defunct Eternal Dirge.
Feel free to delete.
 

mjp

The stone that the builder refused
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#4
I had to delete, but left in Desoyribonucleicacid rape because someone went to a lot of trouble to think that up.
 

number6horse

okyoutwopixiesoutyougo
Over 1000 posts
#5
Ahh... a pun on deoxyribonuleic acid. Anyway, just had to show off my memory of a term from high school biology class, whether anyone cares or not.

And no, you can't ask me what it is.
 

hoochmonkey9

Art should be its own hammer.
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#6
I may be naive, but I really think there will be some sort of revolution in music to make it relevant again. something to shake it out of its vague, bland ubiquity. what that will be? fuck knows, and I am probably wrong, but I think it will happen.

there will be a backlash. there always is. crew cuts to pompadours to mop-tops to long hair to spiked mohawks and back again. maybe that's the problem. maybe we're stuck in 'back again.' no matter how much I love music and try to keep up with current bands, everything reminds me of the past. even bands I like. nothing has a foot in the future. there's a slew of bands right now that the pomo site pitchfork is giving fairly good to really good reviews, and they all sound like music stopped in the 1980s.

there's a band right now that I like, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti. I like their new album, Before Today, very much. but it sounds like songs that didn't make the Mannequin and Beverly Hills Cop soundtracks because they were a bit too weird. listen to song (if you want to). it sounds like Joey Ramone singing lead for The Style Council. is that the future of music? no. even if I like it, no.

revolution is in the air, my friends!
 

Erik

If u don't know the poetry u don't know Bukowski
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Over 1000 posts
#9
We're way past the days where one band or one TV show can have a wide ranging cultural impact. That probably bodes poorly for us as a culture. As time goes on we'll have less and less common language and experience, and it will be that much easier to ignore and dismiss each other.
mjp: watching episode 9 of Treme makes me think "yeah, we're fucked, but the music isn't".
So I sort feel you've got things mixed up a bit.
Sure, we're fucked, with anonymous multinationals like BP (and Exxon) fucking us big time, and getting away with it, most likely.
But true music is the opposite of BP, in my ears.
Even though most musicians aren't able to earn a decent living off their music, they get by.
They get by a lot better then the poor fucker plodding his life away at some meaningless job without any musical talent, or some such, to brighten up his greyness.
It's like Davis says in Treme about New Orleans: "there are so many beautiful moments here."
He's talking about music, isn't he?
Those moments can't earn BP any money, so it leaves them alone.
Their loss.
Or to borrow another Treme quote from the same episode: " Fucking is fucking, but music, that's personal."
So are we fucked after all?
I'm not so sure...

PS: Giant Loveball
 

mjp

The stone that the builder refused
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#10
no matter how much I love music and try to keep up with current bands, everything reminds me of the past. even bands I like.
That's because you've been around too long. ;)

But I don't think a "new," revolutionary style of music is possible anymore. Not because there's nowhere new to go in music, but because there's no audience for it. Or rather, the audience for it would be a tiny subculture on a web site somewhere, and it would have a hard time getting beyond that. There is no more "crossover" in popular music anymore. Everything is neatly in its own box/ghetto and you never have to hear anything you don't want to hear.

And that is one of the primary things that killed it. The internet just came along to finish the job.

I found some "air checks" from the rock station I used to listen to when I was a teenager in the 70s, and in my memory it was the hardest rocking, kick ass station - but the recordings tell a different story. They played a surprising variety of different things. I'll try to list the songs in the hour long blocks if I can find the air checks again. But the point is, there is no radio outlet like that anymore. Where they play more than one type of music. And don't tell me college radio. That's nothing but a competition between record nerds for who can be more obscure.

watching episode 9 of Treme makes me think "yeah, we're fucked, but the music isn't".
Even though most musicians aren't able to earn a decent living off their music, they get by.
Playing live music, in a city where tourists come to hear music, they barely squeak by, yes (the fictional characters, that is). People will still pay money to see a live band (especially music stuck in a time warp in a tourist town, like New Orleans jazz) because the internet hasn't figured out a way to steal that yet. But it will.

I should say that I love the music in Treme, but I also love reggae music form the 1970s, so I'm not really much of a new music consumer anymore.
 

1fsh2fsh

I think that I think too much
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Over 500 posts
#11
Jerry Casale from Devo was on NPR last night,..
Well the rest of this thread is more than I want to tax my intoxicated brain about right now, but, this I know.... I going to see devo on the fourth of july at milwaukee summer fest!! fuck, it don't get no betta than that! 11 days, 11 stages, over 800 bands. go cheeseheads!!
 

number6horse

okyoutwopixiesoutyougo
Over 1000 posts
#12
I think we may have de-valued music quite a bit in the modern day, but that doesn't mean that it can't create a seismic shift in the culture now and then. The way it has always been done. There's always a restless young man with a guitar somewhere who's had enough. But can he do it in a fractured/splintered listening world ?

I dunno, but my favorite rock quote (not lyric) is

"Once in a while, rock n' roll MUST kill it's parents."

And that's the key, I think.
The music must abandon the past, ignore it at parties, mock it behind its back and carefully but assuredly set fire to it in its entirety, just to be sure.

May the next restless young man with a guitar be a Puerto Rican girl DJ/film maker.

I'm waiting.....
 

mjp

The stone that the builder refused
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#13
Here are the playlists for three different hours for the radio station I listened to when I was 15, 16 years old. And this was a rock and roll station (U100 - Twin Cities), the top 40 stations would have been even more jumbled. There is rock in there, but also straight up disco, pop, folk music...

But if I hadn't found the recordings and was just going by memory, I would have sworn up and down that all they played was 70s hard rock. Yet another example of the unreliability of memory when it comes to very, very important things like which songs were on the radio.

Jethro Tull - Aqualung
James Gang - Funk #49
Bazuka - Dy-no-mite
Beatles - Sgt. Pepper
ZZ Top - Tush
Beach boys - California girls
Led Zeppelin - Misty mountain hop
Lynyrd Skynyrd - Free bird
(Some song I couldn't identify)
Led Zeppelin - Stairway
Joe Cocker - A little help from my friends

Beatles - Hello, goodbye
Vickie Sue Robinson - Turn the beat around
Gordon Lightfoot - Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
J Geils Band - House party
Chicago - If you leave me now
McCartney and Wings - Let 'em in
Foghat - I just wanna make love to you
Raspberries - Go all the way
Hall and Oates - She's gone
Boz Scaggs - Lowdown
Chicago - Beginnings
Bee Gees - You should be dancin'
Deep Purple - Lazy

Chicago - Wishing you were here
Led Zeppelin - Stairway
Seals and Crofts - Get closer
Diana Ross - Do you know
Wild Cherry - Play that funky music white boy
Boz Scaggs - Lowdown
James Taylor - Fire and rain
Bee Gees - You should be dancin'
Andrea True Connection - How do you like your love
Derrick and the Dominos - Layla
Heart - Magic man
Bay City Rollers - I only wanna be with you
Steve Miller Band - Keep rockin' me baby
Mason Proffit - Two Hangmen
Walter Murphy - Fifth of Beethoven
Orleans - You're still the one

The point being, if that was the station you listened to, you heard all of that stuff. We didn't usually switch back and forth (unless we were in a car where it was easy to hop around stations due to the space age pushbuttons on the radio). So if you were lying around your room being sullen, you'd just have to listen to what they played. It exposed you to music you wouldn't voluntarily listen too. Which doesn't really happen anymore, because it's too easy to - click click click - look for something else.
 

hoochmonkey9

Art should be its own hammer.
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#14
Beatles - Hello, goodbye
Vickie Sue Robinson - Turn the beat around
Gordon Lightfoot - Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
J Geils Band - House party
Chicago - If you leave me now
ha! that's an eclectic little stretch of music.
 

Black Swan

Abord the Yorikke!
Over 1000 posts
#16
Yes indeed, we are fucked. Entertained to death, by free music, free movies, while we work our ass off just to get by. We are tamed, busy paying off for what is sold to us, as a 'must have', wires, captors, receptors. Brave new world. The most promoted are the ones to reach us. Where is the underground?
 

hoochmonkey9

Art should be its own hammer.
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#17
that's the thing; the underground is easier to find because of the internet. when I was a teenager, I was the most popular kid (amongst like minded kids) because I took the time to read mags and zines to find 'the latest thing' and mail order it. no paypal. most times I had to go to the bank to get international money orders, wait 2 months for it to show up. I was always taping stuff for friends. making mixtapes for pretty girls who only wore black and never smiled.

now, a few clicks and it's on the ipod. great, convenient, etc. but where is the underground?

that's it! the internet has stolen the underground! fuck the internet!

or something.
 

mjp

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#18
I would have only needed a single click...on the off button if i'd had to listen to that pile of fuckin shite when i was 16.
Ooh, I got little punk rock tingles from that!

I know what was on the radio in the UK in 1978, when you were 16, and it was no better. In fact radio in the UK was generally much, much worse. After all, we are talking about a country where K-Tel records would make the top 10 for christ's sake. You aren't fooling anyone with your prickly stance, mister!

Black Swan said:
Where is the underground?
hoochmonkey9 said:
the internet.
That's exactly where it is, and that's why you'll probably never find it. And even if you do find it, you'll probably lose the bookmark, then be without an underground again until some teenager points you to it.
 

ROC

It is what it is
Over 1000 posts
#19
Jerry Casale from Devo was on NPR last night...
He's just come to the (belated) realisation that music is not a product. It seems to me tha people value music a great deal. Most just don't want to pay for it.
 
#20
Yes, and that bugs me. As someone who supplemented their income for several years playing live gigs, and more importantly, as someone who played with a fair number of musicians who made their living doing it, I get a bit bothered by the "burn me a CD" syndrome. I have no love for record companies; don't get me wrong, so it is a catch-22 in many cases.

I guess my point is that if I want good music, I'm more than willing to pay for it. But not everyone can afford all they want, so corporate greed breeds consumer greed in some cases. If the musicians themselves got the lion's share and the companies who do nothing but promote and press vinyl [insert alternate form of musical reproduction here] made a more modest living, instead of living like kings off of no talent, more people would buy the product fairly. Everybody would be better off. But most importantly the artists.
 

number6horse

okyoutwopixiesoutyougo
Over 1000 posts
#21
"and just then - it hit me - somebody turned around and shouted
Play that funky music white boy...


I actually heard a fusion acoustic trio cover a Jethro Tull song tonight, so I hope for the best
 
#22
Ooh, I got little punk rock tingles from that!

I know what was on the radio in the UK in 1978, when you were 16, and it was no better. In fact radio in the UK was generally much, much worse. After all, we are talking about a country where K-Tel records would make the top 10 for christ's sake. You aren't fooling anyone with your prickly stance, mister!
We used to get 10 hours of John Peel every week and that sure gave me a punk rock tingle
 

mjp

The stone that the builder refused
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#23
If the musicians themselves got the lion's share [...] more people would buy the product fairly. Everybody would be better off. But most importantly the artists.
We're halfway there. Online distribution like the de facto king giant iTunes is the ideal format to distribute music with only one middleman.

iTunes is definitely not a "one-middleman" operation of course, but it will be replaced at the top of the heap by an independent site at some point. Corporate sites like iTunes will continue to re-sell people the old music, and the new music will be available for less on the independent site(s).

The musicians have to change first though. Most people still chase after the slavery of "getting signed," because they don't know any better. But at some point there will be a shift and when there is, I'll be ready to become the new middleman and take all the kids money. I mean, then peace will prevail on earth!
 

Rob.

Over 100 posts
#24
Self promotion/distribution is the future of music.

The only reason that record companies make the huge profits they do is because they are assuming all the risk. As more artists, new and old begin to market and make available their music digitally and on their own, the record industry will fade. Eventually, there will be something in its place. Thousands of independent sites would be unweildy, so there must arise some sort of hub or hubs. The new man will, however, hold much less power over the artists when less risk is involved due to an almost made-to-order or completely digital inventory.
 

Gerard K H Love

Appreciate your friends
Over 5000 posts
#25
From mjp's post above, I listed the names of songs and groups I recognized and these do not fit the others:
This is funny:
Chicago - If you leave me now *Hall and Oates - She's gone*Chicago - Beginnings*Seals and Crofts - Get closer*Diana Ross - Do you know*Bee Gees - You should be dancin'*Andrea True Connection - How do you like your love*Orleans - You're still the one

In the 70s most of the songs listed above were only listened to by teen age males who were making out with young girls who the young males believed were going to give it up. In other words I listened to hours of verbal bullshit and lame records from sexy little hotties whose pants I was attempting to enter for my own satisfaction. The girl who ultimately articulated the most intelligently and listened to the truly great music is the mother of my three youngest.
Seals and Crofts, Chicago (vocals) and Bee Gees are on the play list for the P.A. system of hell.....but the rest of the music, listed above, was all good.
 

mjp

The stone that the builder refused
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#26
The only reason that record companies make the huge profits they do is because they are assuming all the risk.
I would argue that record companies take zero risk. Even in the old days of vinyl and physical distribution.

Every penny they put into an artist is repayable by the artist. The company has further hedged its bets by signing only artists they consider commercially viable. It takes very little for them to make back what they have put in, and if the artist actually becomes popular and there is any profit, the company will take half of that as a bonus for their humanity and largesse.

Record companies were so ridiculously wealthy in the 70s that they would sign bands they had no intention of releasing records for, and use their recording and "development" costs as tax write-offs. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of musicians who can tell you personal stories of being signed to just such a deal. And you can't even get out of that contract because it is dependent on a certain number of releases, which they will never give you. The only way out of those contracts was to pay the record company all the money they spent on you, and a little bit more for their trouble.

Where is the risk in that?

It has never been a risky business. It only became risky when they didn't see the future barreling straight for them, and chose the worst time in the history of recorded music to get greedy. How much did you pay for a CD just before the internet took off? $18? $20? I was in London in the early 90s and some new, mainstream releases were selling for the equivalent of $30US!

Risk? I never heard of a big record company losing money, did you?

The rise of the independents in the late 70s was in part a reaction to both the changing musical landscape, and a move to upset the record company status quo. The only problem was that many of the independents cut their costs by spending nothing on the artists beyond recording, pressing and distribution. So they faced a difficult task selling anything, and the artists had to mope around flat broke around and try to tour with no financial backing. Which is fun, for a while, but very, very difficult. So that entire ecosystem was risky, yes. But as far as the "majors" are concerned, they were always very careful not to risk anything.

---

Sorry, I get a little wound up on the subject of the recoding industry. And make no mistake, it is an industry.
 

slimedog

Over 1000 posts
#27
If you look at the history of music in mankind it's only been a very short time where we've even had recorded music. Generally music was very connected with the region you were from and changed very little over time. I would like to see a time where there were no more "stars" and people just focused on their local talent, music being more tribal in a way. I think in many parts of the world this still exists. I think with the overload of access to music it just may cause this as it is nothing special to hear someone from another country no matter how obscure. I would wish for people to realize that they have as talented people in their hometown and support them in a live setting, where I feel music should really be experienced and was for millions of years, and just steal what they want off the internet
 

slimedog

Over 1000 posts
#29
Actually, I'm doing amyl nitrate right now. Basically I think people should stop listening to music and start experiencing it instead (wow, that does sound like acid). But if for some reason I had to choose between giving up all my recorded music that I own or all the times I've experienced music in a club whether playing or enjoying it I would definitely take the latter. I can't relate to rave music too much but at least the people are enjoying music in a way that I feel is the best, in a group setting (and on DRUGS!).

So seriously, if the internet kills all record companies etc. it's all for the good, I say. I think it's too bad when I see people in my town willing to spend money on touring "legendary" musicians but won't go see their own fine young local playersof whatever genre.

I beseech everyone to make there own music or just enjoy your friends or tribal bretheren. Miles Davis once said people think music is on records and he said it's not- it's live in clubs. Records are just that- a record of what happened.

I do not buy music anymore (I save it for amyl nitrate) but I do weekly pay admittance at local clubs to see local musicians.
 

Black Swan

Abord the Yorikke!
Over 1000 posts
#30
I'll be doing just that, tomorrow and sunday, at the Festival Folk on the Canal.
I'm working as a volunteer, and I'll get to see Kathleen Edwards.
 
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