Is there really any point making music to sell anymore ?

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Re: Is there really any point making music to sell anymore ?

Post by OneWorld »

Marbury wrote:
blinddrew wrote:
Marbury wrote:It's just a race to the bottom as more and more young kids sell their tracks cheap for the sake of bragging rights.


I'm not sure that's the entire reason. Fundamentally the barriers to entry have dropped massively over the last ten years; more people creating content shifts the supply and demand equation.
This is amplified by a lowering of standards in some of the big commercial players who are focused on speed and cost.

None of which helps, but I don't think it's fair just to blame it on 'kids these days'.


Fair point, and totally valid. Add it to the list. Not so much blaming kids, but they tend to slot pre made loops, samples, beats, and chords together and think they are composers.


I guess this is the result of the democratization of music, the equivalent of painting by numbers or self-driving cars, ready made meals etc, the packaging looks different but they all taste the same.

I was listening to the stems from Bohemian Rhapsody, and as well as Freddy's singing, which of course is legendary, the piano part is incredibly complex. That is not to say anything that is complex is superior, not at all.

I ask myself "If Queen (or any other band of their ilk) walked into a record company these days, asking for a deal, would they be shown the door?" Actually I don't think they would, but the likelihood of such a band coming into existence is less likely, simply because the level of skill needed to get to the top is lower. I often listen to YouTube and trawl through the latest offerings and especially if one listens to the many compilations - it is hard to distinguish one tune from the other because they are formulaic. Many of the the tunes have an impressive production quality, striking videos, a perfectly arranged slick construction, but 2 minutes after hearing the tune, it doesn't linger, there is no lasting impression.

I watched the broadcast of Glastonbury when the Who played (oh what days of joy, the pre-covid epoch!) anyway, there were very impressive performers throughout the day/night, and when Who took the stage, looking as if they were a bunch of escapees from a care home, I thought to myself, "Oh dear, you're going to embarrass yourselves chaps, having to finish off the night, after a legion of today's top performers giving excellent performances"

How wrong I was, they ripped up the rules of impeccable slick presentations, they blasted the rest into oblivion, with a lively, beat for beat stormer of a show, yeah, there were imperfections, some vocals lost in the mire looking for the right note, but it didn't matter, like a captain steering a ship through stormy waters, they got through it and they looked as if they could have gone on all night. But like true professionals, they left the audience wanting. And from those shots of the audience, those left wanting were of today's generation, many of them born long after The Who packed up their gear and retired.

So I think considering such a lot of contemporaneous music is mundane, that possibly enhances the chances of live music becoming ever more the showcase for raw talent - once the plague is over of course. For example, take Ed Sheeran, a troubadour, one man and his guitar and stomp box, stripped back performance, no gimmicks, no lavish choreography and visual effects, and yet I think on his last tour he grossed £750Million!!!!!

And there are those that are gifted with self-belief, hardworking and talented and are the exception rather than the rule, Muse etc So I think unless you are an easy on the eye chickadee or young lad with the backing of SiCo et al, you have to establish yourself as a live performer, that's where the money is, but goodness me, you have to graft for it, and there's nothing wrong with that, thus it ever was
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Re: Is there really any point making music to sell anymore ?

Post by James Perrett »

One big difference today is that you can learn all about pop music at college and university whereas 50 years ago you'd be listening to records trying to work out how they did that. So we've ended up with thousands of very competent graduate pop musicians all playing the way they've been taught instead of hundreds getting things slightly wrong and inventing a new sound in the process.
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Re: Is there really any point making music to sell anymore ?

Post by zenguitar »

James Perrett wrote:One big difference today is that you can learn all about pop music at college and university whereas 50 years ago you'd be listening to records trying to work out how they did that. So we've ended up with thousands of very competent graduate pop musicians all playing the way they've been taught instead of hundreds getting things slightly wrong and inventing a new sound in the process.


Don't underestimate how important this is.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Is there really any point making music to sell anymore ?

Post by blinddrew »

I think the other thing to be wary of in the comparison of the 'cookie cutter music of today vs the classics of the past' is that there was a whole load of totally-forgettable cookie cutter music in the past as well. Most of the 80s for example. ;)
But we only remember the good stuff so we're not comparing like for like.
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Re: Is there really any point making music to sell anymore ?

Post by Marbury »

And then you get the oldies who pioneered their own sound .In my case, Oldfield, Jarre, Tangerine Dream, Floyd and yet I would give you tuppence for anything they have done in the last 30 years.

Having said that the Floyd were excellent when they did the reunion set at Live 8. Ditto The Who.

As for Ed Sheeran............the Emperor's new clothes imo.
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Re: Is there really any point making music to sell anymore ?

Post by SecretSam »

Trying to think of current artists that impress me and weren't around 20 years ago ...

Parov Stellar
Tool
Stefan Bodzin
Some of the stuff on Speedy Wunderground

Err .... can't remember any others.

Any suggestions?

Mind you, as the regrettably immortal sounds of Grease float through my window (next door neighbor on the chardonnay again), I am reminded that pop music has always been to music as McDonald's is to food.
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Re: Is there really any point making music to sell anymore ?

Post by RichardT »

blinddrew wrote:I think the other thing to be wary of in the comparison of the 'cookie cutter music of today vs the classics of the past' is that there was a whole load of totally-forgettable cookie cutter music in the past as well. Most of the 80s for example. ;)
But we only remember the good stuff so we're not comparing like for like.


People have studied this (of course...). I’ve bolded the key bit.

‘ Here we unveil a number of patterns and metrics characterizing the generic usage of primary musical facets such as pitch, timbre and loudness in contemporary western popular music. Many of these patterns and metrics have been consistently stable for a period of more than fifty years. However, we prove important changes or trends related to the restriction of pitch transitions, the homogenization of the timbral palette and the growing loudness levels. This suggests that our perception of the new would be rooted on these changing characteristics. Hence, an old tune could perfectly sound novel and fashionable, provided that it consisted of common harmonic progressions, changed the instrumentation and increased the average loudness’

https://www.nature.com/articles/srep00521
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Re: Is there really any point making music to sell anymore ?

Post by blinddrew »

Haven't read the article yet but it appears to be referring to 'sound' rather than 'composition' there, is that correct?
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Re: Is there really any point making music to sell anymore ?

Post by RichardT »

blinddrew wrote:Haven't read the article yet but it appears to be referring to 'sound' rather than 'composition' there, is that correct?


No, I don’t think so - pitch transitions relates to composition.
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Re: Is there really any point making music to sell anymore ?

Post by blinddrew »

Ah, ok, i was misreading that.
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Re: Is there really any point making music to sell anymore ?

Post by wearashirt »

Great question, and a very important one.

I wonder if others here have read "Rockonomics" by Alan Kreuger (1960-2019). Kreuger was an outsider to music and took an interest in analyzing it with his economics lens, himself chiseled in the national economics of the US.

In the book, he used several sources of data to illustrate the un-straightforward way that the music economy phenomenally operates. He has posited them into models described as Big Winners, Luck, political influence, black markets and piracy, among other ideas.

Ultimately, Kreuger discovered that music exists in many price points from super expensive to practically free, and the fact that musicians derive equal pleasure from their work inasmuch as they want to make money off of it - all of which affect its economics and being a commodity. The book has anecdotes on the legal and financial woes of global superstars such as Sting and Paul Mccartney.

The thesis of the book is just as dumbfounded as we all are about the music landscape, and Kreuger concludes by citing that music itself is a marker of social life and is deeply intertwined in feelings of peace, unity, and attainment of a utopian vision we all have as we trudge through life's miseries and injustice. With that, music is forever.
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Re: Is there really any point making music to sell anymore ?

Post by wearashirt »

One thing about the music landscape that stands out for me is that while record labels are consolidating and being run more like a ledger rather than a creative center, the latter creativity has transitioned to music tech and instrument companies.

The number of products and companies involved in audio interfaces, plug-in development, electric and acoustic instruments, microphone companies have all expanded.

One product is at least $100. The other product is The Dream.

The dream of making it successful in music. This market has become so mature, that it has tapered off into an expensive hobby just like 4x4 off-roaders, gun and archery enthusiasts, or SCUBA diving. I'm surprised that the backing-track market has expanded the way it has, and I feel so counter-entrepreneurial for not taking an interest in it.

And so, demand for music - in whatever shape it may be - has shifted so dramatically. Maybe the industry deserves it? Sex, drugs and alcohol isn't really much in the culinary arts - and running a food business is just as rewarding in 1970 as it is today. I guess the music industry had it coming for all its "sins".
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Re: Is there really any point making music to sell anymore ?

Post by wearashirt »

Came around this forum topic looking for anything to read, as I have 6 major tracks for release independently.

My business plan for it goes like this:

Release versions for digital streaming. Withhold a Bandcamp version that will contain 1 extra layer of instrumentation as well as the backing vocals.

I plan to sell both. Digital streaming for notoriety , and Bandcamp version for higher musical fidelity and extra harmonious parts.

I find that committing to selling music affects the way I arrange, record, and envision each track. I hope this can become a upward trend for popular music, 2021 going forward.
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Re: Is there really any point making music to sell anymore ?

Post by Arpangel »

If you’re a successful, popular musician, you need to make money, it’s not an option, you’re paid to sit at home all day and write the stuff, you don’t work in Tesco’s and treat it like a hobby.
That’s the problem nowadays, we need the big advances, the record company machine, thats where the internet is a massive failure, some of us aren’t web designers, PR people, accountants, or promotors, we don’t want to be, also, we don’t have the connections, or move within the music business network, we need the guys with the big cigars, whether we like it or not. They make the all important circuit, they "know" they can make money out of us, and in return, we get paid to sit at home being inspired.
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That would be an ecumenical matter.

Re: Is there really any point making music to sell anymore ?

Post by RichardT »

Arpangel wrote:If you’re a successful, popular musician, you need to make money, it’s not an option, you’re paid to sit at home all day and write the stuff, you don’t work in Tesco’s and treat it like a hobby.
That’s the problem nowadays, we need the big advances, the record company machine, thats where the internet is a massive failure, some of us aren’t web designers, PR people, accountants, or promotors, we don’t want to be, also, we don’t have the connections, or move within the music business network, we need the guys with the big cigars, whether we like it or not. They make the all important circuit, they "know" they can make money out of us, and in return, we get paid to sit at home being inspired.


Ah - but they tend to interfere with the process of sitting at home being inspired!
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