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Music as Art, Not a Commodity: Three Models

By tuj in Media
Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 12:45:48 PM EST
Tags: Music (all tags)

As of late, there have been stories about how to 'save' music in light of the RIAA, p2p mp3 swapping, etc.  Finding none of these solutions likely, what follows are three models for the advancement of good, artistic, contemporary music.  

Today, the artists who wish to present their art without debasing it for mass public consumption might as well view their situation as hopeless, if they are to believe the contemporary media regarding the state of the music industry.  I present three models for artists to reach their audience, and achieve some level of commercial success while maintaining the integrity of their art.

The techno model:  Starting in Detroit in the early 80's, techno pioneers (Atkins, May, et al) started their own labels (Transmat, Metroplex) to release their material which had no chance of major label commercial success.  Selling their records to independent, small record shops all over the globe, several releases when on to sell 100.000 copies (Strings of Life).  Over time, this model became more refined.  Currently, small labels are generally started by a few people, featuring a handful of artists (often the label owners).  Generally the bulk of these label's releases are in 12" or 7" format.  Releasing on vinyl was originally necessitated by both technology (in 1983, pressing short-run cd's was expensive) and the culture of raves/dj's, but offers an additional benefit; 12" are typically cut for 8 - 12 minutes per side.  Therefore, nearly all releases are essentially singles, or EP's (at best), which allows the label to maximize the number of releases, which typically retail around $8-10.  Labels pay for the pressing of the records, usually selling the records wholesale to distributors or record stores.

The number of distributors is relatively small compared to the number of labels due to the nature of distribution.  Some distributors (Forced Exposure, Bent Crayon) will sell directly to the public, while others (Watts) act as a middleman.  Typically, small, independent record stores will get all their records from just a few distributors, as this simplifies their operation.  Some stores and some labels will bypass distributors altogether, and deal directly.  The Dance Music Resource is a great reference.

While I am not very familiar with hip-hop, it would seem that there are similarities; you might also call this the Def Jam or Death Row model (although Def Jam was assimilated by Universal; Death Row was distributed by Interscope/Universal).  There also seems to be a parallel in indie rock as well, with specialty record shops catering to these genres.  In the early 60's, you could have called this the Motown model.

  • Advantages:  Entrapenurial.  Empowers artist to pursue artistic interests, rather that trying to create mass appeal.  Bypasses traditional distribution and retail, along with major labels.  Potential for modest to moderately large (Ritchie Hawtin: Plus 8) income.  

  • Disadvantages:  Requires modest amount of capital ($1500 for 500 12").  Assumes that recording/producing is done by the artists (typically in a home studio).  Promotion generally relies on reviews in niche publications, word of mouth, and playback (via dj performance, or independent/pirate radio).  Requires consumers to actively seek product (ie can't go to Walmart).  Expanding into traditional retail locations requires a major-label partner/distributor (ie Nothing+Interscope).  If the releases are on vinyl, there exists a potential to alienate potential consumers who don't posses the necessary playback equipment (same for minidisc-only labels like nmd5).  Being picked up by a distributor is more difficult with the proliferation of small labels.

  • Feasibility:  For non-electronic music, this model is probably not feasible to the same degree, due to the fact that it would require a distribution and retail infrastructure that does not currently exist (at least not to the extent that it does for electronic music).  It would seem that techno is the most successful example of this model, achieving wide dissemination with little to no major label support or promotion (as opposed to rap).  Producing/recording non-electronic music is usually difficult/expensive in the home studio.  Electronic music has an advantage in using the vinyl format, in that it is already associated with the sub-culture.  Probably more electronic music listeners have turntables than underground rap fans.  This model is most effective when contained to a particular genre of music, with its own culture and community.  

Radiohead Model:  This model is more or less the traditional 'band' breaks into the big-time' story, with the added qualification of the artist not comprimising their artistic integrity for popularity.  Some bands can start as bubble-gum pop successes and develop into serious artists (the Beatles).  Bands work for years, hopefully improving, creating a buzz, and eventually getting signed to a major label.  Ideally, successful artists handle the transitions from unknown to 'next big thing' to sophomoric to financial and artistic success.  These are the artists who understand their finances, and tolerate the music industry as a necessary parasite, rather than letting it rape them.

You could also call this the Korn, Dave Mathews, Nine Inch Nails model.  (while they are all 'popular' music, it at least appears to be the music the artists want to create, presented (produced) the way they want).  This model assumes that there is such a thing as truly artistic popular music, and that it is possible for some artists to express themselves and still be commercially successful on a large scale.

  • Advantages:  Large exposure, consumer base.  Doesn't compromise artistic intentions.  Potential for moderately large to very large income.  Major label promotion, support.

  • Disadvantages:  Requires generous amounts of talent, as well as good production skills, and amazing live performance.  Assumes artists can work for several years without commercial success, while continuously improving.  Major label costs (ie promotion).  Marketed as commodity.  Some successful artists eventually tend to create work that will be successful commercially, but is artistically banal.

  • Feasibility:  Low.  How many great bands can sell millions of records without resorting to mass appeal?  (and don't try to tell me that Kid A, 1 million sold, had mass appeal).  

MP3.com Model:  Record a hit, post it on mp3.com, watch the money role in.  While its certainly not that simple, mp3 hosting sites, and the internet in general offers a vast channel of global distribution for an artist.  Websites become a level playing field, as anyone can potentially design a site rivaling larger artists' professionally designed pages.  

  • Advantages:  Potential for distribution to anyone with a computer and internet connection.  Possibilities for revenue via pay for playback or selling cd's direct.  Virtually no cost (unless you pay for hosting or pay mp3.com for their premium service).

  • Disadvantages:  Difficult to stand out amongst thousands of groups.  Requires lots of self-promotion.  Requires paying host (ie mp3.com) to receive payback.  Has yet to be proven as a serious model.  Stigma of distaste for mp3.com by many potential consumers.

  • Feasibility:  Currently low.  While I don't doubt there is some great music available on mp3.com and similar sites, there has yet to be a huge act break this way.  The payback for playback program apparently works as a valid revenue stream for some artists (skylab2000), but it seems at least some of these cases are groups that tour regularly, and often have a small record deal.  The payback program seems to have started a trend of blatant, distasteful self-promotion (read: spam) among many artists on mp3.com, rather than an emphasis on quality.  

    As an avid listener of electronic music, I've been repeated disappointed with virtually every track on the different sub-genre charts, which seems to show the most popular tracks are indeed crap (which is consistent with rest of the music industry).  The quandary is that most mp3.com artists don't have record company promotions behind them, so one might think that its a level playing field.  And perhaps it is, although my impressions were that the artists with the best self-promotion/scripts/spam had a distinct advantage.  While reviews of mp3.com music in (semi)respectable publications like URB can help separate the wheat from the chaff, there needs to be much more of this.  Personally, I'd love to see some amazing new music come from mp3.com and be moderately successful in a traditional commercial sense (read: selling records in stores).

In presenting the above three models, I've inherently presented some of my own opinions, and probably made some overly broad generalizations.  Before flaming, let me make a few qualifications.  The models are in no way mutually exclusive; I expect that all three will eventually be seen in various genres of music.  You might notice that all of the models have a relatively low feasibility: this is a reflection of the simple fact that most people who try to succeed in the music industry will fail, regardless of what model they choose, because of various reasons (which I'm not going to go into).  I'm sure I've missed examples (or counter-examples): point them out.  Finally, like everyone else, I'm a musician, and although I'd love to do it professionally, I'm not there yet.  So keep that in mind when consider the justification (or lack thereof) for my statements.

In closing, I don't understand why everyone is so worried about the music industry.  Good music, regardless of genre is always going to be available to those willing to seek it out, now more so than ever with the internet as a distribution channel.  So what if the major labels continue to manufacture crap?  To all those who worry that the kids will spend all their money on Britney Spears rather than the Beta Band, I digress.  I have more faith in our collective taste than that.  Manufactured shit-pop, whether its lip sync (New Kids on the Block, Milli Vanili), real-time pitch correction (nsync, et al), or Pat Boone singing Little Richard's Tutti-Fruti, will always eventually die away in disgrace.  Everyone eventually turns off MTV.  Technology has empowered the artist more than ever.  And while we have to wade through ever-growing seas of mediocrity to find that sparking gem, there is always the chance that somewhere there's a kid with a guitar, 4-track, or laptop writing the next piece in the soundtrack to your life.


Voxel dot net
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o VoxCAST Content Delivery
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What model do you see as the most likely so succeed in the near future?
o the techno model 23%
o the Radiohead model 3%
o the mp3.com model 13%
o the 'become a slave to a major label' model 10%
o none of these models 33%
o I don't know (always a valid answer) 16%

Votes: 30
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o stories
o techno pioneers
o distributo rs
o Forced Exposure
o Bent Crayon
o Dance Music Resource
o Plus 8
o nmd5
o premium service
o musician
o real-time pitch correction
o Also by tuj

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Music as Art, Not a Commodity: Three Models | 43 comments (25 topical, 18 editorial, 0 hidden)
A personal experience (5.00 / 9) (#8)
by KiTaSuMbA on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 02:16:36 AM EST

I am a musician interested basicaly (if not solely as a music maker, though this is not true for me as a listener) in electronic music. I currently have 2 "projects" on the run: a single person, mostly industrial drum n bass (perhaps you never heard of this subgenre as it seems I'm one of the very few exploring this path) and generally focusing on "hard" sounds (The Viruz Industry) and another one with a friend focusing on more melodic, "living room - like" electronica (Labform). This friend also has his own "avatar" on acoustic music with his own native language lyrics (greek). Me being the "computer geek" of the story, I tried the "mp3.com" model to get our music to the people out there, whereas my friend, having more "typical" views on the music industry, tried to reach out companies in the classic "artist-needs-a-record-deal" way. Needless to say, we are exactly where we started 2 years ago.

But let's take a closer look over the models:

  • The company deal: As most people can tell you this had no real chance to success. In some cases, the "interested" company would embrace you and cover your costs in an all-so-warming deal *if* you got rid of this and that and that on your stuff turning a deep-felt piece into a pop-crap meaningless beat that could make them some money. Other, usually smaller, companies offered deals while taking no risk: you, the artist, pay *everything* and if the project takes off, they get their percentages, if it fails you get the bills (and we are talking serious money here people!). Having zero budgets, this was out of the question. :-(
  • The OnLine Music Distributor (OMD) a la mp3.com approach: I started looking for a place to be when most OMDs were free to join. The first I tried was, naturally, mp3.com as it was the most widely known and the first to hit my monitor. I read the "agreement" and joined (though having some doubts) just to "test" it. I also tried some, admitedly blant, self-promotion by starting a couple of mp3.com "radios" containing stuff both mine and that I found interesting and appropriate. Within the first months though the real face of the OMD business revealed itself to me. By following my statistics, reviewing the tracks on the charts and continuously deleting "fellow artists'" spam (I was wise enough to give a non-important mail account, mostly created as spam dustbin) it was clear that spamming, scripting and download whoring/trading was the only way to go in a place so overcrowded with 16 yrs old wannabes with overbloated egos, broadband connections, time to waste and moderately capable perl-scripting friends. Furthermore, that little footnote on the agreement was so frequently and blatantly used: mp3.com retained the right to change just about everything as they pleased anytime with no further notification. So mp3.com was free if you wanted to use them as network storage but if you wanted to make anything useful out of your account you had to *pay*!

    It was about time I fled to another OMD, besonic and vitaminic appeared on my way but still wasn't good enough: *they* had too much control over *my* stuff. I finally got my way to ampcast and I was deeply impressed. It was like a dream come true. Nobody pissed you around, the charting method was extremely reliable and anti-script secured (based on peer-rating, similar to k5's mojo), administration feedback came within a day or two and the most important: there was a real community feeling (the only other site that gave me the same feeling is - surprise! - K5). Things went perfectly right for quite some time, and the site kept evolving with more features and options. I even had some nice chart positions myself as it seemed some people were interested in extreme experimentation and I had some wonderful time enjoying both praises and well-intended critics on the site's forums. But then, things started to deteriorate even at ampcast, our little "hang out" corner. Subsequent massive waves of new users allegedly pushed (was it real or just an excuse for revenue? I'll take it for real) the site owners to ask for subscription fees. Initially these fees were pretty low, almost symbolic, so I managed to keep my account covered through the 6 cents per download for quite some time and that, I thought, was totally acceptable as a small annoyance to the rapidly increasing ears that could listen to our music. But I was proven wrong once again. The new users waves, mostly mp3.com fugitives, offered none but trouble. The forums kept becoming increasingly spam/trade/whore driven, factions of favorites and "enemies" were forming and you could get "punished" by downrating for an honest and well-intended public review. Ampcast was getting overcrowded and bullies-in-the-schoolyard-like, looking every day more and more like mp3.com. It was clear that to keep the "face" I had built all that time in this crowd I had at least to spend more time on the site on self-promotion instead of actually making music or doing my job, start "whoring" in the forums (since honest posts could come at high rating costs) and make a couple of more "popular" tracks to act as teasers/trailers to what really mattered for me as music. My pride over my political and philosophical personal views cost me the rest of that face on the wake of the 9/11 tragedy, as I was labelled "anti-american" (same views as can be seen here at k5). The very owners of the site with whom I had previously shared a perfect collaboration showed some serious adversity by presenting random "problems" over including me in a site-wide common project as a cultural response to the 11/9 violence. Surprisingly no other artist faced similar "problems" and delays. I was starting to get seriously pissed off at ampcast and its freshmen. Then the last blow came: within a few months subscription raised from the initial 25$ to 50 and then 75 while the downlaod payoff decreased to 2 cents with a rather pushy attitude from the administrators and the basic account features were crippled by offering new features to "promote-yourself" paid extras. I decided it was useless to renew my subscription, I was finally out of a community that turned into a mob made of clans lynching each other...

    The overall OMD experience points out the following conclusions. Your audience in an OMD is made of either artists or artist-wannabes with percentages shifting to the latter as the OMD gets more popular and crowded. Small-time OMDs with niche sections are very good for getting real life feedback instead of friends telling you you rock just to make you feel good while mp3.com-like behemoths are good only at promoting overbloated teenager egos. OMDs do not generate revenue for the artist unless he/she whores himself worse than with a record company deal OR work themselves on irregular or even illegal manners (scriptage/spamming), at best you can make even for the OMD-related costs. If you perform live, a medium-sized OMD with a good representation of your local community is a nice and cheap way to generate fuzz about yourself and promote small-time gigs. Nothing more, nothing less...

  • The Techno model: at our current state, seems like the only option left but it still remains mostly on a wishlist rather than real life actions. Starting such an adventure requires an initial capital wich neither of us has handy. If you can survive the risk of a failure this is called a failed investment, if not, it's called "paying for summer night dreams" and you are going to think about it for some serious time before the scars heal. For this model to succeed you need word of mouth to spread and a fuzz around you. This is feasable for techno or other electronic subgenres that are appealing for a dancefloor: djs play your tunes, people dance, people ask the djs what on earth was that, you sell in the underground record shops, more people listen, more ask, more buy. But if what you do is mostly not appealing even for the most eccentric dancefloors then you've got some serious trouble: you need to find pirate/indie radios willing to go that radical, clubs (not necessarily dance) having experimental stuff evenings etc., and god knows it's not that easy! The tip here is, DON'T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB TO START AN INDIE MUSIC LABEL unless you already got things settled nice and tight.

There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
+1, section (4.00 / 1) (#21)
by wiredog on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 08:58:25 AM EST

for the above comment. Have you thought of writing it up as a story? It'd be interesting.

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]
thnx for the support (4.50 / 2) (#27)
by KiTaSuMbA on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 07:42:57 PM EST

Since the story made it out, I think it wouldn't be of much use to just repeat myself on a new story. K5ers have the very nice habit of actually reading comments so, hopefully, my message will get out to anyone interested on jump-starting a music career. If things change though (either in the good or in the bad - *crossing fingers*) I promise I will let you people know on how we did it / blew it.

BTW, on rereading my post I realised I was coming through with rather disappointing signals for people like us. I wish my post was nothing more than blatant egocentric lies, but it's as true as it gets. The final line is:
Don't give up but don't give it all you got. It's a bet and you should know better than pointing all your fishes on one number :-)
After all music is supposed to be an internal need and overall fun, not a shortcut to "rich & famous" frontpages.
There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
[ Parent ]

When a 5 mod isn't enough (none / 0) (#37)
by pyramid termite on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 04:09:57 PM EST

Superb comment. Discouraging, but very imformative.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
So very confused (3.00 / 2) (#11)
by theantix on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 02:51:05 AM EST

'and don't try to tell me that Kid A, 1 million sold, had mass appeal'

I would say by the very definition, something that sells a million copies has mass appeal.  Unless you think that the million copies were fraudulently sold or that the people were somehow duped into purchasing unappealing music, you can safely say that it had mass appeal.

You sir, are worse than Hitler!

maybe not the same 'mass appeal' (none / 0) (#14)
by tuj on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 03:08:56 AM EST

What I meant was that Kid A is a fairly experimental record.  There were no singles or videos for the album, and much of it is electronic in nature.  Radiohead clearly was able to do whatever they wanted on the record; there was no record company exec mandating that they write something more radio/mtv-friendly (or if there was, they ignored him).  My point is that the record was a commercial success without compromising.  Yes, 1 million people bought the record, but the record wasn't made with the intention of trying to sell 1 million copies.  AFAIK, the band was shocked to learn it debuted at #1 on the charts.  

But I can understand what you're saying.  Sorry for any confusion.

[ Parent ]

Serious model? (3.00 / 1) (#20)
by j1mmy on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 08:47:24 AM EST

While most of the artists on mp3.com will never see a dime, there are a few that have done quite well and even gone mainstream. PPK is a perfect example. They released all their music for free on mp3.com at first, but were recently (in the last year) picked up by Oakenfold's label.

Internet Radio (3.00 / 3) (#22)
by chia on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 10:37:19 AM EST

You missed the most important aspect of "mp3.com" and "techno" models and that is Internet Radio.
Internet Radio makes these models very feasible, because one can be exposed to all this music just as you would in any other way, you dont have to actively seek it out (other than finding a station that you like, crap stuff is filtered out by the dj).
Somafm.com is a brilliant example of this, unfortuantely US legislation is shutting down these stations in the US.

Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. O Wilde
Not a Commodity? (4.00 / 1) (#23)
by marktaw on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 03:10:52 PM EST

This is a good article. Since it's a direct response to mine, I figured I'd reply to it and try to clear some things up.

The sensationalist title and attitude of the article are meant to provoke. The real message is hidden inside. It's actually about exactly what this article is about. How to make music without selling out.

No, that's wrong too, it's about pursuing your dreams in a meaningful and realistic way and not waiting for the lottery of some sort of Deus Ex Machina to lift you up out of your daily problems and deliver you to the Denoumont. (sp?)

I have no problem with musicians who do whatever it takes to make it, and are actually the hired guns of the Music Industry. They're making a living just like 90% of the population. Waiters, waitresses, gas station attendants... all providing a service in exchange for money. In this case the service is entertainment.

I also have no problem with the music industry itself, which, like all business is just trying to make money. Though I do dislike the fact that they mislead and disillusion large segments of the population, musicians in particular. But then, what can you do? Unless we go back to living in trees and hunting & gathering our food, little will change.

My real problem is with musicians who put their life on hold, have no safety net, and end up as waiters and waitresses at 35 with no retirement fund, lie to themselves about their chances of 'making it,' all because they think they can become rich and famous because they think they have have talent.

and generally my generation
wouldn't be caught dead working for the man
and generally I agree with them
trouble is you gotta have youself an alternate plan
-Ani Difranco
Then again, Natalie Goldberg, acclaimed author, says that more and more people are attending her writing workshops with the goal, not of being published writers, but of being teachers who write. 'Life knocks you down soon enough. Don't give up your dreams,' she advises them. Generally, I agree with her.

Don't give up your dreams, but don't wait for someone else to deliver them to you either.

Fellow dream follower (none / 0) (#32)
by anylulu on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 07:37:19 AM EST

I've been to your site, and I would be grateful if you would isit mine anylulu.
-- peace, love and anylulu http://www.anylulu.com
[ Parent ]
Disadvantages? (4.50 / 2) (#24)
by tzanger on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 05:25:30 PM EST

Disadvantages: Requires generous amounts of talent

That kind of threw me. I always thought it should be the talented ones who make it.

Look at Brittney (3.50 / 2) (#31)
by anylulu on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 07:26:17 AM EST

Sigh... if only talent were the key.
-- peace, love and anylulu http://www.anylulu.com
[ Parent ]
Your subject reminds me (4.00 / 1) (#33)
by damiam on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 10:26:58 AM EST

Of one of Google's more interesting pages.

[ Parent ]
giggle (1.00 / 1) (#42)
by anylulu on Wed Jul 17, 2002 at 06:57:23 AM EST

-- peace, love and anylulu http://www.anylulu.com
[ Parent ]
She has two talents (none / 0) (#41)
by xee on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 10:47:38 PM EST

But it's debated whether or not her talents are natural.

Proud to be a member.
[ Parent ]
punk? (2.00 / 1) (#25)
by turmeric on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 06:14:32 PM EST

ian mackaye? minor threat? all ages shows? straightedge? 'all ages' , the book? oh nevermind. also what about appalachian folk music? the blues? these didnt need radio. just needed people and inspiration

mp3.com is all but owned by the riaa (4.00 / 2) (#26)
by Prophet themusicgod1 on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 06:45:50 PM EST

i used to be an artist with them...but they move closer and closer to full ownership of your [the artists] music every day. it's honestly not their fault, before they were pillaged by the riaa they were a reasonable alternative...but they are now no longer.

the honest truth is if you want to *make money* as a musician, you are no longer a musician, but rather a businessperson...and should be respected as such. if you are in it for the music...all the better. if you are good, people will find a way (p2p) to transfer your music around. but don't ruin the art by selling out...and then complain that selling out isnt all it's chalked up to be...and that you cant write your own music...etc etc
"I suspect the best way to deal with procrastination is to put off the procrastination itself until later. I've been meaning to try this, but haven't gotten around to it yet."swr
How About Patronage? (4.00 / 1) (#28)
by MightyTribble on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 10:40:44 PM EST

It used to work just peachy, back in the day. ;-)

The system worked like this : an artist of repute was paid money by a patron to create a piece of art. For example, the 1812 Overture was a work of Patronage, as was much of Leonardo di Vinci's work.

Of course, the model would need some tweaking to take into account modern views of copyright and works for hire, but wouldn't it be neat if wealthy individuals (or music enthusiast venture capitalists - I'm thinking folks who like the local music scene, with $500 - $1000 each spend) chipped in cash to pay a good local band to produce a work. The patron might have a limited copyright to distribute recordings of the work for a period (say, seven years before publishing rights reverted to the artist), whereas the artist retains the right to live performance of the work.

This wouldn't take that much money to do - imagine if half a dozen moderately-prosperous twenty-somethings each chipped in $500 to commission a work from a local, up-and-coming band. That's enough to cut a CD using small studios and pay the band a chunk of cash (not a lot, but it still gets the band published for nothing more than the cost of their time and effort).

Well, I think it'd work. And if I knew any local bands that were any good, I'd chip in $500 to the Patronage Kitty. ;-)

Who are you talking to? (2.66 / 3) (#29)
by RobotSlave on Thu Jul 04, 2002 at 10:58:05 PM EST

Who, exactly, are you trying to address with this article? Everything you've written is obvious (painfully so, to those of us who have some understanding of the Music Business).

Did you write the piece because you want musicians to be more "artistic?" What do you mean by that? And do you have any right to demand it of them? What's wrong with seeking financial success, without worrying about "art?" Do you want to break up all the world's wedding and cover bands, and send the musicians home to make "art?"

Or is this more of an address to consumers, as your last paragraph suggests? Are you lecturing the twelve-year-old girls of the world? Do you want to take away their records and radios, and make them listen to abstruse electronic twiddlings instead? Are you saying that grown-ups are not allowed to enjoy both the White Stripes and Christina Aguilera?

There is a third possibility: you've written this piece for yourself, as a means of working through and affirming your own choices as a musician. That's all well and good, but I do wish you'd come up with a bit more in the way of original thinking before putting it out there for the crowd.

How about the Strokes and Christina Aguilera? (none / 0) (#34)
by Ricdude on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 11:17:30 AM EST

OT: Someone with way too much time on their hands combined the music of The Strokes' "Hard to Explain", and the vocals of Christina's "Genie in a Bottle". It's absolutely frightening how well they fit together. It's also been in my high rotation mp3 folder for a few weeks. Seek and ye too shall find it.

[ Parent ]
Oh, so you've heard of soundclash? (3.00 / 2) (#38)
by RobotSlave on Sat Jul 06, 2002 at 05:57:55 AM EST

How very avant-garde of you.

These novelty mixes usually succeed based on the perception of some fundamental difference between the songs or artists mashed together in the unauthorised remix.

Gee, it's almost as clever as a Saturday Night Live skit, don't you think?

The irony of the Storkes/Aguilera mash-up is that they are both very much the product of high-powered industry insider influence. The paper screen that separates their audiences is just one more triumph of their respective marketing departments.

[ Parent ]

We need to save music FROM the RIAA (1.00 / 1) (#35)
by mingofmongo on Fri Jul 05, 2002 at 03:12:47 PM EST

"What they don't seem to get is that the key to living the good life is to avoid that brass ring like the fucking plague."
--The Onion

We need to say more than just a subject line (none / 0) (#40)
by xee on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 10:37:03 PM EST

Proud to be a member.
[ Parent ]
What about gigs? (4.00 / 1) (#39)
by kaet on Sat Jul 06, 2002 at 07:59:04 AM EST

I consider the primary musical experience attending concerts (aka gigs). Compact Discs and other recordings are a reflection of a performance. Even for bands which cannot perform their musicainship on stage (for exmaple, electronic bands) the experience is much closer to a (sometimes riotous, usually engaged, always emotional) cinema audience, than to home listening which is closer to TV, whereas truely performed music is much closer to (live) theatre. This is where engaged popular theatre is living, lamented by proponents of the rabble and theatrical pits: the surge and the swell, the sensual smells of fags and booze, the murmurs and the roars. And like Elizabethan theatre it varies between the banal and the inspired. It helps that I don't like the kind of bands who play stadia or a large club; a rather disengaged experience. I've many recordings, mainly of bands I have seen live, all of bands I would like to see live. Manytimes I buy the CD on the way out of the performance. Often I'll buy more of the band's than I could experience live. Often I buy a T-shirt, though I have enough, to support the band. Wearing a band t-shirt is like wearing a chairty support ribbon. Many of these bands are unsigned, with short CD runs sold through fan networks and at live performances. But for me live performance, even if that involves (as at one "Orb" (electronic music) gig) putting on your tape and sitting on the stage playing chess in comfy arm chairs. But for me, it's live performance that's the essence of music, if not of the music industry. In the same way that Blockbuster might be the heart of the theatrical performance industry, but the National Theatre is the heart of (at least,British) theatrical performance.

Depends on what sort of music... (none / 0) (#43)
by bigbtommy on Sun Aug 25, 2002 at 12:30:00 PM EST

I agree - live performances rule and are an important medium to perform through, but records are used every day by people in their cars, and often giving someone a record of something may prompt their interest.

It is a symbiotic circle - CD's and records, through their easy distribution (think 'P2P' or 'Viral' marketing) draw people in to the music, and hence bring them to concerts. At the concerts, they get more interested in artists, and give other people the CD's. They are equivalent to business cards.

But with a lot of electronic music, live performances (other than DJ sets) becomes difficult if not impossible. I know a lot of artists are getting closer to gig nirvana (Underworld's DVD is a fine example... as is Faithless' Glastonbury performance this year), but still it will probably never compete with rock and pop in terms of concert-ability.

Still, all three methods are good, and with the Internet, we need to build up these methods to be powerful alternative marketing streams to help undermine the power vested in organisations like the RIAA etc...
-- bbCity.co.uk - When I see kids, I speed up
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Music as Art, Not a Commodity: Three Models | 43 comments (25 topical, 18 editorial, 0 hidden)
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