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Steve Albini's 'In Utero' mics going up for sale... Dynamic Microphones
Old 2nd April 2019
  #91
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elambo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
Yeah, that's too bad for him, considering he bought them at ultra-asinine price.
It's tough to feel sorry for him since he nearly tripled the price when he decided to flip them (which he did almost immediately), and as far as I know his asking price is still way above what he paid. There were others who'd have paid a bit more than he did, but they got scared away long ago. It wasn't a wise move.
Old 2nd April 2019
  #92
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elambo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
Seriously? He was uncomfortable using them. That sound a bit strange. The mics used to record the Beatles greatest songs were used again. And again.

Apparently, neither Grohl nor Novoselic were interested in possessing these holy artifacts. But to each their own. I guess everything and anything is worth exactly what someone is willing to pay for it.
They were used on a fvck-ton of sessions after Nirvana. I saw at least one last time I was there (quite a few years ago). He and his staff weren't shy about tossing them into the mix. And his choice to sell them wasn't about profiteering. By last count, Steve still owns zero yachts and few Prada shoes.
Old 3rd April 2019
  #93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
Yeah, He felt that the mics did, in fact, increase in value and became "artifacts" and were no longer the tools they were before the picture was published. I've been around Steve enough times to say that he believes this, and it wasn't just a cash grab.
Sure, I suppose he might believe it. I can't help that it feels a touch disingenuous.

Have to wonder why didn't he donate them to R&R HOF, where tens of thousands of people every year could view and appreciate these important "artifacts" of Rock History?

Sorry... I'm a natural born cynical one.
Old 3rd April 2019
  #94
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Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
Sure, I suppose he might believe it. I can't help that it feels a touch disingenuous.

Have to wonder why didn't he donate them to R&R HOF, where tens of thousands of people every year could view and appreciate these important "artifacts" of Rock History?

Sorry... I'm a natural born cynical one.
Steve says what he means and means what he says.

At least one of the mics was sole to someone who does a traveling Nirvana exhibit. I can't question anyone's financial decisions. I would assume the money made went back into Electrical.
Old 3rd April 2019
  #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
I can't help that it feels a touch disingenuous.
But just a touch. Full-on disingenuous would be a photo with 9 mics in it. :-)
Old 3rd April 2019
  #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
But just a touch. Full-on disingenuous would be a photo with 9 mics in it. :-)
I often downplay and qualify my statements regarding my opinions.

Too bad that he couldn't identify the 421. He's got an errant iconic mic floating around the studio somewhere. History is slightly diminished every time it's used on some pedestrian neo-punk band. Then again, if a tree falls...
Old 3rd April 2019
  #97
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Sigma's Avatar
He's got a bk11 up for 1900 fresh ribbon..good price
Old 3rd April 2019
  #98
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ionian's Avatar
The irony about the d o u c h e trying to gouge with reselling the mics, is that the seller is located in Aberdeen, UK. Aberdeen, WA was the hometown of Kurt Cobain.

It'd be a cool fact if not for what the guitar store reselling them is trying to pull.
Old 4th April 2019
  #99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spookbuk View Post
What is your logic?

Because he says piracy and streaming doesn't steal anything - they are digital - he has to donate a physical microphone from his studio?

Or he can't recognize an opportunity to make a good sale?

The fact that he is selling, in itself, doesn't say "I don't care about these microphones."?

He thought somebody would pay good money for those, so he can't use them anymore.

Normal.

Nothing to be criticized about, and nothing to correct Steve Albini about streaming and piracy on the internet.

You guys make no sense.
If you read the entire 80-something page thread on that, it does make sense.

As someone said upthread, Albini has a tendency to be rather obnoxious about his opinions regarding the state of the recording industry. Artists, studios, etc. have been making less and less money and struggling more and more for about two decades now, and Albini loves to do his end zone dance and talk about how it's the greatest thing in the world that all of this has happened and death to major labels and that piracy isn't really piracy and streaming is awesome and that HIS band and studio are doing just fine.

(And this is the part where it gets really hypocritical and where the logic makes perfect sense)...It is pointed out to him that the reason his band and studio are doing just fine now is because he rose to notoriety during a time in the business when there was no streaming or piracy and the major label system exposed his name to millions of people. Nirvana. The Pixies. PJ Harvey. The Breeders. Etc. Etc.

The point being, his success is directly related to the very system that he mocks and celebrates the death of while being willfully oblivious to how it benefitted him and continues to benefit him, and while criticizing everyone else who bemoans not having those advantages today.

This microphone sale is part of that hypocrisy.

Exactly who has he produced since about 2000 that he could sell the microphones from their sessions for at a ridiculously inflated price?

Nobody, because it doesn't work that way anymore.

Last edited by drpeacock; 4th April 2019 at 04:59 PM..
Old 4th April 2019
  #100
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elambo's Avatar
What a crock of horsesh!t! You're reaching, but even from that soapbox still not grasping anything. His "success" is directly related to his talent as an engineer and producer, a basic equation. He's not abusing the system financially, in fact he's refusing to accept the monies he is due, money nearly every other engineer/producer would have taken with a smile. The system needs more artisans like him, but instead he's being doused (well, by some) over a handpicked occurrence which they can't put in place. THAT is just one example of what's truly wrong with this business, why it's imploding, and why we're in another creative slum and only heading toward a deeper one. But, yes, please tell us more about how Albini's brain works.
Old 4th April 2019
  #101
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kennybro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo View Post
What a crock of horsesh!t! You're reaching, but even from that soapbox still not grasping anything. His "success" is directly related to his talent as an engineer and producer, a basic equation. He's not abusing the system financially, in fact he's refusing to accept the monies he is due, money nearly every other engineer/producer would have taken with a smile. The system needs more artisans like him, but instead he's being doused (well, by some) over a handpicked occurrence which they can't put in place. THAT is just one example of what's truly wrong with this business, why it's imploding, and why we're in another creative slum and only heading toward a deeper one. But, yes, please tell us more about how Albini's brain works.
In fact, there doesn't seem to be any shortage of "knowing how his brain works" here. I disagree that the business in imploding, and we're in a creative slum (slump?) headed toward a deeper one. And I feel he would also disagree with that. His POV is that there has never been a better time for an artist to flourish.

I think Albini is a fine engineer, and he's got a "sound" that he offers. Many here would love to have his career, and his skills. But I believe that first and foremost, he considers his reputation and skills to be products that he can sell to a very specifically identified demographic/psychographic. He's something of a genius at marketing, because he created something significant, and more importantly, his own, out of a single, massive watershed musical moment in which he had the amazing great fortune to have been involved. He has made the most of that moment.

Business acumen is the #1 skill required to open and sustain a studio, especially in this era of basement and bedroom recording. By applying expert business skills, Albini has nurtured a core base of like-minded artists who revere his past accomplishments. His day rate is $700 for one reason... he understands his target market's demographics and psychographics; i.e. how much they have and how much they are willing to pay to be associated with the guy who engineered Nirvana. He probably would have been successful in anything he did, because he would have applied those same skills. In an interview, he states... (I quote)

"It's totally conceivable to run a band as a small business now, and that's a new and radical development. Anybody complaining about the new paradigm has simply refused to take advantage of it, and for a street-level musician the change in the industry has been fantastic."

He takes advantage of it, for sure. I think his highly developed business savvy might rub some wrong, because the approach requires some level marketing BS and insincere rhetoric in order to function; to grow and sustain this environment he has created. Yet, he must truly love music production, because I suspect that could have taken that business acumen in another direction, and amassed far more than the amount the "all knowing internet god" claims is his net worth. Kudos to him for that. On fact, he makes a considerable amount playing poker these days.

Painting him as either a scammer or a god is wrong. He's just a guy who's had some good fortune, is a very competent engineer, and is most of all, an extremely accomplished businessman. I guess we should all be so skilled at leveraging luck and opportunity. It knocked, he answered, and he invited it in to stay.
Old 7th April 2019
  #102
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo View Post
What a crock of horsesh!t! You're reaching, but even from that soapbox still not grasping anything. His "success" is directly related to his talent as an engineer and producer, a basic equation. He's not abusing the system financially, in fact he's refusing to accept the monies he is due, money nearly every other engineer/producer would have taken with a smile. The system needs more artisans like him, but instead he's being doused (well, by some) over a handpicked occurrence which they can't put in place. THAT is just one example of what's truly wrong with this business, why it's imploding, and why we're in another creative slum and only heading toward a deeper one. But, yes, please tell us more about how Albini's brain works.
I believe I may have misstated. I wasn't attempting to make a personal argument so much as reporting the content of the thread that was referenced for context so that the poster to whom I was replying would understand the references to it.

And I wasn't playing the amazing Kreskin and attempting to read minds. Those were the things he typed himself on the thread.

And as I posted upthread, it is my personal opinion that there is more to like about Albini and what he does than there is to dislike.

However, I can understand Crisso's original remark in context and I don't think it is unreasonable. I don't see how anyone can deny that Albini benefitted from the music machine he constantly derides. His facility and equipment stable (which is impressive and expensive) was bought and paid for during that time period, and that music machine is what made him a household name.

And again, from his own mouth, he will tell you that he doesn't do anything special. In more than one interview I've heard him say that his recording techniques are simply things he's read about or saw others do as standard recording techniques.

He's a straight shooter (about most things) and appears to be a hard worker and by every account I have ever seen he runs an immaculate facility and that has a lot to do with his success. He also happened to be in the right place at the right time, and that also has had a lot to do with his success.

The decisions he made back in the 1980s just happened to end up dovetailing with events in the 2000s (that no one could have foreseen back then) to result in a situation in which his model is the only one left standing. Good for him, but that was blind luck, and it's curious to me why someone would refuse to admit that.

The reasons his band refused to sign with a record label are not the reasons bands don't do it today. His music just happened to fit into a genre in which low budget guerrilla marketing tactics worked and were the norm and the budgets necessary to make the records that his fans would buy were attainable using that model.

And yeah, he refused money, because it was more valuable to him to retain street cred. That was his brand and he was nurturing the brand.

And now that I've typed this, I realize that's still what he's doing in making the statements he has made regarding the state of the industry—nurturing the brand. I guess he can't acknowledge the personal benefits he gained from the old music machine without damaging the brand.

So, good for him.

I'm not sure why you can't acknowledge them, though. That's Albini's brand, not yours.
Old 7th April 2019
  #103
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
In fact, there doesn't seem to be any shortage of "knowing how his brain works" here. I disagree that the business in imploding, and we're in a creative slum (slump?) headed toward a deeper one. And I feel he would also disagree with that. His POV is that there has never been a better time for an artist to flourish.

I think Albini is a fine engineer, and he's got a "sound" that he offers. Many here would love to have his career, and his skills. But I believe that first and foremost, he considers his reputation and skills to be products that he can sell to a very specifically identified demographic/psychographic. He's something of a genius at marketing, because he created something significant, and more importantly, his own, out of a single, massive watershed musical moment in which he had the amazing great fortune to have been involved. He has made the most of that moment.

Business acumen is the #1 skill required to open and sustain a studio, especially in this era of basement and bedroom recording. By applying expert business skills, Albini has nurtured a core base of like-minded artists who revere his past accomplishments. His day rate is $700 for one reason... he understands his target market's demographics and psychographics; i.e. how much they have and how much they are willing to pay to be associated with the guy who engineered Nirvana. He probably would have been successful in anything he did, because he would have applied those same skills. In an interview, he states... (I quote)

"It's totally conceivable to run a band as a small business now, and that's a new and radical development. Anybody complaining about the new paradigm has simply refused to take advantage of it, and for a street-level musician the change in the industry has been fantastic."

He takes advantage of it, for sure. I think his highly developed business savvy might rub some wrong, because the approach requires some level marketing BS and insincere rhetoric in order to function; to grow and sustain this environment he has created. Yet, he must truly love music production, because I suspect that could have taken that business acumen in another direction, and amassed far more than the amount the "all knowing internet god" claims is his net worth. Kudos to him for that. On fact, he makes a considerable amount playing poker these days.

Painting him as either a scammer or a god is wrong. He's just a guy who's had some good fortune, is a very competent engineer, and is most of all, an extremely accomplished businessman. I guess we should all be so skilled at leveraging luck and opportunity. It knocked, he answered, and he invited it in to stay.
I typed my response above before reading your post, but it looks like we came to the same conclusion.
Old 7th April 2019
  #104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drpeacock View Post
As someone said upthread, Albini has a tendency to be rather obnoxious about his opinions regarding the state of the recording industry. Artists, studios, etc. have been making less and less money and struggling more and more for about two decades now, and Albini loves to do his end zone dance and talk about how it's the greatest thing in the world that all of this has happened and death to major labels and that piracy isn't really piracy and streaming is awesome and that HIS band and studio are doing just fine.
God forbid an industry that thrives off exploiting artists for profit is dying.

I can't wait for record labels to be completely obsolete. I say that as an artist and as an engineer.
Old 7th April 2019
  #105
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ionian's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pavelski2112 View Post
God forbid an industry that thrives off exploiting artists for profit is dying.

I can't wait for record labels to be completely obsolete. I say that as an artist and as an engineer.

Old 7th April 2019
  #106
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pavelski2112 View Post
God forbid an industry that thrives off exploiting artists for profit is dying.

I can't wait for record labels to be completely obsolete. I say that as an artist and as an engineer.
Balderdash.

Artists wish they had access to the deals they got back in the 70s and 80s and 90s. That will be looked upon as the Golden Age for artists.

With the possible exception of niche acts with a rabid core base but limited widespread appeal. 90% of artists, let's say.

And I'd say that we've gotten far enough away from that model that no artist or engineer these days need bother with a record label. If you're dealing with record labels now, you're doing it of your own free will, because it is by no means still the only game in town.

"For profit?"

A record label is a business. Do you know what the purpose of a business is?
Old 6 days ago
  #107
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elambo's Avatar
May 11th update from Reverb: Original price of $40,427 has just been slashed to $15,497.

Why on earth did this seller think that he/she could sell it for more than Steve Albini could? How many months has this sat, unsold, and now it's approaching the price he/she originally paid for it... Tough luck, Icarus!
Old 5 days ago
  #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo View Post

Why on earth did this seller think that he/she could sell it for more than Steve Albini could?
Who knows?

Some people have very strange ideas about commerce. Just look at this thread.

Heck, just listen to Steve Albini himself tell people that it's awesome that people engage in widespread theft of intellectual property, and see how many people buy that line. A lot do.

Only I guess it's not really intellectual property, is it? No one is stealing the song idea, they are stealing the recording of the song.

I often wonder why it doesn't occur to people that if you go to Electrical Audio and make a recording, you (the band) and Albini are both working to make that recording. He's setting up the microphones and pressing play on the tape machine and crafting mixes, and you are playing and singing and creating source material for him to record. You both are laboring on the record. Heck, you might even be part of the mixing process with your own two hands (I don't know if Albini uses automation or not).

But he expects to get paid when he gives you a copy of the recording you both made. Then turns around and says you shouldn't complain and instead should be happy when people take that same recording from you without paying you anything.

He should get paid for his labor and investment in creating that recording, you shouldn't.

It's nonsensical. But it somehow makes sense to lots of people.

I would like to see an interview with Steve after some band has come through Electrical Audio, made a recording, and then somehow gotten the master files without Steve getting compensated for it (they wrote him a rubber check, they faked a money order, they gave him some good counterfeit cash, they had a friend who interned there who stole the files, something).

Something tells me that such a scenario would be very different in his mind.

And all of that may have sounded like a digression, but it's not. My point is that the viewpoint above makes no less sense to me than someone who thinks he can buy some "historic" microphones publicly from Steve Albini and then turn around and sell them for much more than Albini got for them. Yet it's a very popular viewpoint.

So who knows why people think the crazy things they think?

Last edited by drpeacock; 5 days ago at 12:28 PM..
Old 5 days ago
  #109
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The auction has 8,700 views and 88 watchers, but only 7 bids. I wonder if anyone even came close to getting the seller to let it go.
Old 5 days ago
  #110
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
Too bad that he couldn't identify the 421.
The cynic in me suspects that he shot out the three mics and only used one. And made up the slightly farfetched story later so he could unload all of them.

"Hey, I just paid five figures for the actual mic that might be one-third of the sound of a Nirvana vocal!"
Old 5 days ago
  #111
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
The cynic in me suspects that he shot out the three mics and only used one. And made up the slightly farfetched story later so he could unload all of them.

"Hey, I just paid five figures for the actual mic that might be one-third of the sound of a Nirvana vocal!"
He most certainly is a consummate businessman, not afraid of a little spin.
Old 5 days ago
  #112
Gear Head
I'm not sure why Steve Albini draws so much slagging or pigeonholing, but here's a playlist worth shuffling. Around 10 years' of his work. https://itunes.apple.com/us/playlist....u-mJMKEtG4bDJ
Old 5 days ago
  #113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hozay View Post
I'm not sure why Steve Albini draws so much slagging or pigeonholing, but here's a playlist worth shuffling. Around 10 years' of his work. https://itunes.apple.com/us/playlist....u-mJMKEtG4bDJ
I love Roman Polanski's films, even if I'm not entirely down with corn-holing children.
Old 5 days ago
  #114
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elambo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I love Roman Polanski's films, even if I'm not entirely down with corn-holing children.
A pedophile reference in an Albini thread??? Why bring nukes to a knife fight?
Old 5 days ago
  #115
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kennybro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hozay View Post
I'm not sure why Steve Albini draws so much slagging or pigeonholing, but here's a playlist worth shuffling. Around 10 years' of his work. https://itunes.apple.com/us/playlist....u-mJMKEtG4bDJ
It's nothing to do with his work catalog. I think he's a smart businessman, but I think he's transparently disingenuous in some of the things he does to promote himself and bring in work. I don't think that everyone can make it schlepping their recordings on the internet. I think it's a vast ocean of indifference. I don't think that the internet has brought an age of opportunity and democracy. The vast, mass music business is still tightly controlled by 2 or 3 large corporation. At times, he seems like someone who inherited wealth, touring with a wealth-building motivational speech.

That said, he's a very good businessman, and certainly one of the few who actually can prosper from the internet promotion and distribution age. He's proven that.
Old 4 days ago
  #116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hozay View Post
I'm not sure why Steve Albini draws so much slagging or pigeonholing, but here's a playlist worth shuffling. Around 10 years' of his work. https://itunes.apple.com/us/playlist....u-mJMKEtG4bDJ
Because he's opinionated and intentionally vocal about his opinions, especially the ones that he knows will be controversial.

That happens to anybody who fits that profile. Which is the point. It's why he does it.
Old 4 days ago
  #117
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
It's nothing to do with his work catalog. I think he's a smart businessman, but I think he's transparently disingenuous in some of the things he does to promote himself and bring in work.
Agreed, thus my points.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
I don't think that the internet has brought an age of opportunity and democracy.
Here's where I think a scalpel is needed to cut through the fine lines between the things he says that are true vs his hype. (And that's the thing...I agree with probably over 90% of what the guy has to say.)

The latest interview I have seen online has him pointing to some bands that he has worked with who found a niche market in some far away obscure country and went there to play some shows and were welcomed and treated like the Beatles coming to America. And his point was that something like that would never have been possible without the internet and music being available to anyone anywhere in the world.

Which is absolutely correct. And yet...

1. That has absolutely nothing to do with paying for recordings. The same thing could have happened with that band while every recording that went out was bought and paid for. I'm not sure whether by Albini's design or the interviewer's, but the way that part of the interview was cut, that point was very clearly conflated with what he'd said earlier about no one should get paid for recorded music (except himself as an engineer—yeah, he didn't say that in the interview, but his personal engineering fee is on his EA website for sure.) That one necessitates the other, when they really don't have anything to do with each other.

2. He also makes the claim that the example band is one of "thousands of bands" who have been able to do something similar. I don't believe that for one white hot second. I know enough people in bands that if that sort of thing were happening on that scale, I would have heard about someone's band who had been able to do something similar. I'd believe "dozens of bands." I might even believe "a couple hundred bands." I do not believe "thousands of bands" have had anything similar to that example happen to them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
At times, he seems like someone who inherited wealth, touring with a wealth-building motivational speech.
I'd say that's a good analogy. Only it's even more contradictory than that. I'd say it's like a motivational speaker on building wealth who teaches his customers that it's not o.k. to charge people for recorded lectures, only live seminars, while offering a service to record them giving lectures so that they can give them away as loss leaders to book live seminars. Which he charges for, of course.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
That said, he's a very good businessman, and certainly one of the few who actually can prosper from the internet promotion and distribution age. He's proven that.
Sure. That's the thing. His model didn't change. His bands have always been niche acts and he's always worked with niche acts, with a few notable exceptions like Nirvana. Now that the only way the model works is by chasing niche audiences, he's king of the world. He's a career survivalist after the apocalypse.

Last edited by drpeacock; 4 days ago at 04:10 AM..
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