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"Records" vs. "Recordings"
Old 7th December 2019
  #1
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

"Records" vs. "Recordings"

Seems like the gap is getting wider and wider all the time between the “1%,” the artists with major-label backing and radio play and promotion and touring, and the 99% comprising everyone else.

Me being among the 99%, and being 99% employed by them, I’m seeing a strong trend away from attempting to do what the 1% are doing, which is making radio "records." Or making demos to prove that they deserve to have a label fund a radio record.

They’re starting to realize that making “recordings” that represent what the crowd just heard at your gig is what people want and expect when they plop down that five or ten at the merch table.

It’s more honest and real, and I like it.
Old 7th December 2019
  #2
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Slug1's Avatar
A lot of truth and reality in your post. Well said.
Old 7th December 2019
  #3
The listeners are starting to gravitate toward these artists also (the 99%). They're realizing that for the cost of the 1%'s live concert ticket, they can see a 99%er's show, but their cd, a t-shirt, and a beer.
Old 7th December 2019
  #4
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
“recordings” that represent what the crowd just heard at your gig
Bands that I have been in have always voted against that. The audience just heard us at our gig and if they want to hear us again like that, they can come back next month.

I always felt anything you sell at the gig should be "value added" to some degree.

A friend of mine got involved in franchise where there was a machine that could speed-load a number of USB sticks at the same time. The idea was to record the concert off the board, and have the first 40 sticks at the merch table by the time people had put on their coats and walked to the back. By the time the first 40 were sold, the next batch was ready. Unsold sticks could be wiped and repurposed for tomorrow's show.

But as a audience member, I still would rather hear a band's studio effort, than a "taper" version of the concert I was just at.

In any case, it not just the idea of "records" that is becoming a quaint antiquity, the whole idea of "bands" and "gigs" are also disappearing. A fair amount of my Rock, Pop and Hip Hop traffic these days is artists who for one reason or another do not have a band and never ever gig.
Old 7th December 2019
  #5
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Funny Cat's Avatar
Very interesting thread premise. Will be good to see what others think about it and if there seems to be a consensus amongst working outfits.

It’s actually quite disheartening if I’m being honest. The quality of the musicians I’m getting has been going down. It’s like the the bar is lowered because they will never sell a million copies so let’s just have fun, drink beer, smoke a blunt and chat with the girls. I’m generalizing of course.

This past year I’ve been focused on VO and Audio narrations, more spoken word performances. The publishing houses and the directors still have very high standards and it’s exciting to work under that type of pressure.

I know there are really amazingly talented and disciplined musicians out there. It’s just that like you said they only represent a small percentage of the scene.
Old 7th December 2019
  #6
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I’ve decided that a better strategy is to record the performance, then wait forty-plus years to release it for anyone left alive who cares.

I found a surprising tape recently that was mislabeled forty years ago and has moved around with me since. It is the best hippie bar band I was ever in, and sounds very good for a live amateur recording (although I was the amateur, and not embarrassingly inept from my current perspective).
But what in the world could I do with such a recording? It’s about 40% original and the rest a cross-genre collection of covers.
Old 7th December 2019
  #7
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Slug1's Avatar
I read his post differently. I didn’t read it as “99%’ers” trying to record their live gigs to sell at concerts, but that they are making studio “recordings” to sell at their concert gigs rather than going into the studio to make a “1%’er” type “record” that they are trying to shop to labels to become a “1%’er”. That’s how I read it. And I would agree with that.
Old 7th December 2019
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slug1 View Post
I read his post differently. I didn’t read it as “99%’ers” trying to record their live gigs to sell at concerts, but that they are making studio “recordings” to sell at their concert gigs rather than going into the studio to make a “1%’er” type “record” that they are trying to shop to labels to become a “1%’er”. That’s how I read it. And I would agree with that.
The way that I interpreted this was that the 99% aren't spending a ton of time over dubbing and creating a smoke and mirrors project. Rather, they are recording what they can recreate live. Kind of a minimalist approach. Maybe i'm misunderstanding the OP's post. I think that we're going to see a heavy swing back toward grass roots.
Old 7th December 2019
  #9
I don't suppose (if I were the supposin' type) I've ever made a "record" for anyone, but I did a pretty intriguing video for a classical cello quartet, with Sam Waterston interjecting readings from an ultra-modern translation of the Ecclesiastes, and in the spirit of Brent's original post [the way alot of projects these days are financed with the idea of promoting the performance, rather than a strictly money-making venture on its own terms] he kept coming back to the same line:

"ALL IS VANITY!"
Old 7th December 2019
  #10
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kennybro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slug1 View Post
I read his post differently. I didn’t read it as “99%’ers” trying to record their live gigs to sell at concerts, but that they are making studio “recordings” to sell at their concert gigs rather than going into the studio to make a “1%’er” type “record” that they are trying to shop to labels to become a “1%’er”. That’s how I read it. And I would agree with that.
Me too. Honest representation of the artist.

Seems that there have been, for decades, many bands that have done this. Stooges, MC5, Velvet Underground, etc... Early Police records were clock in, record, clock out. Miles didn't have the stomach, or offer the budget for any Fleetwood Mac shenanigans. Pearl Jam has always sounded like a live band to me, and pre click track ZZ Top has a raw, live vibe.

I love "underproduction," and these have always been the artists to which I've been attracted through the years.

On a different level, Sinatra/Riddle sessions are very WYSIWYG. And those Django Hot Club recordings... that kind of stuff has this vibe. Real.
Old 7th December 2019
  #11
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Slug1's Avatar
I think back to Prince and The Time during the Minneapolis haydays. Although they made records, their studio recordings captured who they were when you saw them in concert. The emotion and musicality was captured in their records in such a way that you could see the concert and the stage performance. They were of course 1%ers, but it’s a similar sort of concept. This is a great discussion. Thanks for staring this Brent.
Old 7th December 2019
  #12
Gear Maniac
I think there is a general shift away from the highly "produced" sound of the last ten years, with all the 80s nostalgia and all that. I put produced in quotation marks, because music in the 90s was very produced as well, of course, but it seemed to focus more on some sort of percieved authenticity. Really the esthetics seems to shift from decade to decade between realism and the opposite (what would be a good word for it?) in pop music. I think there's a real change in forward thinking song-based music from having a ton of tracks being played from Ableton in shows and all that, to a more people playing to together in a room aestethic. Which will be interesting for us producer types. What will be our role going forward? Capturing more honest room tones with less flash?

(realizing that this post is more than a little rambly, but this stuff has been on my mind lately)
Old 8th December 2019
  #13
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Lance Lawson's Avatar
 

In pop/rock the radio records became AM and the album cuts became FM. It was at one time very easy to find either or. But the progressiveness that bloomed in the 60's through the early 80's is greatly diminished. But the "recordings" today are simply the FM mindset of yesterday. Not much has changed. Commercial vs Art.
Old 8th December 2019
  #14
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Liquidaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
In any case, it not just the idea of "records" that is becoming a quaint antiquity, the whole idea of "bands" and "gigs" are also disappearing. A fair amount of my Rock, Pop and Hip Hop traffic these days is artists who for one reason or another do not have a band and never ever gig.
I don't know but to me this is the epitome of the sound of a radio record, you know the AOR stuff back then, even if it's freaking Journey:



That's the sound we will never ever be able to reproduce again, something timeless about it. Sad.

MAN I wish I was a radio broadcaster back then in some remote dusty shack in the desert coming at you live. You know a beat up RE20 in front of me, Urei stuff, fly screen door and a porch. Coffee mugs all over the place, old Duster my loyal four-legged friend chilling out to the airwaves.
Old 8th December 2019
  #15
What seems to have been lost since the internet and streaming is the reality - which is a record is a piece of art in it's own right.
I don't get that a live show should be exactly like a record, or that a record should be exactly like our live show. They are two separate performances.
It's like the difference between a Hollywood movie and a Broadway play.
If it's an artistic decision to document songs as if they are being played live - that's fine
But a lot of classic albums from the past were created as albums, never created as a recorded experience of a live band.
Like Pet Sounds, Sgt Pepper, most of Kraftwerk's output etc, etc...
For me it has zero to do with chasing labels and everything to do with what is possible playing live, and what is possible in the studio.
Old 8th December 2019
  #16
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gravyface's Avatar
Any movement that restores some authenticity to the masses... I'm all for.
Old 8th December 2019
  #17
What about the huge percentage of music lovers that don't have any desire to subject themselves to sticky-floored piss-ridden dive bars with horrid sound or pay ~$200 for a concert in a large venue with not much better sound? Going out to "see your favorite band live" is not really a thing around here anyways for myself and many I know (Phoenix-metro, a relatively large city in the US). I've been dragged to a few live performances recently at all levels, and never even thought about purchasing audio, except for Steve Gadd.... but he's been around forever and his band played at a small high end theater (Musical Instrument Museum) with very good sound and great seating. Maybe the scene is different elsewhere but what I see around here for entertainment choice overwhelmingly is being glued to Netflix and the like (non-music), even for "music lovers." Purchasing "what they just heard live" seems to be a very rare occurrence.
Old 8th December 2019
  #18
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Funny Cat's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by liv4ree View Post
The way that I interpreted this was that the 99% aren't spending a ton of time over dubbing and creating a smoke and mirrors project. Rather, they are recording what they can recreate live. Kind of a minimalist approach. Maybe i'm misunderstanding the OP's post. I think that we're going to see a heavy swing back toward grass roots.


"Heavy swing back towards grass roots" is absolutely fine by me.

As long as the band is well rehearsed and can play the parts!
Old 8th December 2019
  #19
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

If you're the kind of artist I'm talking about, which is to say the kind I mostly deal with...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aural Endeavors View Post
What about the huge percentage of music lovers that don't have any desire to subject themselves to sticky-floored piss-ridden dive bars with horrid sound, or pay ~$200 for a concert in a large venue with not much better sound?
... they're not at your merch table to begin with.

Me, personally, there's something about a sticky-floored, piss-ridden dive bar that feels like home. But I tend toward the ones where the sound is at least okay.
Old 8th December 2019
  #20
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Pindrive's Avatar
Gotta find a way to sell something that might turn a profit. Not a bad idea, if it works.
Old 8th December 2019
  #21
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lobsterinn's Avatar
Interesting thread. It must be really genre-specific.

I can speak to the indie-rock/pop world I spend most of my time, and I see it tending the other direction still, where people are playing along with tracks and lots of laptops/headphones on stage. Basically trying to recreate the record in a live setting, rather than the other way around. The record comes first because everyone has a DAW and soft-synths, etc. where they get attached to an aesthetic.

At the same time there’s always been an undercurrent of the more organic bands and artists. I usually enjoy recording these more, so I hope to see the pendulum swing. Perhaps what you’re seeing is the start of that.

I will add that as a fan I’m disappointed when the live show and record are too similar. I want to hear things a bit stripped down and messy live.
Old 8th December 2019
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gravyface View Post
Any movement that restores some authenticity to the masses... I'm all for.

yes, authenticity is the most important thing.....




... once you can fake that, you've got it made.
Old 8th December 2019
  #23
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Slug1's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aural Endeavors View Post
What about the huge percentage of music lovers that don't have any desire to subject themselves to sticky-floored piss-ridden dive bars with horrid sound or pay ~$200 for a concert in a large venue with not much better sound? Going out to "see your favorite band live" is not really a thing around here anyways for myself and many I know (Phoenix-metro, a relatively large city in the US). I've been dragged to a few live performances recently at all levels, and never even thought about purchasing audio, except for Steve Gadd.... but he's been around forever and his band played at a small high end theater (Musical Instrument Museum) with very good sound and great seating. Maybe the scene is different elsewhere but what I see around here for entertainment choice overwhelmingly is being glued to Netflix and the like (non-music), even for "music lovers." Purchasing "what they just heard live" seems to be a very rare occurrence.
I lived in Greater Phoenix (East valley) for 15 years. Still have a townhouse there. I live in LA county now. But I can attest that for music Phx is definitely not a cultural hub. It’s the Scottsdale nightclub/restaurant scene. No real music culture at all. I’ll be honest though. I don’t remember too many “Floor-piss ridden dive bars”, especially for live music. I do know about the floor-vomit ridden bars around Tempe where all of the college students hang out. Again, not really a cultural hub!!
Old 8th December 2019
  #24
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clump's Avatar
 

Like it or not "Sticky-floored, piss-ridden dive bars with horrid sound" are the birth places of most musical legends.
Old 8th December 2019
  #25
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Laguna Beach's infamous dive bar, is The Sandpiper AKA The Dirty Bird. Just about every Thursday for over 20+ years....
World Anthem, the (local legend) Reggae band has played there. Might see a couple of the guys tonight.

Will mention the Live Album/Sandpiper idea to them, if I see them.
Chris
Old 8th December 2019
  #26
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
Will mention the Live Album/Sandpiper idea to them, if I see them.
Chris
While that's a cool idea, it's not really what I was talking about.

As a touchpoint everyone can relate to, imagine wandering into a bar and there's this unknown guy named McCartney playing a song called "Long and Winding Road." It's a nice song, and he's charming, and he does this cute thing where he tilts his head like a curious dog and arches one eyebrow, so as a souvenir of the occasion you buy a CD at his merch table and pop it in on the drive home. Come to find out it's got a symphony orchestra on it, with a gaggle of serious-sounding lady singers piled on top. Chances are, you've thrown it out the window by the time you pull into the driveway.

But someone thought that if they didn't do it, that "recording" wouldn't have enough value-added to be considered a "record." And it certainly wouldn't get played on the radio.

That's what I'm talking about.
Old 8th December 2019
  #27
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Great point.

On the other hand...
There was a fine local performer, who would sing songs in the "Neil Diamond" style.
Picked up his CD, and it was WAY over the top! So bad/campy it was great.

Guess it was the exception that proves the rule.
Chris
Old 9th December 2019
  #28
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I think it proves the rule by not being an exception.
Old 9th December 2019
  #29
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True. The absence of something exceptional can be nothing. The absence of nothing exceptional is something.
Chris
Old 9th December 2019
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
True. The absence of something exceptional can be nothing. The absence of nothing exceptional is something.
Chris
Sorry, I’m not fluent in Yodaspeak.
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