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Is Steve Albini exaggerating when claiming he barely uses compression and EQ?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #151
Lives for gear
 

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Sounds to me like maybe you've got a narrow reading on some of the things he talks about.
I doubt it. I've corresponded directly with him on this very board on these topics. At length.

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Even the term producer can mean anything at this point, from Andy Warhol (what did he do on that banana album anyway besides the banana?) to Max Martin who basically co-writes the songs. There's nothing contradictory in Albini's "non-producing engineer" image ... said image being that of one that tries to capture the truest & most organic representation of the artist, with minimal outside intervention (minimal not nonexistent). Your example reinforces that. As you say, it's an image, not some legal definition to which to nail him to a cross.
I was not the one who brought up the image in the first place. But bottom line, if your claim is, "The non-producer engineer role is the most honest and laudable position possible," and someone says, "Well, it's a little hypocritical to claim that, as he does these things that are clearly decisions that a producer makes," and your response is, "Production can mean anything you want it to mean, so it's not a contradiction," then I'm not sure what logical fallacy is being used there (True Scottsman? The inverse of the True Scottsman?), but you've definitely rigged the game at that point so that you can't be wrong no matter what anyone points out.

Ain't nobody got time for that.

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As for the Golden Age of music, he came of age where access to the music industry were mostly determined by gatekeepers. For those gatekeepers or people who value the experience defined by that era, like say Cameron Crowe, that influence is obviously diminished. The music industry is wide open now, for better or worse, & in fact, American music culture/consumerism is changing.

Seeing as he firmly believes the previous model benefited only a select few, most of whom had little to nothing to do with the actual creation of the music, it's not a surprise he prefers today's model. What did it ever bring us anyway but the absurd commodification of music? The Internet only brought that absurdity to its logical conclusion.
LOL. I don't want to be unkind, so I will say that you haven't thought this through. I also suspect you are 30 years old or younger.

There are even fewer people benefitting from music today than there were back then, by a lot, and almost all the ones who are still benefitting aren't benefitting nearly as much.

Back then labels were benefitting, studios were benefitting, music venues were benefitting, local clubs were benefitting, guitar manufacturers were benefitting, retailers were benefitting, and if I cared to do so I could probably keep listing entities until that list was 2-3 times that length.

As it is, the only entities still benefitting anywhere near as much as they were back then are the ones who are still able to work with the old model, except for two groups: software manufacturers and streaming services.

Artists make virtually nothing on downloads—much less than they used to for records sold. Studios that used to thrive have shut their doors. Most clubs have either shut their doors or no longer have live music. Live bands that used to get a guarantee of $800 in 1982 (in 1982 dollars) get a $300 guarantee in 2020, IF they can find a place to play that will give them a guarantee. Gibson guitars is going bankrupt. Other than vinyl, which is basically a novelty cottage industry, music retailers don't exist.

And I suppose you missed the part where Albini himself states plainly in a 2014 interview that his own studio wouldn't be possible if he had had to build it post-2000.

What did the old model give us? Well, I could list the albums and bands individually, but let's just suffice it to say that it gave us every great band and album in any genre up to the year 2000.

Now, let's stop and think about that. Being honest, name as many great bands and albums as you can who formed or were released after 2000. If the band existed before 2000, the release doesn't count, as their fanbase and range of opportunities were built on the old model.

I'm going to bet that the post-2000 list is much shorter, and not just because that list is limited to a 20 year time frame. We're about to make it much shorter...

Now—being honest again—if any of the releases or bands on that list are highly derivative of something that started before 2000, cross them off.

Because the shortest list of all is, name the number of bands/releases post-2000 that really did something innovative.

I get the, "There's more great, innovative, music out now than EVER BEFORE, you just don't know where to find it," online all the time. So then I ask whoever is making the claim to post some of the examples we're talking about, and I haven't heard a single example yet that was actually innovative. What happens is that the person making the claim is simply too young to realize that someone else broke that ground 40-50 years ago.

So the old model gave us the Beatles, and Jimi Hendrix, and James Brown, and rap, and punk, and Metallica, and reggae, and blues, and prog-rock, and country, and disco, and electronica, and trip-hop, and music videos, psychedelic rock, soul and R&B, surf music and shoegaze and alternative rock and southern rock and doom metal and glam rock and psychobilly and ska and a hundred other flavors I could list.

What new and innovative styles have we seen since 2000?

Edit: Not just music, artists, and musical styles. The old model gave us about 99% of the technology we still use to make music—including the DAW and digital editing. Just about every microphone technology. Just about every EQ and compression technology. Certainly almost everything that is considered desirable to own and use in 2020. I would bet almost every piece of equipment in Albini's studio.

The old model gave us just about everything we still have. Because there was money in it.

End Edit.

I could write a whole book about this, but getting back to Albini, tell me one thing—why does he deserve to get paid for making a recording when the band doesn't. Why does this new model mean that an artist or band who shows up for a recording session and incurs expenses to do so and exerts effort and trades time and incurs opportunity cost—just like Steve does to make the recording—shouldn't expect to get paid for the recording, but Steve should?

If you can give me a good answer for that, I'll concede the point and declare you the winner.

Last edited by drpeacock; 2 weeks ago at 09:05 PM..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #152
Gear Addict
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Originally Posted by drpeacock View Post
I doubt it. I've corresponded directly with him on this very board on these topics. At length.
And I haven't. Yet we both have a fairly clear & accurate idea of what to expect if we were to engage him to record an album. So what's the problem? If you were to say that's not Dave Grohl on In Utero but an MPC chopped & quantized to the grid, then I'd see your point.


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Originally Posted by drpeacock View Post
LOL. I don't want to be unkind, so I will say that you haven't thought this through. I also suspect you are 30 years old or younger.
Perhaps worry less about being unkind & more about being presumptuous. You know the old line about ass-u-me (or are you too young? Ha.). The old line about I was a HS senior in calculus when we heard Cobain killed himself. You do the math. So I guess we're both old ... does that make either of us any more right or wrong?

As for how much thought I've put into this -- an awful lot. More or less than you, who can say.

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Originally Posted by drpeacock View Post

There are even fewer people benefitting from music today than there were back then, by a lot, and almost all the ones who are still benefitting aren't benefitting nearly as much.

Back then labels were benefitting, studios were benefitting, music venues were benefitting, local clubs were benefitting, guitar manufacturers were benefitting, retailers were benefitting, and if I cared to do so I could probably keep listing entities until that list was 2-3 times that length.

..... SNIP
Your whole train of thought has as its underlying premise that the commodification of music = benefit, as if the highest purpose of music is to soundtrack our lives, our shopping, our sporting events or movies or whatever.

But what if music can have a higher purpose than to simply reinforce society's corporate consumerist agenda? What if music is truly the healing force of the universe (Google it if you need to) & that as the industry refined its tactics to be more efficient, it led to a more shallow music & by extension a more shallow artist & culture?

I recently read an essay by Vaclav Havel, who mentions just how strongly art & music, specifically the band Plastic People of the Universe & their role in what ultimately became the Velvet Revolution. How does your favorite album compare to something like that?!? But hey, a handful of corporations made a **** ton of money for a while & a small handful of artists & cottage industry workers (studios, engineers, session musicians, etc) made a living & we've got oodles of karaoke material so that's what's important, right?

I've been having conversations for months with people about how disassociated today's social movements are to the cultural movements. Thinking about how Lennon/Yoko were with the peace movements or how songs like Strange Fruit or People Get Ready were associated w/ the Civil Rights movement (or so I perceive since I wasn't alive back then) & how we lack that nowadays. And yet in the time that music's been democratized & the culture's splintered, I've seen social & political movement that I could never have imagined back when I was spending hours on Napster.

What if that progress wasn't possible when corporate America controlled the music industry ... that it's sheer scale allowed it to co-opt & neuter any subversive elements before they could mature. Any counterculture eventually just became another fashion or shop at the mall, losing any real power. Not black America but they pay a very high price for that.

Which is all to say there's different viewpoints & perspectives on this subject. But since that might all be too meta/abstract for you, who may not wish to "think that through" & only wants to consider people's careers & livelihoods so let's go back to dollars & cents. You keep bringing up Albini's studio & how it wouldn't be possible in this age but as some doors close, others open:



The music industry as this huge monolithic commercial & cultural force is done so yeah, no more Albini's or Radioheads or Beatles or whatever & in their place, hundreds / thousands of smaller entities that you & I will probably never hear or hear of but are able to fashion a life in music. It's not what we grew up with & we may not prefer it but it's there. Sorry if someone wanted to be the next Swedien or Specter ... they'll have to find a different way.

I think what Albini appreciates is that a guy like Andrew Huang was able to build his career without needing to access any of the traditional gatekeepers (unless you consider the Youtube algorithm a gatekeeper of sorts) whereas Cobain even as a mega-star couldn't even put out the album he wanted to without getting his arm twisted into knots by the label. People can still get paid today, very well even without anyone having ever heard a song of theirs on the radio, which was always a crap shoot anyway. A guy like Huang's probably netted way more than most bands Albini's ever worked with.

As a person who spent close to a decade putting out records (vinyl) with a small personal LP collection in the thousands, I totally get where you're coming from. That's how I grew up too. I've spent the last few years trying to figure out my place in this new era. But I'm starting to see the value in the transition, especially for marginalized voices & I think at the end of the day, Albini views himself as part of the marginalized, just as Cobain did.

As for judging the aesthetic/artistic value of it all, just don't. We're old & there are few things sadder than an old person asserting their own irrelevance. I'm old enough to remember how people attacked rap "music" as not even music ("IT DOESN'T EVEN HAVE A MELODY!!!!"). If you don't get it, you don't get it. It's probably not the music's fault -- it never has been.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #153
Gear Guru
 

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Originally Posted by drpeacock View Post
Why does this new model mean that an artist or band who shows up for a recording session and incurs expenses to do so and exerts effort and trades time and incurs opportunity cost—just like Steve does to make the recording—shouldn't expect to get paid for the recording, but Steve should?
Wait, is Electrical Audio a "label"? I thought they were just a "studio". If a band books a studio, or hires a producer, aren't they now the label? They are assuming the risk. And reaping the "profits"!

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an artist or band who shows up for a recording session
I think the burden is on whoever asked them too show up for this recording session. Was it their own ambition/speculation to "make an album"? Did they seek out Steve Albini? Or did Steve Albini ask them? It's not his fault that there is no more money in the music business. And it's not his fault that various independent bands and mini-labels still believe they can beat the odds.

If the band books a hall on their own initiative and nobody buys tickets, does the band still "deserve" to get paid because they 'worked hard' to rehearse and maybe went out and bought new amps? Tough noogies, band!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #154
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Originally Posted by drpeacock View Post
Artists make virtually nothing on downloads—much less than they used to for records sold.
Just pointing out this statement is not necessarily correct - at all.

Artists make a fraction of the cost of a CD - in the days a CD was selling for $15, the artist would be lucky to see a dollar as a performer (maybe slightly more if they were the sole writer as well).

For a download, the purchase price isn't that different, but the manufacturing costs are minimal - iTunes etc take a hefty cut, but what's left over is actually comparable as a percentage for the artist. I think the publishers take a fixed %age (maybe 10%?) from the net, and what's left is split for the artist/label.

Advantages are people don't have to buy the full album, so they may well buy their fave tracks when before they wouldn't have bought anything, and also it's available everywhere, not just in the shops you've negotiated with. Disadvantages are of course that people might not buy the full album!

Streaming is of course very different, but downloads were a great solution for a time, and it's just a shame the music industry chose to fight the Napsters of the world, instead of offering a credible legal alternative early on.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #155
Lives for gear
 

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Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Just pointing out this statement is not necessarily correct - at all.

Artists make a fraction of the cost of a CD - in the days a CD was selling for $15, the artist would be lucky to see a dollar as a performer (maybe slightly more if they were the sole writer as well).

For a download, the purchase price isn't that different, but the manufacturing costs are minimal - iTunes etc take a hefty cut, but what's left over is actually comparable as a percentage for the artist. I think the publishers take a fixed %age (maybe 10%?) from the net, and what's left is split for the artist/label.

Advantages are people don't have to buy the full album, so they may well buy their fave tracks when before they wouldn't have bought anything, and also it's available everywhere, not just in the shops you've negotiated with. Disadvantages are of course that people might not buy the full album!

Streaming is of course very different, but downloads were a great solution for a time, and it's just a shame the music industry chose to fight the Napsters of the world, instead of offering a credible legal alternative early on.
You are correct; I mean to type streaming.

The biggest disadvantage is the crux of the entire argument however. When someone can make an exact copy of the product and distribute it for nothing, the number of downloads that people actually pay for is a fraction of what it would be if they couldn't.

And a singles-driven market isn't specific to digital. Music was singles driven from the 50s through about the mid-60s with no digital in sight.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #156
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Originally Posted by joeq View Post
Wait, is Electrical Audio a "label"? I thought they were just a "studio". If a band books a studio, or hires a producer, aren't they now the label? They are assuming the risk. And reaping the "profits"!



I think the burden is on whoever asked them too show up for this recording session. Was it their own ambition/speculation to "make an album"? Did they seek out Steve Albini? Or did Steve Albini ask them? It's not his fault that there is no more money in the music business. And it's not his fault that various independent bands and mini-labels still believe they can beat the odds.

If the band books a hall on their own initiative and nobody buys tickets, does the band still "deserve" to get paid because they 'worked hard' to rehearse and maybe went out and bought new amps? Tough noogies, band!
All that is fine, but that's not the context in which Albini has stated that bands shouldn't expect fans to pay for a copy of their music. I suspect you know that.

Basically the Albini argument is that fans can take your music and there's nothing you can do about it, therefore they shouldn't pay for it and you shouldn't expect them to because they aren't stealing anything, they are just listening to music.

That has nothing to do with being a label or accepting risk. Risk goes out the window when technology exists to steal your product.

The analogy would be that someone invented a device that you could ride by Electrical Audio in your car, point the device at the building, and it would somehow download the mixes you were supposed to pay Albini tomorrow to deliver to you.

Or heck, it wouldn't have to be that complicated. Let's say you pay him with counterfeit money for your mixes. So you get your recording and he gets nothing of value, without an agreement or giving permission to do so.

Is that o.k.? Because it's the same thing.

Arguing that it is o.k. is ridiculous, and my point is that he wouldn't accept it if he was the one being ripped off instead of the bands he loves to tell to shut up and like it.

It's amazing to me that in 2020 anybody will still argue that the "new model" is better than what existed before 2000. All one has to do is look at what we discussed earlier. Everything in the entire industry operates at a fraction of what it operated at before Napster.

Everything except software and streaming.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #157
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Originally Posted by drpeacock View Post
You are correct; I mean to type streaming.
That does make more sense!

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Originally Posted by drpeacock View Post
The biggest disadvantage is the crux of the entire argument however. When someone can make an exact copy of the product and distribute it for nothing, the number of downloads that people actually pay for is a fraction of what it would be if they couldn't.
Well, the good thing about streaming is that it's killed illegal downloads for most of the world. Just a need to monetise it better...

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Originally Posted by drpeacock View Post
And a singles-driven market isn't specific to digital. Music was singles driven from the 50s through about the mid-60s with no digital in sight.
I think singles driven is a good thing from an unsigned band, trying to get noticed point of view (cheaper to get product out) - but less good of course if you're trying to make real money from it in the long term.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #158
Lives for gear
 

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Yet we both have a fairly clear & accurate idea of what to expect if we were to engage him to record an album. So what's the problem? If you were to say that's not Dave Grohl on In Utero but an MPC chopped & quantized to the grid, then I'd see your point.
I don't think you'd see my point no matter what I said b/c it violates your assertion that the guy we're discussing is beyond reproach or critique.

But to the point, if I had booked a session with him based on the reputation that he's a non-producer and he said to me, "O.k. guys, three runs at this performance tops—the idea is to document what you do. If you don't have it down to where you can do it in three tries, then that's the honest documentation of your band," I would have been surprised. Unpleasantly.


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Perhaps worry less about being unkind
O.k. If you say so. Here we go...

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So I guess we're both old ... does that make either of us any more right or wrong?
What it does is provide context for perspectives. Me assuming you were under 30 was me trying to give you the benefit of the doubt. Because your communicated conclusions so far don't reflect that you have a mature perspective. For example, you use pseudo-intellectual language like "marginalized," when you just mean a band or an artist without wide appeal. You use the word, "democracy," when what you are really describing is anarchy, specifically with respect to the ability to steal product. You set up more strawmen than I can count.

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As for how much thought I've put into this -- an awful lot.
It doesn't show.

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Your whole train of thought has as its underlying premise that the commodification of music = benefit, as if the highest purpose of music is to soundtrack our lives, our shopping, our sporting events or movies or whatever.
Nope. Never said that or anything like it. But hey, kick that strawman's ass. It's good exercise.

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But what if music can have a higher purpose than to simply reinforce society's corporate consumerist agenda? What if music is truly the healing force of the universe (Google it if you need to) & that as the industry refined its tactics to be more efficient, it led to a more shallow music & by extension a more shallow artist & culture?
What if? Well, if that had happened, you'd be able to give me some examples of how music has rebounded into being a prime healing force of the universe now that it's all "democratized." I asked. You didn't answer. Still waiting.

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I recently read an essay by Vaclav Havel, who mentions just how strongly art & music, specifically the band Plastic People of the Universe & their role in what ultimately became the Velvet Revolution.
Don't look now, but that happened under the old model.

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How does your favorite album compare to something like that?!? But hey, a handful of corporations made a **** ton of money for a while & a small handful of artists & cottage industry workers (studios, engineers, session musicians, etc) made a living & we've got oodles of karaoke material so that's what's important, right?
Again, the awesome things you keep mentioning, both above and below this text, happened under the old model. So according to you, we got a lot more than that.

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I've been having conversations for months with people about how disassociated today's social movements are to the cultural movements. Thinking about how Lennon/Yoko were with the peace movements or how songs like Strange Fruit or People Get Ready were associated w/ the Civil Rights movement (or so I perceive since I wasn't alive back then) & how we lack that nowadays.
In other words, the old model gave us what you assert as the highest ideal of music and the new model doesn't.

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And yet in the time that music's been democratized & the culture's splintered, I've seen social & political movement that I could never have imagined back when I was spending hours on Napster.
That's associated with music? I'm going to ask for the third time. Do tell.

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What if that progress wasn't possible when corporate America controlled the music industry ...
And yet you've now posted 3-4 examples of how it was.

Not to mention, corporate America still controls the music business. Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, etc. Artists just don't make even as much money as they used to when the Old Boss was in charge.

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that it's sheer scale allowed it to co-opt & neuter any subversive elements before they could mature. Any counterculture eventually just became another fashion or shop at the mall, losing any real power. Not black America but they pay a very high price for that.
Here's the extremely simple answer to that charge, and it's the same as when you bring up Curt Cobain below: No one was ever forced at the point of a gun to sign a major label record contract. Or pander for radio airplay, or write karaoke music. Not one person. Everyone who allowed their art to succumb to what you posted chose to do so.

Case in point. The guy we're taking about, Steve Albini came up during the old model. None of his bands signed major label deals or otherwise gave up creative control of their music. That was a choice.

You are riffing on a false dichotomy here. Bands always had the choice to stay independent.

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Which is all to say there's different viewpoints & perspectives on this subject. But since that might all be too meta/abstract for you
,

LOL.

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only wants to consider people's careers & livelihoods so let's go back to dollars & cents.
You weren't listening. Maybe the concept is too "meta" for you. In a healthy economic ecosystem, there are more opportunities for everyone. When there are clubs to play and studios to record in and producers to help bands realize their visions and cultivate the art of making recordings and money to develop new technologies for recording, then there are more possibilities for everyone. Whether your goal is to create your own version of the Velvet Revolution or make it to the Top of The Pops. Under the old model, bands had more choices. Under the new model, they have far fewer choices.

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You keep bringing up Albini's studio & how it wouldn't be possible in this age
No, I keep bringing up Albini's own statement about his own facility, because it's contradictory to his narrative regarding bands not getting paid. It demonstrates that he understands that when artists don't get paid, he doesn't either. Whether he wants to record revolutionary art or bubble gum pop.
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The music industry as this huge monolithic commercial & cultural force is done so yeah, no more Albini's or Radioheads or Beatles or whatever & in their place, hundreds / thousands of smaller entities that you & I will probably never hear or hear of but are able to fashion a life in music. It's not what we grew up with & we may not prefer it but it's there. Sorry if someone wanted to be the next Swedien or Specter ... they'll have to find a different way.
No one's arguing that this isn't the way it is. The argument is whether it's a good thing and whether better results are likely. I think not. You and Albini think so. Still waiting for the evidence for that optimism. I don't see it in the link between art and culture you are citing, I don't see it in the art itself, I don't see it in the development of the art of recording. Just isolated incidences. I'm waiting for any evidence of an actual trend that anything about the industry or the art is better.

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I think what Albini appreciates is that a guy like Andrew Huang was able to build his career without needing to access any of the traditional gatekeepers (unless you consider the Youtube algorithm a gatekeeper of sorts) whereas Cobain even as a mega-star couldn't even put out the album he wanted to without getting his arm twisted into knots by the label.
Sure. So did Steve Albini. Only Albini chose to do so and Huang had no choice but to do so.

And Cobain could have put out any album he wanted to. He just couldn't have his cake and eat it too. He could have walked away from his record contract any time he wanted.


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People can still get paid today, very well even without anyone having ever heard a song of theirs on the radio, which was always a crap shoot anyway. A guy like Huang's probably netted way more than most bands Albini's ever worked with.
How many are getting "paid very well?" I'm going to need a link on that. And remember, the ecosystem is made up of more than just artists.

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But I'm starting to see the value in the transition, especially for marginalized voices & I think at the end of the day, Albini views himself as part of the marginalized, just as Cobain did.
"Marginalized" is a completely sophomoric term here. Nobody "marginalized" either one. Albini chose to put out art that had a limited appeal and Cobain chose to put out art that had a wide appeal, and accepted the financing of an entity who was in the business of distributing art that had a wide appeal. Then got upset when that entity wanted it to maximize its appeal. If he didn't want to make hit albums, he could have—at any time—walked away from his contract. There are ways to get out of something like that if you really want to.

Again, the old model created lots of possibilities and freedom. Labels could (and did) sign artists that they knew would never sell millions of records just because someone at the label thought what they were doing was important, and they would put them in well equipped studios with great producers that they would never have been able to afford otherwise. You mentioned the Beatles earlier. Well the old model created the possibility of a band like the Beatles creating a cultural revolution almost singlehandedly. They started out creating bubble-gum pop, remember. And then at some point shifted toward more important cultural influence. Under the old model. Possibilities. Freedom. Choices.

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As for judging the aesthetic/artistic value of it all, just don't. We're old & there are few things sadder than an old person asserting their own irrelevance.
That's what I thought. You can't answer that question either, because it doesn't exist and you know it. But nice arrogant ad-hom substitute for just admitting it.

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If you don't get it, you don't get it.
Dude, come on. This is the same argument you used with Albini and the non-production. Production can mean anything you want it to mean, so you can't tell me I'm wrong. If you don't think today's music is as innovative as it used to be, it's because you're too old, so you can't say that.

I'm not even going to respond to that tripe, just point it out for what it is. I will say that your rap example proves my point, not yours. Whether you "got" rap or not, there was no subjective argument over whether it was a new, innovative form. That's an objective fact. That's what I'm asking for. What's new out there like rap since 2000?

And besides, I'm still in my 40s. That's not old.

Last edited by drpeacock; 2 weeks ago at 04:03 PM..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #159
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Originally Posted by drpeacock View Post
Basically the Albini argument is that fans can take your music and there's nothing you can do about it, therefore they shouldn't pay for it and you shouldn't expect them to because they aren't stealing anything, they are just listening to music.
Im pretty sure Steve has never said 'they shouldn't pay for it'. Shellac doesn't record albums with the intent to give them away for free, and Touch and Go sure doesn't put up the money to press Shellac and Big Black records for free. The fact that most people will just steal it however is inevitable and unavoidable, and you just have to accept it when you don't become a mega platinum billionaire overnight.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #160
Gear Guru
 

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Originally Posted by drpeacock View Post
Basically the Albini argument is that fans can take your music and there's nothing you can do about it,
Are you saying there IS something you can do about it? What?
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therefore they shouldn't pay for it and you shouldn't expect them to because they aren't stealing anything, they are just listening to music.
Whether they should pay for it or not is a "moral" argument. An abstract moral argument at that. It is a completely different matter from whether you should expect them to! You can say it is 'stealing' and I will agree with you. If you say you should behave with any other expectation than that this is exactly what is going to happen, I will have to say you are being naive and foolish.

Strip this statement of its "moral" imperatives and it is simply describing the state of music today. You can insist that people not paying for something that they can easily get for free is "wrong". But the important thing for you as a musician is that this is the reality.

They are not paying for music and as long as they don't have to, they won't. Ever. You may be offended by Steve Albini's way of putting it, or by his failure to condemn it in the same terms that you would use, but he is certainly not wrong about the reality of the business, or the reasonableness of the expectations. In fact, I would say such a rather pessimistic outlook is more honest and Tough Love than many studios who try to blow smoke up your ass with rosy predictions and promises of "connections".

Artists will have to leverage their popularity into Money by some other means. Fame can be monetized. A famous person can get paid thousands of dollars for Tweeting that they enjoy a certain brand of iced tea. They can make a bundle for one Instagram of themselves wearing such-and-such a brand of sneakers. Lady Gaga pointedly made a sandwich with Wonder Bread in her video.

Before the pandemic, you could sell tickets to shows. T-shirts and mugs. Song placements in movies and TV shows. The one thing that does not work is "selling copies" of your music. It sucks, but no amount of saying "it sucks" will change it.

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That has nothing to do with being a label or accepting risk. Risk goes out the window when technology exists to steal your product.
Not many, but some people are making a living doing music in today's reality. Just not by "selling records". The true Moral fact is that no one is "owed" a living in this world. Much less a living doing something cool and fun like playing music.

In the caveman days, you helped out at the Mammoth Hunt or you did not eat. You painted on the cave walls in your spare time. Nobody was such a great Cave Painter that the rest of the tribe decided he could stay home and paint all day while they fought a six-ton beast with 12 foot tusks to the death.

As society progressed, there was enough slack for first Kings, then churches and finally the general public to support a handful of full-time artists that they liked. But there is no guarantee that they will like you.

Nobody told these bands 'go make an album and get rich'. Certainly Steve Albini did not tell them that. In 2020, unless you are already an established artist with a fan base, every record is a Vanity record.

Until proven otherwise.

Quote:
It's amazing to me that in 2020 anybody will still argue that the "new model" is better than what existed before 2000.
I don't have to claim the New Model is "better" to point out that it exists. Who do you propose should 'pay the band' for making a record that nobody will buy?

All the music recording studios/engineers left in world get their money largely from bands and labels with big dreams and stars in their eyes. If these bands are still willing to pay for their speculative Vanity Projects, then some studios can still make money. If some magic device can vacuum up the final mixes in a Drive By, the studio can simply insist on full payment up front - and wait for the certified bank checks to clear.

Unlike musicians, studios still have real-world leverage because they can still control their product. Right or wrong, it just is.

Where does a band have such leverage? Kickstarter? If the public doesn't pay, they can withhold their album! Wanna bet on that happening? No, they will put it out anyway at their own expense, because it's an ego trip. It's their 'dream'. And of course you have to give away a lot of music first for anyone to know who you are - before any Kickstarter would have a chance to be successful.

Quote:
Everything in the entire industry operates at a fraction of what it operated at before Napster.
Even in the heyday, no artist ever had the expectation get paid for their "labor". They are not building cars, or baking bread. They only got paid if their record was popular, or a little if some label assumed the Risk and gave them an advance. A recoupable advance.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #161
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
Are you saying there IS something you can do about it? What?


Whether they should pay for it or not is a "moral" argument. An abstract moral argument at that. It is a completely different matter from whether you should expect them to! You can say it is 'stealing' and I will agree with you. If you say you should behave with any other expectation than that this is exactly what is going to happen, I will have to say you are being naive and foolish.

Strip this statement of its "moral" imperatives and it is simply describing the state of music today. You can insist that people not paying for something that they can easily get for free is "wrong". But the important thing for you as a musician is that this is the reality.

They are not paying for music and as long as they don't have to, they won't. Ever. You may be offended by Steve Albini's way of putting it, or by his failure to condemn it in the same terms that you would use, but he is certainly not wrong about the reality of the business, or the reasonableness of the expectations. In fact, I would say such a rather pessimistic outlook is more honest and Tough Love than many studios who try to blow smoke up your ass with rosy predictions and promises of "connections".

Artists will have to leverage their popularity into Money by some other means. Fame can be monetized. A famous person can get paid thousands of dollars for Tweeting that they enjoy a certain brand of iced tea. They can make a bundle for one Instagram of themselves wearing such-and-such a brand of sneakers. Lady Gaga pointedly made a sandwich with Wonder Bread in her video.

Before the pandemic, you could sell tickets to shows. T-shirts and mugs. Song placements in movies and TV shows. The one thing that does not work is "selling copies" of your music. It sucks, but no amount of saying "it sucks" will change it.



Not many, but some people are making a living doing music in today's reality. Just not by "selling records". The true Moral fact is that no one is "owed" a living in this world. Much less a living doing something cool and fun like playing music.

In the caveman days, you helped out at the Mammoth Hunt or you did not eat. You painted on the cave walls in your spare time. Nobody was such a great Cave Painter that the rest of the tribe decided he could stay home and paint all day while they fought a six-ton beast with 12 foot tusks to the death.

As society progressed, there was enough slack for first Kings, then churches and finally the general public to support a handful of full-time artists that they liked. But there is no guarantee that they will like you.

Nobody told these bands 'go make an album and get rich'. Certainly Steve Albini did not tell them that. In 2020, unless you are already an established artist with a fan base, every record is a Vanity record.

Until proven otherwise.

I don't have to claim the New Model is "better" to point out that it exists. Who do you propose should 'pay the band' for making a record that nobody will buy?

All the music recording studios/engineers left in world get their money largely from bands and labels with big dreams and stars in their eyes. If these bands are still willing to pay for their speculative Vanity Projects, then some studios can still make money. If some magic device can vacuum up the final mixes in a Drive By, the studio can simply insist on full payment up front - and wait for the certified bank checks to clear.

Unlike musicians, studios still have real-world leverage because they can still control their product. Right or wrong, it just is.

Where does a band have such leverage? Kickstarter? If the public doesn't pay, they can withhold their album! Wanna bet on that happening? No, they will put it out anyway at their own expense, because it's an ego trip. It's their 'dream'. And of course you have to give away a lot of music first for anyone to know who you are - before any Kickstarter would have a chance to be successful.



Even in the heyday, no artist ever had the expectation get paid for their "labor". They are not building cars, or baking bread. They only got paid if their record was popular, or a little if some label assumed the Risk and gave them an advance. A recoupable advance.
You could have saved yourself a lot of time typing if you had simply read what I've already written.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #162
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monotremata View Post
Im pretty sure Steve has never said 'they shouldn't pay for it'.
He has.

Now, his dialogue on that may have evolved—he seems recently to have pivoted to talking about the tools for self-distribution and how great that is—but he has.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #163
Gear Addict
You clearly view music as a product but the market has changed. As that wise sage, Courtney Love /sarcasm/, predicted decades ago, musicians have to transition to a service-based model, where income is derived from the value customers perceive from them, which may or may not include actual music transactions.

Since this whole conversation was based on Steve Albini/In Utero, I've discussed it from more from that viewpoint, which is what I grew up in. If you wanted to debate it from Quincy Jones or Bob Clearmountain's vantage point, that would be different. The music industry as viewed from those vested in the old model sucks for most of those people. So what?

Other models exist. If you want to explore those or whine about the current state of affairs, whatever ... it's no skin off my back.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #164
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post

Even in the heyday, no artist ever had the expectation get paid for their "labor". They are not building cars, or baking bread. They only got paid if their record was popular, or a little if some label assumed the Risk and gave them an advance. A recoupable advance.
This little gem, however, I will respond to.

When a product is produced that is offered for sale, then building cars and baking bread is exactly what releasing an album is like.

If you have a financial interest in getting paid based on sales, we could be talking about cars or bread or condoms or albums or toilet seats or green beans, and it would all be the same in one respect: when someone takes the product that you get paid based on sales of without your permission and does not exchange value for it, you are getting ripped off.

When that happens throughout an industry and the money leaves the industry, the incentive to excel in the industry deflates.

It doesn't disappear altogether, and in music it probably stays higher than it would if the product was condoms, for example, because people retain the desire to express themselves through music whether they get paid a lot for it or not. Not so with making condoms.

But the infrastructure isn't there, to whatever extent the industry deflates. It doesn't have the potential to have the impact on culture when the industry deflates. Etc.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #165
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkdvb View Post
You clearly view music as a product but the market has changed. As that wise sage, Courtney Love /sarcasm/, predicted decades ago, musicians have to transition to a service-based model, where income is derived from the value customers perceive from them, which may or may not include actual music transactions.

Since this whole conversation was based on Steve Albini/In Utero, I've discussed it from more from that viewpoint, which is what I grew up in. If you wanted to debate it from Quincy Jones or Bob Clearmountain's vantage point, that would be different. The music industry as viewed from those vested in the old model sucks for most of those people. So what?

Other models exist. If you want to explore those or whine about the current state of affairs, whatever ... it's no skin off my back.
Courtney Love's famous diatribe was based on the evil corporations controlling music.

What's amazing to me is the number of idiots that buy into that crap and blame major record labels for "controlling" music when every person who was ever signed to a major label begged them for the privilege of agreeing to all of the terms included in the contract, but it never occurs to them that the most egregious loss of control of all is when someone takes your product without permission. Fans aren't evil for stealing the product, but labels are evil for abiding by the terms of an agreement freely entered into by the artist.

You want to know what whining is, since you're obviously confused about what that word means? That's whining.

And your implication that you're above the idea that "music is a product" is a pretty obvious self-delusion when you embrace Courtney Love's idea that exchange should be based on, well, image rather than a tangible product. However shallow you think considering the financial aspects of releasing an album are, the only thing more shallow is what she's suggesting and you're parroting.

And here's the newsflash: I couldn't care less if some enlightened band or artist feels above all of those filthy money considerations and wants to make albums and give them away for free. I just want bands to be able to choose to do that rather than have that control taken from them, and I think that the industry has suffered as a result of that choice being stolen from artists.

Because yeah, other models exist. And the results of those models haven't been impressive. Again, you can play the, "You're just an old dinosaur" card, but if you're going to do that, back it up. Dazzle me. Link me to all the amazing innovative things that are happening in the new model. Basically, put up or shut up.

Doesn't matter to me which one.

That's the only point of contention.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #166
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donnylang's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drpeacock View Post

I could write a whole book about this, but getting back to Albini, tell me one thing—why does he deserve to get paid for making a recording when the band doesn't. Why does this new model mean that an artist or band who shows up for a recording session and incurs expenses to do so and exerts effort and trades time and incurs opportunity cost—just like Steve does to make the recording—shouldn't expect to get paid for the recording, but Steve should?

If you can give me a good answer for that, I'll concede the point and declare you the winner.
The answer is because, currently - economically, and realistically - if the artist or label cannot recoup whatever they have determined to be appropriate studio costs, then the project is essentially a vanity product, or they are operating over budget. If the market does not exist currently (for better or worse) for whatever it is they're trying to sell, they are not gonna make money on it.

This is not some opaque, complex situation. If Albini can charge whatever he charges, and bands are happy to pay that to make their record ... of course he "deserves" whatever they agree to pay him ha.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #167
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drpeacock View Post
When a product is produced that is offered for sale, then building cars and baking bread is exactly what releasing an album is like
No because the bakery can withhold the bread but the label cannot withhold the music. Your complaints about right and wrong are moot. It's about can and cannot and you know it.

I specifically referenced "labor" because you implied that the band were 'workers' who should be paid for their 'time' and 'effort' and that they could be doing something else. But really they are now their own label. They are the "Capitalists" spending their own money in the hopes of turning a profit.

The recording studio is the "labor" in this situation. They are the factory workers. They are the ones who actually have a "right" to get paid, because they are not cut in on these future "profits" such as they may be.

If everyone had a machine that could make an infinite number of perfectly nutritious copies of the their neighbor's loaf of bread, at no cost to them or their neighbor, then a person would have to be an idiot to open up a Bakery. A moron! A fool.

Or they could be someone who was just doing it as a labor of love - because he really enjoyed baking. Such a person whining about the bread-copying machine would be rightfully viewed as a crybaby. You love to bake bread? Go ahead and bake your damn bread. Oh, you want to make money?

Find something else to do that makes money. Nobody is putting a gun to their heads and forcing them to be rock stars.

Quote:
If you have a financial interest in getting paid based on sales, we could be talking about cars or bread or condoms or albums or toilet seats or green beans,
But the factory worker has no such financial interest. The recording studio engineer has no such financial interest. He did not sign on for "speculation". He is not deferring his payment until the car or the music catches on with the public. He has two hands and he can work in a different kind of factory. The owner of the factory or bakery is the Capitalist and assumes the risk.

All of the risk.

In today's world, the Aspiring Artist himself is usually his own Capitalist, because who else would be so stupid as to invest money in a "product" that cannot be actually "sold"?

Quote:
and it would all be the same in one respect: when someone takes the product that you get paid based on sales of without your permission and does not exchange value for it, you are getting ripped off.
If you had a proposal for a practical solution, we would have heard it already. You are just crying over spilt milk. In any case, Steve Albini did not create this situation and IMHO, his honesty about the difference of his position (labor) vs the position the artists find themselves in (capital) is, in a word, refreshing.

But you keep pretending that it's the same in the physical sense, which is absurd. Wonder Bread or Ford can withhold the loaf of bread or the car if you don't pay for it. The label has no way of withholding what is now just a really big number. The genie has escaped the bottle.

You keep trying to debate me as if you think I am saying "it's good" that people don't have to pay for a copy of a very long number; they way they used to have to pay for a round piece of plastic. The product is the same, but that linkage to something physical that could be "withheld" was burned a long time ago for short term gain (reselling the old catalog) without any thought to the long-term consequences (infinite copies).

I am not saying it's "good". I actually think it's "bad". OK? But unlike some people, I think bitching about it is a waste of time. I am saying that everything you "accuse" Albini (or me) of saying is merely the absolute truth of the way it is. At least the bands who hire him are going into their foolish "capitalist" ventures with their eyes open.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #168
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donnylang's Avatar
"The old model" is gone. We can adapt to the current situation, or we can complain about how it's not how it used to be (guilty of that myself ... lamenting it anyway - and doing my part to create things the way I think they should be).

If every artist wanted to exercise their rights, they could, remove (or, like me, never put them there in the first place) their music from streaming services. If everyone did that, then they would have extreme bargaining power and/or change the game. They could focus on selling only physical media, etc. The fact that artists willingly allow (and even encourage) their music to be available on the streaming services indicates that they find benefit from it (I don't).

For those who signed deals based on the old model (or just bad deals in general), then not much to be done if they don't own the legal rights to their work. The internet will continue to be the internet.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #169
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by donnylang View Post
"
If every artist wanted to exercise their rights, they could, remove (or, like me, never put them there in the first place) their music from streaming services. If everyone did that, then they would have extreme bargaining power and/or change the game.
Yeah but if anything less than "everyone" did it, the ones who did it would simply fade from the public's consciousness. Leaving the others an open field. Which is a powerful incentive against. Fame - not "sales" - is the new currency. You gather the eyeballs (eardrums) first and then you figure out how to make money off of it.

For example, nobody will pay me to take a picture of myself wearing some brand of sneakers! But if I had 6 million views on YouTube, they might.

Quote:
They could focus on selling only physical media, etc. The fact that artists willingly allow (and even encourage) their music to be available on the streaming services indicates that they find benefit from it
Of course, because since they aren't getting paid either way, in the long run it is better to be poor and famous than poor and unknown.

It's not just streaming services, we have to face all the consequences of turning music into Pure Information. It's 'ripping' CDs, and it's YouTube to mp3 services, and it's file "sharing" torrents and it's screen (and audio) capture software. There are 1000 leaks in the dam. It cannot be stopped. A band can 'focus' on selling physical media, but anyone can drop the needle on their LP, turn it into a bunch of 1's and 0's and stick it up on the internet.

I think that may have happened once or twice!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #170
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donnylang's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
Yeah but if anything less than "everyone" did it, the ones who did it would simply fade from the public's consciousness. Leaving the others an open field. Which is a powerful incentive against. Fame - not "sales" - is the new currency. You gather the eyeballs (eardrums) first and then you figure out how to make money off of it.

For example, nobody will pay me to take a picture of myself wearing some brand of sneakers! But if I had 6 million views on YouTube, they might.



Of course, because since they aren't getting paid either way, in the long run it is better to be poor and famous than poor and unknown.

It's not just streaming services, we have to face all the consequences of turning music into Pure Information. It's 'ripping' CDs, and it's YouTube to mp3 services, and it's file "sharing" torrents and it's screen (and audio) capture software. There are 1000 leaks in the dam. It cannot be stopped. A band can 'focus' on selling physical media, but anyone can drop the needle on their LP, turn it into a bunch of 1's and 0's and stick it up on the internet.

I think that may have happened once or twice!
Yeh I'm with you - it was more of a hypothetical ... in real life, if 90% of copyright owners did this, then you'd have a bunch of bands jump in offering their music for free for the promotion. Main point being - the situation is what it is ... people can get creative and utilize what is available, or not. If they are opposed to it. I personally don't use streaming services - just sample things on YouTube here and there, and buy records if I want to *actually* listen.

Yeh that's kind of what I meant by "the internet will continue to be the internet" ... I hear a lot of rallying against Spotify and streaming services (rightfully so IMO - I don't personally like them at all, for many reasons) ... but at least you do have legal *control* to some degree over how you choose to let your music be presented *legally*. As in, if you wanted to you could scour streaming services and sharing sites, etc ... and decline to make your stuff officially available on the most ready-made places like Spotify, YouTube etc.

I've personally put out one disc as vinyl-only ... tbh I'd be flattered if folks were file-sharing it (maybe they are? ha), as the only way I'm gonna make any $$$ is if someone hears it and likes it enough to buy the record. Or maybe enough people will share it so I can put on those sneakers :D ... or maybe one of the people who hears it wants to put in in a bank commercial ... or their next TV project ...

That said, I don't proactively involve myself in the streaming scene because I don't personally use it, nor do I think it casts music in the best light. But listeners are gonna do what they're gonna do and I might benefit from it.

This is all to say - this is the situation we're in, and we can get creative in ways that we navigate it.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #171
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by donnylang View Post
I've personally put out one disc as vinyl-only ... tbh I'd be flattered if folks were file-sharing it (maybe they are? ha), as the only way I'm gonna make any $$$ is if someone hears it and likes it enough to buy the record. Or maybe enough people will share it so I can put on those sneakers :D ... or maybe one of the people who hears it wants to put in in a bank commercial ... or their next TV project...
that's it in a nutshell

yes you are being ripped off, but the more people that steal your music, the better your shot at eventually making something off of it!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #172
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
No because the bakery can withhold the bread but the label cannot withhold the music. Your complaints about right and wrong are moot. It's about can and cannot and you know it.

I specifically referenced "labor" because you implied that the band were 'workers' who should be paid for their 'time' and 'effort' and that they could be doing something else. But really they are now their own label. They are the "Capitalists" spending their own money in the hopes of turning a profit.

The recording studio is the "labor" in this situation. They are the factory workers. They are the ones who actually have a "right" to get paid, because they are not cut in on these future "profits" such as they may be.

If everyone had a machine that could make an infinite number of perfectly nutritious copies of the their neighbor's loaf of bread, at no cost to them or their neighbor, then a person would have to be an idiot to open up a Bakery. A moron! A fool.

Or they could be someone who was just doing it as a labor of love - because he really enjoyed baking. Such a person whining about the bread-copying machine would be rightfully viewed as a crybaby. You love to bake bread? Go ahead and bake your damn bread. Oh, you want to make money?

Find something else to do that makes money. Nobody is putting a gun to their heads and forcing them to be rock stars.



But the factory worker has no such financial interest. The recording studio engineer has no such financial interest. He did not sign on for "speculation". He is not deferring his payment until the car or the music catches on with the public. He has two hands and he can work in a different kind of factory. The owner of the factory or bakery is the Capitalist and assumes the risk.

All of the risk.

In today's world, the Aspiring Artist himself is usually his own Capitalist, because who else would be so stupid as to invest money in a "product" that cannot be actually "sold"?



If you had a proposal for a practical solution, we would have heard it already. You are just crying over spilt milk. In any case, Steve Albini did not create this situation and IMHO, his honesty about the difference of his position (labor) vs the position the artists find themselves in (capital) is, in a word, refreshing.

But you keep pretending that it's the same in the physical sense, which is absurd. Wonder Bread or Ford can withhold the loaf of bread or the car if you don't pay for it. The label has no way of withholding what is now just a really big number. The genie has escaped the bottle.

You keep trying to debate me as if you think I am saying "it's good" that people don't have to pay for a copy of a very long number; they way they used to have to pay for a round piece of plastic. The product is the same, but that linkage to something physical that could be "withheld" was burned a long time ago for short term gain (reselling the old catalog) without any thought to the long-term consequences (infinite copies).

I am not saying it's "good". I actually think it's "bad". OK? But unlike some people, I think bitching about it is a waste of time. I am saying that everything you "accuse" Albini (or me) of saying is merely the absolute truth of the way it is. At least the bands who hire him are going into their foolish "capitalist" ventures with their eyes open.
I'm not debating you.

I keep telling you you aren't even engaging the point of what I'm actually saying.

You're pulling your own wank. At length.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #173
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donnylang View Post
The answer is because, currently - economically, and realistically - if the artist or label cannot recoup whatever they have determined to be appropriate studio costs, then the project is essentially a vanity product, or they are operating over budget. If the market does not exist currently (for better or worse) for whatever it is they're trying to sell, they are not gonna make money on it.

This is not some opaque, complex situation. If Albini can charge whatever he charges, and bands are happy to pay that to make their record ... of course he "deserves" whatever they agree to pay him ha.
The very obvious and self-evident difference is consent.
Old 1 week ago
  #174
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For a bit longer answer...

Quote:
I am not saying it's "good". I actually think it's "bad". OK?
That's it then. We're done. If that's the case, you agree with me and disagree with Albini. That's the only point. The rest of this is a lot of hand waving and teeth gnashing and wailing about nothing.

I don't know why it's been so hard for you all to extract that and why you all insist on trying to argue that "there's no point in crying over spilt milk," when I've never claimed otherwise and even gone out of my way to state so explicitly, and then referred you all back to that statement, but this whole thing came up—as it always does—because someone has to argue against the obvious.

The obvious is that the music industry has suffered as a result of gigantic swaths of revenue that have been extracted from it involuntarily by technology that has made it possible for people to steal recorded music rather than paying for it.

That's obvious. Self-evident. Just like it would be for any industry you could name.

Now, I don't know why the tendency exists for people to deny that (I actually have a theory detailed below). It would be like me saying that I'm much more limited after becoming a vent-dependent quadriplegic in a car accident—not as a cry of despair, but a simple statement of fact—a self-evidently true statement of fact, btw—and having people tell me to shut up and stop whining because there are other ways of doing things than having working arms and legs and there's nothing I can do about it anyway and really this is the best thing that could have happened to me, and look at Stephen Hawking, he's in a wheelchair and doing great.

I know there's nothing to be done about being paralyzed. I know life is still worth living. I know I will have to learn other ways of doing things. That's not what I object to or deny. The argument becomes strictly about the refusal to admit the obvious, just as this argument has been. It's my problem with all of you and Albini in the first place, not all of the arguments you've attempted to pull out of thin air or advance despite me stating clearly that I don't oppose them.

My theory on why this is such a popular thing to be unreasonable about and ignore so much of what has been said about. I think it boils down to two things.

1. People can't handle the truth. I honestly think that people are uncomfortable confronting the fact that the industry will never be what it once was, for almost all the players involved and in pretty much all ways. People SAY they get this—in fact it's one of the main things they like to beat about my head in these discussions and accuse me of being the one who can't handle the truth, but I think they don't fully accept it.

I think that's why they imply or state that there may not be as much filthy MONEY to be made from "bad" music now, but there-is-just-as-much-great-music-being-made-now-as-ever-before-you-just-don't-know-where-to-look/you're-too-old-to-appreciate-it/etc. They have to hold onto the hope that at least some aspect of popular recorded music is still improving and will continue to improve in the foreseeable future. There's really no need for those sorts of mental/emotional gymnastics to justify staying in the music industry, though. In order to have artistic peaks there have to be artistic valleys. The next peak might not be for a couple hundred years once society evolves again. That's o.k. That's the cycle. Music is still worth pursuing even if one happens to be alive during a valley.

2. This weird thing about blaming record execs for "controlling" the music business despite the fact that not one person was ever forced to sign a recording contract—in fact, they all, every last one of them, begged for the opportunity to do so—and the complete inability to place blame on the real culprits who were obviously the people taking artist's intellectual property without permission. The only explanation I have for this one is that the people in question participated in the theft, like my debate partner above who "spent hours on Napster." Hard to put the blame where it belongs when it belongs on you.
Old 1 week ago
  #175
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norfolk martin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drpeacock View Post
I

Now, let's stop and think about that. Being honest, name as many great bands and albums as you can who formed or were released after 2000. If the band existed before 2000, the release doesn't count, as their fanbase and range of opportunities were built on the old model.

I'm going to bet that the post-2000 list is much shorter, and not just because that list is limited to a 20 year time frame. We're about to make it much shorter...

Now—being honest again—if any of the releases or bands on that list are highly derivative of something that started before 2000, cross them off.

Because the shortest list of all is, name the number of bands/releases post-2000 that really did something innovative.

I get the, "There's more great, innovative, music out now than EVER BEFORE, you just don't know where to find it," online all the time. So then I ask whoever is making the claim to post some of the examples we're talking about, and I haven't heard a single example yet that was actually innovative. What happens is that the person making the claim is simply too young to realize that someone else broke that ground 40-50 years ago.

So the old model gave us t and a hundred other flavors I could list.

What new and innovative styles have we seen since 2000?

.
To me, it’s not really possible to give a "good answer’ because of the starting premise.

You appear to start from the premise that The Beatles, and Jimi Hendrix, and James Brown, and rap, and punk, and Metallica, and reggae, and blues, and prog-rock, and country, and disco, and electronica, and trip-hop, and music videos, psychedelic rock, soul and R&B, surf music and shoegaze and alternative rock and southern rock and doom metal and glam rock and psychobilly and ska are GOOD and desirable expressions of high creative quality .

To someone from my generation they were.

But so much of your posts sounds identical to the critiques jazz fans were making 50 years earlier that “a sophisticated innovative age of music and creativity that has touched all genres is being replaced by simplistic formulaic nonsense.”
To quote a recent New York Times editorial with which I agree, Rock is now where jazz was in the early 1980s. Its form is mostly fixed. From Louis Armstrong in the 1920s to Duke Ellington in the ’30s to Charlie Parker in the ’50s to Miles Davis in the ’60s, jazz evolved at superspeed and never looked over its shoulder. In the early 1980s, it began slowing down and looking back.
Innovation within the confines of a Genre is very easy in the earliest days of the form, and very hard when it is fully mature. I would speculate that perhaps you (and I) find little innovative in newer music not because innovation has stopped, but because what is innovative is not to our taste. It is not to our tase because the 50s/60s form that everything you mentions hails from is played out. It’s not possible to innovate much within it – it’s all been done. “Classical” classis music couldn’t constantly give birth to new innovation without eventually becoming unlistenable to 99% of the population. Jazz explored the same road.

Imo, because there is no room for innovation that keeps the attractive parts of the genre’s you mentioned, wherever replaces them (or has already replaced them) will not be to your (or my) taste. Hence the “show me" challenge has no more worth than my Father "challenging" me ( in the late 60s) to show me a modern guitarist better than. Les Paul, or a singer better than Frank Sinatra. The result was never in doubt.

I also think that attributing the decreasing role of music in the public life to a lack of exciting and innovative content caused by business practices ignores substantial social changes that have taken place since the heyday of the bands and styles you highlighted. I grew up, I suspect like many members of Gearslutz, as a music fanatic. I lived in a tiny village in an isolated rural area. There were probably only three or four options for spare time. Watch TV with parents (Urrgh); engage in physical activities (usually chasing a muddy ball around an even muddier field and occasionally losing a tooth to an elbow or getting a knee in the nuts ) read books (which were somewhat expensive) or listen to music , which could at least be heard for free on the radio,, and bootlegged on cheap cassette tapes). The options competing for the attention of young people are now so much broader, and music would have less importance, however good it was.
Old 1 week ago
  #176
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolk martin View Post
To me, it’s not really possible to give a "good answer’ because of the starting premise.

You appear to start from the premise that The Beatles, and Jimi Hendrix, and James Brown, and rap, and punk, and Metallica, and reggae, and blues, and prog-rock, and country, and disco, and electronica, and trip-hop, and music videos, psychedelic rock, soul and R&B, surf music and shoegaze and alternative rock and southern rock and doom metal and glam rock and psychobilly and ska are GOOD and desirable expressions of high creative quality .

To someone from my generation they were.

But so much of your posts sounds identical to the critiques jazz fans were making 50 years earlier that “a sophisticated innovative age of music and creativity that has touched all genres is being replaced by simplistic formulaic nonsense.”
To quote a recent New York Times editorial with which I agree, Rock is now where jazz was in the early 1980s. Its form is mostly fixed. From Louis Armstrong in the 1920s to Duke Ellington in the ’30s to Charlie Parker in the ’50s to Miles Davis in the ’60s, jazz evolved at superspeed and never looked over its shoulder. In the early 1980s, it began slowing down and looking back.
Innovation within the confines of a Genre is very easy in the earliest days of the form, and very hard when it is fully mature. I would speculate that perhaps you (and I) find little innovative in newer music not because innovation has stopped, but because what is innovative is not to our taste. It is not to our tase because the 50s/60s form that everything you mentions hails from is played out. It’s not possible to innovate much within it – it’s all been done. “Classical” classis music couldn’t constantly give birth to new innovation without eventually becoming unlistenable to 99% of the population. Jazz explored the same road.

Imo, because there is no room for innovation that keeps the attractive parts of the genre’s you mentioned, wherever replaces them (or has already replaced them) will not be to your (or my) taste. Hence the “show me" challenge has no more worth than my Father "challenging" me ( in the late 60s) to show me a modern guitarist better than. Les Paul, or a singer better than Frank Sinatra. The result was never in doubt.

I also think that attributing the decreasing role of music in the public life to a lack of exciting and innovative content caused by business practices ignores substantial social changes that have taken place since the heyday of the bands and styles you highlighted. I grew up, I suspect like many members of Gearslutz, as a music fanatic. I lived in a tiny village in an isolated rural area. There were probably only three or four options for spare time. Watch TV with parents (Urrgh); engage in physical activities (usually chasing a muddy ball around an even muddier field and occasionally losing a tooth to an elbow or getting a knee in the nuts ) read books (which were somewhat expensive) or listen to music , which could at least be heard for free on the radio,, and bootlegged on cheap cassette tapes). The options competing for the attention of young people are now so much broader, and music would have less importance, however good it was.
I addressed this above.

It is not necessary for anyone to subjectively judge any of those genres. All I am asking for are examples of innovation. Like I said above, whether you like or "get" rap is irrelevant. One can objectively point to rap as being a musical innovation under the old model. It's emergence as a musical innovation is a fact, not an opinion. Whether someone likes it or not is the opinion part.

I'm asking for facts, not opinions.

As to the theory that there is more competition for young people's attention and music would have waned in importance no matter what, there may be some merit to that theory, but I don't buy into it as much as it's usually floated.

I was born in 1970. We had video games—I remember spending the night at other kid's houses and literally staying up all night playing video games. We had cable t.v. and VCRs/DVD players. We didn't have cell phones, but we had portable video gaming devices.

We didn't have the internet, though. And to the degree that I buy into that argument, I think that and parenting/schooling differences are the two big differentiators. We had plenty to waste time on and compete for our attention...that alone isn't why IMO.

But something changed socially between my age group and the age group maybe 15 years younger and down. We were much more independent than kids are today. We were "older" somehow in many ways. We solved many more of our own problems and lived much more in our own worlds. For example, we lived with bullying from both older kids and sometimes even teachers and it never occurred to us to run home and tattle to our parents and expect them to fix it. Doing something like that wasn't even on our radar. We also much more so arranged and managed our own social opportunities.

Today kids' parents coddle them all the way through college, literally.

I think the internet contributed by shrinking the world down to the size of a walnut and bringing it right to your front door at the click of a button. The "larger than life" status of rock/rap stars was cut off at the knees. All celebrities, really. Not enough separation to maintain that kind of image distortion.

I'm not articulating what I'm trying to say very well, but bottom line I think it has to do more with a social shift rather than more distractions. Kids these days don't identify with music like we did. It isn't an important social differentiator like it used to be. In 1985 whether you listened to R.E.M. or Megadeath or Husker Du or Whitney Houston or L.L. Cool J (or some combination thereof) actually gave big clues as to your personal social aesthetic. What kids listen to now is not relevant to them personally in the same way.

I think we used music as one way of developing our independence and forming our own identities. It's one reason we wouldn't have been caught dead listening to anything our parents would have listened to. I don't think kids today actually do this as much as we did.
Old 1 week ago
  #177
Lives for gear
 
skybluerental's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drpeacock View Post
I addressed this above.

It is not necessary for anyone to subjectively judge any of those genres. All I am asking for are examples of innovation. Like I said above, whether you like or "get" rap is irrelevant. One can objectively point to rap as being a musical innovation under the old model. It's emergence as a musical innovation is a fact, not an opinion. Whether someone likes it or not is the opinion part.

I'm asking for facts, not opinions.

As to the theory that there is more competition for young people's attention and music would have waned in importance no matter what, there may be some merit to that theory, but I don't buy into it as much as it's usually floated.

I was born in 1970. We had video games—I remember spending the night at other kid's houses and literally staying up all night playing video games. We had cable t.v. and VCRs/DVD players. We didn't have cell phones, but we had portable video gaming devices.

We didn't have the internet, though. And to the degree that I buy into that argument, I think that and parenting/schooling differences are the two big differentiators. We had plenty to waste time on and compete for our attention...that alone isn't why IMO.

But something changed socially between my age group and the age group maybe 15 years younger and down. We were much more independent than kids are today. We were "older" somehow in many ways. We solved many more of our own problems and lived much more in our own worlds. For example, we lived with bullying from both older kids and sometimes even teachers and it never occurred to us to run home and tattle to our parents and expect them to fix it. Doing something like that wasn't even on our radar. We also much more so arranged and managed our own social opportunities.

Today kids' parents coddle them all the way through college, literally.

I think the internet contributed by shrinking the world down to the size of a walnut and bringing it right to your front door at the click of a button. The "larger than life" status of rock/rap stars was cut off at the knees. All celebrities, really. Not enough separation to maintain that kind of image distortion.

I'm not articulating what I'm trying to say very well, but bottom line I think it has to do more with a social shift rather than more distractions. Kids these days don't identify with music like we did. It isn't an important social differentiator like it used to be. In 1985 whether you listened to R.E.M. or Megadeath or Husker Du or Whitney Houston or L.L. Cool J (or some combination thereof) actually gave big clues as to your personal social aesthetic. What kids listen to now is not relevant to them personally in the same way.

I think we used music as one way of developing our independence and forming our own identities. It's one reason we wouldn't have been caught dead listening to anything our parents would have listened to. I don't think kids today actually do this as much as we did.
All of this is spot on.

And many of the other things you have said in this thread.

Cognitive dissonance is at an all time high these days.
People type just to argue even if they are arguing against that which they actually believe.
Its weird and annoying.
Old 1 week ago
  #178
Gear Addict
TL;DR - I guess we all turn into our dads. Just depends on whether your dad was Neil Young (cool) or Ted Nugent (gross).

Sigh, the mollycoddle argument ... our generation (& the ones before) was so much "tougher" because we just shut up & accepted bullying (& racism, sexism, homophobia, etc) because that's just the way it is instead of demanding that it be eradicated?

Since we're speaking in generalities here ....

The kids are literally out there in the streets in the middle of a global pandemic, getting tear-gassed or worse, many of them fighting for others' equality, not their own, & you want to paint a whole generation or two as snowflakes while you bang on about how you don't have the budget anymore to sit in a studio for 16 hours while Bruce walks around hitting a snare drum?!? Well, Springsteen can still do that if he wants but you get the point.

Completely ignore the FACT that the generations who grew up with your heroes like the Beatles, Hendrix & whoever else you & Cameron Crowe worship ... those people are the ones so threatened by today's world that they've collectively elected complete incompetents like Trump & Boris, pulled UK out of Europe. Talk about mollycoddle & snowflakes.

But you do understand the crux of Albini's argument, at least. Celebrity music worship culture that you're so vested in is anathema to Albini & the scene he came from. If you could look past your own experience, you may see why it may be distasteful to some -- this idea that whole generations of people would define so much of their identities via corporate products designed to the lowest common denominator sold through people they don't know, have little chance of ever meeting & don't care about them on a personal level. "Look how unique & independent I am, rocking out to this album that 10 million other people bought too & dressing just like the person on the album cover!!!" Sounds like The Matrix to me but keeping raging against that machine, man!

But I get that you have a problem with Albini's hint of hypocrisy there, in that he benefited to a large extent from his interactions with a system that he derides loudly. I've always held Ian Mackaye (Fugazi, Rites of Spring, Dischord Records) as the gold standard for that ideal.

Today's selfie generation would rather worship themselves (to an obnoxiously annoying degree) than worship some egotistical rock star who's built an existence to separate themselves from their fans. As I asked you before, what makes a corporate, celebrity-fueled culture so great? It's given us a country where half the people don't believe in SCIENCE, think face masks are an affront to God & freedom & a celebrity president who's let tens of thousands of people die in the last few months.

It's not the kids who created the Idiocracy ...WE DID. Maybe they'll make it worse but we're hardly ones to talk.

As for music innovation, here's an entire album culled entirely from cell phone recordings in West Africa. Sure, no music industry corporation profited much from the release of this album but it's a perfect intersection of what's possible in today's technology-driven world:

https://sahelsounds.bandcamp.com/alb...ran-cellphones

I'd choose this any day over a world where more Motley Crues were still possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drpeacock View Post
But something changed socially between my age group and the age group maybe 15 years younger and down. We were much more independent than kids are today. We were "older" somehow in many ways. We solved many more of our own problems and lived much more in our own worlds. For example, we lived with bullying from both older kids and sometimes even teachers and it never occurred to us to run home and tattle to our parents and expect them to fix it. Doing something like that wasn't even on our radar. We also much more so arranged and managed our own social opportunities.

Today kids' parents coddle them all the way through college, literally.

I think the internet contributed by shrinking the world down to the size of a walnut and bringing it right to your front door at the click of a button. The "larger than life" status of rock/rap stars was cut off at the knees. All celebrities, really. Not enough separation to maintain that kind of image distortion.

I'm not articulating what I'm trying to say very well, but bottom line I think it has to do more with a social shift rather than more distractions. Kids these days don't identify with music like we did. It isn't an important social differentiator like it used to be. In 1985 whether you listened to R.E.M. or Megadeath or Husker Du or Whitney Houston or L.L. Cool J (or some combination thereof) actually gave big clues as to your personal social aesthetic. What kids listen to now is not relevant to them personally in the same way.

I think we used music as one way of developing our independence and forming our own identities. It's one reason we wouldn't have been caught dead listening to anything our parents would have listened to. I don't think kids today actually do this as much as we did.
Old 1 week ago
  #179
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norfolk martin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drpeacock View Post
For example, we lived with bullying from both older kids and sometimes even teachers and it never occurred to us to run home and tattle to our parents and expect them to fix it. Doing something like that wasn't even on our radar. .
You just lost me there.

I was a small underweight nerdy kid in a tough school that has a number of kids who liked to hit other kids and enjoyed it.

The only way to kid can " deal with this" without appealing to an adult is TO REPEATEDLY BE BEATEN UP or TRY AND EVEN THE PHYSICAL DISPARITY BY TAKING A WEAPON TO SCHOOL. That would have landed me in the juvenile system and F***ed my life completely.

This ridiculous idea that bullies can be deterred if you "stand up for yourself" might be cool in young adult fiction, but it doesn't work much in real life. They just loved for the victim to show any sign of resistance, so they could hit harder.

And yes, I did survive it. And I did go on to a successful life SO WHAT? You'd survive a swift kick in the stones , but does make it a good thing?
Old 1 week ago
  #180
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolk martin View Post
You just lost me there.

I was a small underweight nerdy kid in a tough school that has a number of kids who liked to hit other kids and enjoyed it.

The only way to kid can " deal with this" without appealing to an adult is TO REPEATEDLY BE BEATEN UP or TRY AND EVEN THE PHYSICAL DISPARITY BY TAKING A WEAPON TO SCHOOL. That would have landed me in the juvenile system and F***ed my life completely.

This ridiculous idea that bullies can be deterred if you "stand up for yourself" might be cool in young adult fiction, but it doesn't work much in real life. They just loved for the victim to show any sign of resistance, so they could hit harder.

And yes, I did survive it. And I did go on to a successful life SO WHAT? You'd survive a swift kick in the stones , but does make it a good thing?
I didn't say it was a good thing, or that it put hair on your chest, or made a man out of you or was in any way desirable or anything like that.

The point of that was that my peers and I growing up related differently to social interactions than kids do today, and I believe that those differences at least in part explain why kids relate to music differently today and I think it's a better and more accurate explanation than simply, "Kids have more competition for their attention today."

It didn't have a single thing to do with bullying being good for anybody, and no one breathed a single syllable about the relative wisdom of standing up to a bully.

Good grief you people have limited reading comprehension.
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