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Damn...read the "kill home studio" thread - some food for thought
Old 10th August 2005
  #1
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Damn...read the "kill home studio" thread - some food for thought

Of all the arts, I think that music has progressed the least - and that the producer has become the least innovative relative to other art forms. Ergo the collapse of the "big studio" and the rise of the "project studio". Furthermore, this has also lead to "cookie cutter" pop music, and a general waining of the improtance of music as part of what makes our culture.

The main argument has been that the masses are dumb, and don't appreciate good music and production, and that "Big Business" is very responsible for this.

I think this is an excuse, and a flawed argument. Lets look at the movie business. It's bigger than the music industry, very limited access to distribution compared to the music industry, and simply a much higher price of admittion to play the game. YET, the audience is more sophisticated, and the "lowest common denominator" bar is raised higher year after year and the industry continues to flourish. "Art House" theatres are growing succesfully in markets all over the world, and independant films are garnering great respect & appreciation. Of course there's still alot of bubblegum being produced, but more and more it's becoming the least lucrative of the genres. Even childrens movies are more sophisticated and artistic, so much so that the parents actually can enjoy the feature along with their children. Foreign Flims are winning "BEST MOVIE" awards outside of the token "Foreign Film Catagories" (With box office sales to match) and low budget independant films are doing likewise such as "Sideways" & on the other end of the spectrum "Napoleon Dynamite".

So what gives? The industry has all the ingredients for disaster (Big business, stupid audience, limited access) that we blame the state of the music industry on, yet the movie indsutry is moving in a positive direction. I believe if you answer this question, you can see where the music industry is failing.

My observations:

Firstly, the movie industry recognizes the importance of great scripts, great acting, and great direction. And puts their money where their mouth is - but this is the obvious and there is no point dwelling here.

The big thing I see is how the movie industry has embraced technology and have used it for the benefit of the audience, and not just as a resource for cost savings. They continually strive to make the audience feel they are part of the movie using surround sound techniques and visual techniques as well as special effects to enhance the experience. So successfull this has become that people build home entertainment systems to take full advantage and bring this experience to their living rooms - HD, 5.1, bigger and bigger screens etc. Inspite of sattelite TV and the net, we still go to blockbuster for our favorite new release so we can enjoy it in it's full glory, rather than sub par visual and audio.

What have we done in the music industry? The last big thing was stereo 40 years ago. Big deal, it's not that great anymore. You want to blame Sony or Apple for 44.1/16 or Mp3? What else were they supposed to do, we've done nothing to enhance the listeners experience in 40 years - so they concentrated on convenience. What about studios? Most of the technological advances have been used for cost savings (DAW) and are looked upon with disdain and propogated the myth that good sound comes from expensive desks, tape, and gizmo's and that technology is a compromise between financial concerns and fidelity.

The movie industry reconized early that the medium used to produce films is not a question of good or bad, but rather a form that has an emotional attachment to the audience that can be used to tastefully enhance a good script and performance. What's better, black and white film or color? Neither, black & white still finds its way in films because it imparts an emotional impact, or feel. Scratchy super 8 is still used for effect. The movie "Sideways" tipped it's hat to a mid '70s style of filming, direction, and editing. BUT it didn't make the movie. The script and the performance made the movie, and the mentioned techniques used added flavor to enhance the emotional impact.

So whay are the big studio's failing? IMO they did nothing to take music production and the experience of listening to music to a new level. A Neve desk, U47, and a Studer 16 track is just one tone. And a familiar tone. Deciding somewhere down the line that this is "Good Tone" by which all others should be judged by is fatal. Apparently that's just not good enough to make the difference anymore and the project studio is catching up pretty quickly to this 30 year old technology and competing for the listeners ear.

I don't know what the answer is, but for gawds sake, with the advent of 5.1 technology we should have been all over that like a dirty shirt. Mp3's???? Have fun, I'm sitting in the living room listening to Led Zepplin from John Bonhams seat. After that I'm gonna push a button and listen to it from Jimmy Page's spot...then the audience, then..... man next month they're coming out with the live DVD version where you actually get to watch and hear the show from all the different positions! Napster..mp3s...stereo... BORING!!!!! I get to be Jimmy Page for an hour [email protected]!!!!!!!

Look, it's up to the artists to create great music, it's up to the producer/director/big studio to create the experience. We have to compete against against some really great entertainment experiences. Tube mics, tape machines, and analog boards - while familiar sounding isn't going to cut it. Mono is to silent flims, as stereo is to black and white. All have their place in the color palatte, but do nothing to raise the bar for the audience experience. Re-invigorate the culture of music and the demand for quality will follow suit.
Old 10th August 2005
  #2
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7 Hz's Avatar
I don't agree at all.

You have a tainted and narrow view of the musical world.

Stop complaining, start doing.

And we dont need 5.1 for music, no one sits in the middle of a stage when a band is playing. If you cant say it with mono, it isn't music.
Old 10th August 2005
  #3
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Actually, I'm not complaining - I'm responding to the complainers to take responsibilty.

Quote:
If you cant say it with mono, it isn't music.
Funny you called me narrow minded heh . Anyhow, it's just my opinion and observation. If you feel the music industry is progressing in a positive direction - I salute you and your dedication to mono.
Old 10th August 2005
  #4
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5.1 is for ******s. If you can't make a killer song in mono or stereo, spreading your **** out across 5 channels won't make a **** of a difference
Old 10th August 2005
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kestral
5.1 is for ******s. If you can't make a killer song in mono or stereo, spreading your **** out across 5 channels won't make a **** of a difference

You obviously never heard Loreena McKennitt on a 5.1 system.
Old 10th August 2005
  #6
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He's saying if your mix can't hold its own in mono its not going to translate well. Sorry to put you on the spot but do you even record music, whats your role? Some of your analogies and comparisons are very illthought and make no sense coming from an experienced engineer. And yes many companies are striving for better, have any microphone company's made a microphone that does what the human ear does, no but they are getting even flatter and quicker, is there such thing as a completely transparent preamp, no but we are getting closer and closer as the years progress.
Old 10th August 2005
  #7
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Kats, your post was so full of contradictions it seemed like a joke - was it?

IMHO of course
Old 10th August 2005
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Youn
Kats, your post was so full of contradictions it seemed like a joke - was it?
Next thing you know, he'll be offering to pay ten bucks a drum sample and asking us how to Autotune a vocal without knowing the key to the song heh
Old 10th August 2005
  #9
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you are totally wrong sir ( I dont mean that in a condescending way )

the music industry is failing for many reasons but its is not the music
the music is there ( and will always be ) even if it's not being put in the spot light

but rather some no talent ****** like ashlee simpson , or one of these so called artists
I hear with autotune all across their cd . Also Every musician I know ( personally )

plays these games with projects studios where they'll go there as long as its free
the guy says yes thinking they'll like what they hear and will come back

but the next day they are at some other project studio playing the same game
And its not the fact that people are recording on an Mbox .......but its the fact that

that's all they seem to do and never get past it .

just MO
Old 10th August 2005
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missilanious
He's saying if your mix can't hold its own in mono its not going to translate well. Sorry to put you on the spot but do you even record music, whats your role? Some of your analogies and comparisons are very illthought and make no sense coming from an experienced engineer. And yes many companies are striving for better, have any microphone company's made a microphone that does what the human ear does, no but they are getting even flatter and quicker, is there such thing as a completely transparent preamp, no but we are getting closer and closer as the years progress.

You got it backwards. If it sounds even okay on mono or stereo, if properly mixed, on a good 5.1 system, it'll sound awesome. It's a huge difference.

You think think the movie theaters should yank out their surround systems and install mono, just for the sake of "purity"???? Bull sh.....t.
Old 10th August 2005
  #11
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soundeslutz's Avatar
 

you have no idea what you are talking about, isnt the movie industry in a huge slump because they have been putting out crap for too long?
oh great another batman!!!!! huge block busterhit
comon main, use that thing in your head, we call it a brain around here.
Old 10th August 2005
  #12
Art
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Art's Avatar
 

I feel pretty much the opposite way from the original post. I feel that too much time is placed into messing around with technology and trying to make things sound too hi-fi. This in my opinion is ONE of the reasons that the radio music today is missing something.

Technology like 5.1 is nice as an enhancement for already good product like Floyd of Led, but it certainly won't make me want to listen to something that I don't enjoy, just to simply hear it in 5.1.


I think the music industry would be much better off if technology was more limited and the artists had to be more creative to write good music. Of course many say that the technology is just a tool and I completely agree, but for many these days it is the only tool, and you can tell in their music.

I think if the original post were true, people would not be so interested in listening to albums recorded in the 50,60,70's, 80's, but this is simply not the case, there is something about good songwriting that keeps these old songs and albums alive.

Art
Old 10th August 2005
  #13
OMG that thread has gotten so big its reproducing.
Old 10th August 2005
  #14
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kats
Firstly, the movie industry recognizes the importance of great scripts, great acting, and great direction. And puts their money where their mouth is - but this is the obvious and there is no point dwelling here.
Actually, no need to dwell, but rather just stop there. This is most, if not all of the problem!

The labels are to blame: When was the last time they invested in originality and artist integrity? Where is the "Art House" venues for original music artists? Where is the support or the means to make money? Yes, movie distribution and music distribution are both severely limited. This means you must get approval of the "gatekeepers". In movies, you have much more investment in new development (smaller subsidiaries) and you have all sorts of independent festivals which expose, promote and motivate unknown talents.

Musicians and music artists can go a couple different ways: do something that sounds "now" in an effort to get some support money from a label, or do their original music that gets little or no support from radio, venues, or the community at large - thereby making little or no money.

Clubs pay sh*t for original music. Yes, it's possible with a full time effort to do gorilla marketing on the internet, sell your CD online, play shows for little or no money just to get the word out, and then make even a few thousand dollars on selling your CDs. Yes, people have shown it to be possible. But it takes a group of extremely dedicated people to be poor for a long time to, in the end, make just enough money to decide to conform to what the labels want (today's sound) or quit. Some types of music don't even lend themselves to it. Like R&B/soul songwriters who want and need a full band to promote themselves, but can't afford to pay the players they need.

I know and have known so many talented artists and musicians and songwriters that will probably never see the light of day due to the current state of the industry. What's needed is the support structure so that talented writers, musicians, and performers can collaborate to make a greater result. But since the support isn't there (money), what we have is a fragmentation of individuals working seperately and cheaply. Really, just doing what they can.

Good music, good songwriting, good performance - that's all that is required to have a worthwhile experience with music. So please, don't try to tell me it's not the labels/industries' fault.

Of course this is my experience. YMMV
Old 10th August 2005
  #15
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7 Hz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by djwayne
You think think the movie theaters should yank out their surround systems and install mono, just for the sake of "purity"???? Bull sh.....t.
That's not the point at all.

5.1 is fine for movies. Also MAY be OK for some music (maybe classical with rear ambience?)

BUT switching all music to 5.1 won't make a blind bit of difference to the majority of punters and their appreciation of music. The emotional impact and 'resolution' is the same mono or 5.1. We cannot lean on technology all the time to create the 'best new thing since sliced bread'. Music is about the SONGS/TUNES first and foremost, not any format or super fidelity issues.

All this iPod paranoia is funny as well... "ooh, all these consummers want is crap sounding music on tinny headphones" -- uh, you know that walkmen have been around for decades, right? Remember when we had crappy cassette copies of our music.. what has changed?
Old 10th August 2005
  #16
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7 Hz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by h2000
I know and have known so many talented artists and musicians and songwriters that will probably never see the light of day due to the current state of the industry. What's needed is the support structure so that talented writers, musicians, and performers can collaborate to make a greater result.
So get off your ass and do it!

The main ****ing problem is everyone always thinks 'someone else' should do it, and are happy to sit and moan. If you can see the way to make it better, STFU and make it better! Start a goddamed label! Start a music club! put on gigs!

We need more of the punk DIY ethic, and less of the moaning and complaining.
Old 10th August 2005
  #17
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Have you even listened to ANY DVD-A's ??? It's not about basic content but about the listening experience....it's much, much cooler to listen to music in 5.1 when you can. Check out David Crosby's "Live From The Front Row", DVD-A, it's better than actually being there.

It's 2 dimensional sound, and if you take the time to get into it, you'll never want to go back to plain old stereo. But if YOUR too busy wanking it, I suppose you'll never know.

Old 10th August 2005
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7 Hz
So get off your ass and do it!

The main ****ing problem is everyone always thinks 'someone else' should do it, and are happy to sit and moan. If you can see the way to make it better, STFU and make it better! Start a goddamed label! Start a music club! put on gigs!

We need more of the punk DIY ethic, and less of the moaning and complaining.
I'm doing what I can. Sh*t I'm working for free for some of these folks! And I ain't rich by any means. You want to lend me the money?

I've always had a DIY attitude. It's who I am, actually.

My only point to the original post was that if you have a support (investment) structure in place for developing artists, and then you take it away.... well, then you have to expect that these are the results.
Old 10th August 2005
  #19
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7 Hz's Avatar
Fair enough h2000, but don't work for free, we all need business models and sustainable enterprise after all.


@ djwayne - I want to 'speak' to everyone, worldwide, on everything from a wind-up radio to whatever. I am not interested in mixing music on 5.1. if you are, go for it mate. If we all liked the same things, the world would be a boring place...
Old 10th August 2005
  #20
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I think the problem with the industry is people need to stop working for free. This isn't open source Linux we're talking about here
Old 10th August 2005
  #21
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7 Hz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kestral
This isn't open source Linux we're talking about here
So how come I can download every recorded event in the last 100 years for free then?

Old 10th August 2005
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kats
Lets look at the movie business. It's bigger than the music industry
(edit)
So what gives?
Humans are, by nature, visually driven. That's why the movie business is bigger, that's why video editors get paid a whole lot more, that's why a hot chick with no personalilty will get hit on more than an average chick with something more going for her than her looks.
Old 10th August 2005
  #23
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kestral
I think the problem with the industry is people need to stop working for free. This isn't open source Linux we're talking about here
Well that depends what end of the industry you are on, but I see your point.

Don't worry, I'm not taking any business from you. I only work free with artists that I am co-writing with (so I do have an interest)!
Old 10th August 2005
  #24
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dolo's Avatar
 

i record and mix in surround as well as soud esign for independent filmmakes. although i love the hell out of dvd-a it is not the end all. i do think that it starts with ourselves. great pre amps, new technology is only tools to express the talent and not the other way around. yes the indusrty has narrowed the path of what type of music makes money. but imo if there is less comformity to it and more of us doing our own thing (naking nusic, giging, started our own labels, etc) eventually we can turn this around. i know that there are a lot people out there doing these things now. it just that a lot of sometime give into being stars, making the dollars a lot more than making good music.

you don't need 5.1 listen to some of the old blues and jazz records that was recorded inless than ideal situations that we love today. however, so music in 5.1 is breath taking. to each it's on really.

everyone has a different song in there heart. the only thing you can hope is that be true to it.
Old 10th August 2005
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mersisblue
you are totally wrong sir ( I dont mean that in a condescending way )

the music industry is failing for many reasons but its is not the music
the music is there ( and will always be ) even if it's not being put in the spot light

but rather some no talent ****** like ashlee simpson , or one of these so called artists
I hear with autotune all across their cd . Also Every musician I know ( personally )

plays these games with projects studios where they'll go there as long as its free
the guy says yes thinking they'll like what they hear and will come back

but the next day they are at some other project studio playing the same game
And its not the fact that people are recording on an Mbox .......but its the fact that

that's all they seem to do and never get past it .

just MO

Hey f_ck head, why you pickin' on sweet little Ashlee ?? Do your homework, Over 3 million cd sales, sold out 40 city tour, she's grossing about $30+ million this year...that's failing ???????
Old 10th August 2005
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h2000
Well that depends what end of the industry you are on, but I see your point.

Don't worry, I'm not taking any business from you. I only work free with artists that I am co-writing with (so I do have an interest)!
Not worried at all. I think we have a different client base and offer different services (assuming you are a project studio).

My "client base" is the type that's looking for a pro level demo for majors or a pro album quality product. That's why I track with Neve 1073, UA 1176 and other generally "pro" end gear. I also have a day job that I LOVE so my time is limited. I look for artists that I think will go somewhere and have something. I don't need to record every clown out there with no money and even less talent who has visions of becoming a pop star for free. I pick and choose projects I like and think has potential. Also I tend to prefer working in situations where there are co-writing opporunities or where the artist needs songs or wants to do one I have already. I started off first and foremost as a songwriter and the songs are most important to me. I don't need this business to buy food or to pay rent, which lets me filter out the ******s to a larger degree but when I do a project, I go into it intending to make money from my services. No freebies. I've found that even if it's someone I'd gladly work for free for, if I don't charge them, they don't respect my time or what I'm offering. But I charge and there's professional respect and courtesy. So I insist upon it. I don't get many projects, but the few projects I've done have gone on to enough success that I get asked to do further projects down the road. Less is more.
Old 10th August 2005
  #27
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So what you're saying is you only screw people with talent ??

That's nice to know.
Old 10th August 2005
  #28
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Whoa! First off let me preface this with two things. It's only my opinion, and number two, the 5.1 remark was an example I gave - not the answer. That's why I prefaced that with "I don't know the answer but..."

Anyhow I don't take this stuff personally, but if you feel I've made contradtictions etc. tell me where. I'd appreciate it and like to engage - maybe I learn something out of it.

Now back on topic. I'm responding to the consensus of the last thread on this subject where most people felt the state of the industry is due to dumb audiences and big business. My point is that I think this is incorrect and use the movie industry to make an example of how they used technology for the audiences experience, and how the music industry has not.

You can face reality or not. People preffer to watch "The Movie" than read the book. I'm not saying the book isn't better, just stating the reality. Music is becoming more and more a background activity. In the elevator, while we eat, while we exercise, and while make love. Listening to an album as an event in in itself is not as popular as it once was with this new generation. There's just too much entertainment competition. If your not sitting down with the purpose of enjoying a new album and all it's nuances, how do you expect musical tastes to mature, and how do you expect the demand for quality rise?

So my point is that the experience has to be more exciting if you want to recapture the magic the older generations felt when they entertained themselves with music. I don't think you can blame big business or the audience because we refuse to do anything new.
Old 10th August 2005
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djwayne
So what you're saying is you only screw people with talent ??

That's nice to know.
Wow, I think someone has just jumped the shark
Old 10th August 2005
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kats
So my point is that the experience has to be more exciting if you want to recapture the magic the older generations felt when they entertained themselves with music.
Newsflash. Many people entertain themselves with music. What makes you assume that people don't sit down with their favorite albums and listen to it's entirety including the nuances? Where do you think all of those Ipods went that have been sold? You're trying to impose your view of reality on others. I feel that magic everytime I hear a great song that reminds me of something good in my life.

I've listened to my Ipod nonstop for over 2 hours at a time. People do that with CD's also. They start a CD playlist and go about the business of cleaning the house, driving to work, fixing the car or just sitting back with a smoldering joint and/or a glass of red wine. They'll run to the player to roll back and repeat that part they just love, that sweet solo, that great bridge. They couldn't care less what Sony or some other record company or some engineer like me or the industry in general is doing or isn't doing. While someone is talking about how the industry is killing good music, they're enjoying good music distributed by that very industry.

We take ourselves and our industry way too seriously sometimes.

Lawrence
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