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The End of Music: There’s plenty of music already, so why bother making more?
Old 25th November 2009
  #1
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The End of Music: There’s plenty of music already, so why bother making more?

The End of Music - Opinionator Blog - NYTimes.com e


We seem to be on the edge of a paradigm shift. Orchestras are struggling to stay alive, rock has been relegated to the underground, jazz has stopped evolving and become a dead art, the music industry itself has been subsumed by corporate culture and composers are at their wit’s end trying to find something that’s hip but still appeals to an audience mired in a 19th-century sensibility.



For more than half a century we’ve seen incredible advances in sound technology but very little if any advance in the quality of music. In this case the paradigm shift may not be a shift but a dead stop. Is it that people just don’t want to hear anything new? Or is it that composers and musicians have simply swallowed the pomo line that nothing else new can be done, which ironically is really just the “old, old story.”

Certainly music itself is not dead. We’ll continue to hear something approximating it blaring in shopping malls, fast food stops, clothing stores and wherever else it will mesmerize the consumer into excitedly pulling out their credit card or debit card or whatever might be coming.

There’s no question that in music, like politics, the bigger the audience gets the more the “message” has to be watered down. Muzak’s been around for a long time now but maybe people just can’t tell the difference anymore. Maybe even the composers and songwriters can’t tell the difference either. Especially when it’s paying for a beach house in Malibu and a condo in New York.

Of course, we could all just listen to all of our old albums, CD’s and mp3’s. In fact, nowadays that’s where the industry makes most of its money. We could also just watch old movies and old TV shows. There are a lot of them now. Why bother making any new ones? Why bother doing anything new at all? Why bother having any change or progress at all as long as we’ve got “growth”? I’m just wondering if this is in fact the new paradigm. I’m just wondering if in fact the new music is just the old music again. And, if that in fact it would actually just be the end of music.
Old 25th November 2009
  #2
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My history's not perfect, so apologies, but I've often thought that at lesat since about the early 1980s we've been in a stage of musical development akin to the transition in the early 17th century from the sublime and sophisticated polyphony to the dramatic but blunt force homophony of opera. This change was forced upon music by the demand for intelligibility of the singers.

At first, the music was simplistic - the whole orchestra just bleated big triads, in an extension of the 'familiar style' of polyphony. But of course we soon got Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms...

Today we are moving from acoustic to electronic/computer music. We are in that same transition, so we have Britney and Lady Gaga. If history repeats, they will soon go!
Old 25th November 2009
  #3
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never really thought much about it before but i see a parallel between what your saying about music and the pharmaceutical industry.
Old 25th November 2009
  #4
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I just hope MP3s dont continue to gain in popularity! I need to have the real thing, I will go crazy if CDs go away completely. That would be a very sad day but It seems to be happening more and more. Thanks to the Stupid Ipod lol ! Apple I am not a fan of that dam thing please take them away !
Old 25th November 2009
  #5
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dfegad (Ipod)
Old 25th November 2009
  #6
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" For more than half a century we’ve seen incredible advances in sound technology but very little if any advance in the quality of music. "

what the f*** ?

i disagree with that, but i agree that most musicians have stopped thinking they could create something NEW.

instead, they buy fender guitars, find a bassist and a drummer, and make the same music their grand parents did, just cleaner.
Old 25th November 2009
  #7
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There's plenty of people already, so why bother making more?
Old 25th November 2009
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revmen View Post
There's plenty of people already, so why bother making more?
Ha ha! So true...especially since they all suck more than they used to and there's no place to park...or have they always sucked about the same...or are they all special, each and every one...

There's plenty of questions about music, and how it awful it is, or was, or will be, why bother asking more?

There's plenty of opinions, why bother sharing mine?
Old 25th November 2009
  #9
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there are plenty of new original music arround, you just need to check more than the top 40 or your mainstream radio. New music styles appear in the underground, not in the mainstream. And because cd sales goes down, you don't see them in the mainstream anymore and a lot originate from so called '3th world countries.

A lot of them are electronic music (dupstep, IDM, futur dub, breakcore, ...) or blend urban/electronic (kuduro, coupé decalé, baila funk, baltimore, bassline ...) but even in the acoustic/live music there are new styles (Balkan beat, Gypsy ska, Mestizo, ...) that come up.

In the US i see no new stuff, luckely i live in Europe where the underground always has been rather strong and is encouraged by a lot of gouverment and non gouverment organisations.

that rock is death concerning new styles is known, idem dito with hiphop and rnb (altough crunk did change some things a few years ago, wich can be good or bad) but that's normal, old music disappear and new music takes over. This has always been the case and shall always be like that. Just look further than you do now and don't be narrow minded.
Old 25th November 2009
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revmen View Post
There's plenty of people already, so why bother making more?
Or energy drinks
Old 25th November 2009
  #11
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Sk106's Avatar
 

Like saying that music is a to be seen as a public service phenomenon ...

Why speak? so much have been said already
Old 25th November 2009
  #12
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I remember back in the eighties when I was in Arizona a
friend said pretty much the same thing as if everything good
had already been recorded and out. I said that's not true,
music is always evolving. Now whether you think it's evolving
in your favor is another issue but it never stops. I like music
from every era since the early sixties. If you search you will
find great music that's new now. It's just too bad bubblegum
music is so widespread. Kid crap is too much the focus on radio.

Daniel
Old 25th November 2009
  #13
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There are plenty threads already, so why .........
Old 25th November 2009
  #14
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In the immortal words of Sgt. Hulka in Stripes: Lighten up, Francis.

Music will change at its own pace. Like the larger concept of "life," it is a force that will keep on going regardless of what we do (or fail to do).

I thoroughly enjoy GS, but I swear, the amount of hand-wringing that goes on about the state of music is such a waste of energy, energy that could be better put to use by making better music.

The people who seem to worry the most are the people who make a living as part of the current (or recent past) music industry. For those of you who fit that description, yes, the future is going to suck, because it is going to be full of uncertainty. There may, or may not, be things that can be done to help your plight. We'll see. But, to worry about whether "music will die" is, frankly, above your pay grade.
Old 25th November 2009
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaolin View Post
Today we are moving from acoustic to electronic/computer music. We are in that same transition, so we have Britney and Lady Gaga. If history repeats, they will soon go!
I think the relationship between computers and music production is going to continue to evolve. While Britney and other top forty sensations portray a less interesting view of this relationship, other bands are able to use electronic elements in a very natural way. My best example is Radiohead (but I am also thinking about Broken Social Scene, especially their earlier stuff); Radiohead is a band that to me exemplifies a more sophisticated relationship with machines. I am speaking not only of their loop-based elements, which are often spoken about, but their creative fx, mixing and editing techniques. Something like editing audio is often associated with the general goal of covering up abnormality to make something sound real...so it is awesome to me when I hear weird fades, parts of comps that don't totally match, or a wierd arrangement creatively used that would only be possible with a computer. This to me is similar to the way the beatles would slow down and speed up tape so they could play parts too fast or sing parts too high for them - they used the tools available to get a sound they wanted. Many creative people are going to rejuvenate music made with a computer. The future of music to me is cyborg music, part man, part machine; not too many things on the grid, not afraid to use any tool available - whether these be softsynths, samples, or loops - while keeping the music intelligent and feeling good. I think these albums exemplify the beginnings of what I am talking about.


Broken Social Scene - Feel Good Lost
Birds and Batteries(Local SF band, NOT MINE) - Villain
Radiohead - In Rainbows
Old 25th November 2009
  #16
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la grange's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gsilbers View Post
The End of Music - Opinionator Blog - NYTimes.com e


We seem to be on the edge of a paradigm shift. Orchestras are struggling to stay alive, rock has been relegated to the underground, jazz has stopped evolving and become a dead art, the music industry itself has been subsumed by corporate culture and composers are at their wit’s end trying to find something that’s hip but still appeals to an audience mired in a 19th-century sensibility.



For more than half a century we’ve seen incredible advances in sound technology but very little if any advance in the quality of music. In this case the paradigm shift may not be a shift but a dead stop. Is it that people just don’t want to hear anything new? Or is it that composers and musicians have simply swallowed the pomo line that nothing else new can be done, which ironically is really just the “old, old story.”

Certainly music itself is not dead. We’ll continue to hear something approximating it blaring in shopping malls, fast food stops, clothing stores and wherever else it will mesmerize the consumer into excitedly pulling out their credit card or debit card or whatever might be coming.

There’s no question that in music, like politics, the bigger the audience gets the more the “message” has to be watered down. Muzak’s been around for a long time now but maybe people just can’t tell the difference anymore. Maybe even the composers and songwriters can’t tell the difference either. Especially when it’s paying for a beach house in Malibu and a condo in New York.

Of course, we could all just listen to all of our old albums, CD’s and mp3’s. In fact, nowadays that’s where the industry makes most of its money. We could also just watch old movies and old TV shows. There are a lot of them now. Why bother making any new ones? Why bother doing anything new at all? Why bother having any change or progress at all as long as we’ve got “growth”? I’m just wondering if this is in fact the new paradigm. I’m just wondering if in fact the new music is just the old music again. And, if that in fact it would actually just be the end of music.

every 3rd musician is or has been making a record, or CD, or whatever medium they use.
There for the percentage uninteresting music is increasing.
The accesibility of recording gear is a double sided weapon. You get unearthed some awesome stuff but you have to get by some really bad music too.
Now to state your opening line, man, you don't get out that often or you're not interesting in looking for new good music. To say that Jazz is a dead form and doesn't evolve is really not knowing much about the subject.
And to add that Rock is relegated to the underground..........I am not sure what you mean but sales of rock band are still good compare to pop and electro where the most of the piracy happens.
No seriously, you had a good idea for a thread but more home work would have, maybe, saved you.

Oli
Old 25th November 2009
  #17
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narcoman's Avatar
 

the POINT if music is self expression. If someone else GETs that point is another thing. To deny making music is to deny human beings from expressing them self. The article is dick wad.
Old 25th November 2009
  #18
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there is one answer to the title of your thread: because making music is FUN!!!


Furthermore good and new music happens, but as said before in the underground, not in the mainstream/top40
Old 25th November 2009
  #19
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there is one answer to the title of your thread: because making music is FUN!!!


Furthermore good and new music happens, but as said before in the underground, not in the mainstream/top40
Old 25th November 2009
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musicbydesign View Post
If you search you will
find great music that's new now. It's just too bad bubblegum
music is so widespread. Kid crap is too much the focus on radio.
+1. The original subject is a bit silly, it just means that the op doesn't know where to find the music anymore and his original sources dried up. But as far as radio goes: radio only plays what is commercially interesting, and if it's true that you need to pay to get airplay, then radio is the last place where you can find refreshingly original music. If it's all about cash, the musical equivalent of the hamburger wins.
Old 25th November 2009
  #21
Too much music, not enough time. Like any commodity, it's a supply and demand thing.

Too much supply right now, not enough demand. Since the supply is basically free, no money to be made either.

Music has transformed into a glorious hobby for most, everyone has a guitar. They have a band maybe, or get together to play Rock Band. Karaoke is popular for aspiring American Idol wanna bees. Everyone's a star in their own mind.

Photography was once the domain of pro's with expensive gear. Now everyone has digital cameras, photo shop and I see folks trying to sell their pics at local crafts fairs. I see local musicians selling their CD's there too. Meanwhile, there are no record stores left except for a few mom and pop outfits.

If an honest person was looking at music as a career choice, they might want to research the economic potential as it may make a better hobby than vocation for many. That has been researched well by Best Buy and others that realize a weekend warrior musician will provide far better profits than to specialize to the remaining pros. Guitar Center has been promoting that angle for years now.

So, what are the remaining rats on the sinking ship to do? I'd be looking for a lifeboat.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 25th November 2009
  #22
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Shameless plug because I just did a song about this topic.

But the long and short of it: music will continue...it's our attitudes and business paradigms that we will continually fret about.


The Winds of Time (link)

They cried the music's dead it's such a mortal sin
All because Bob Dylan plugged his guitar in
Well the music still is playin' on in other hearts and souls
Cuz it's always into filling empty holes
As long as folks keep singing the music's gonna change
And as we all grow older we will miss those early days
Cuz the sound that moved us won't move the next in line
And the music keeps on blowin' in the winds of time

They cut Elvis in half said his gyratin' will not fly
Said the Beatle's sinned for praising getting high
It doesn't matter how old you are you'll probably recall
Some old folks saying this ain't music at all
And it will be the death of us and kids these days are fools
I can't believe they let this noise play in public schools
Cuz the sounds that moved us don't move the next in line
And the music keeps on blowin' in the winds of time

Every generation finds its own inner beat
And it's the older music that blows the new stuff down the street

Madonna's teaching all the girls to act like prostitutes
And all these rappers sing about their bling and getting guns to shoot
No one's buying music cuz they download it for free
And if Rock and Roll has lost its soul why should it even be
But I look forward to what lies up ahead
Cuz no matter how they moan music's never dead
I wonder what the sound will be that moves the next in line
Cuz the music keeps on blowin' in the winds of time


Copyright 2009 by Greg Swartzentruber & Mark Kaufman
Old 25th November 2009
  #23
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Quote:
If you think music is dead or has nothing new to say I would suggest you visit Asheville NC one weekend.
Shoot, you don't even have to leave your house or car. I subscribe to Sirius radio, and some of the channels are very good sources of new music. The Loft, Little Steven's Underground Garage, The Coffeehouse, . . . good stuff.

If you don't have Sirius or XM, try to find some of the shows on public radio that feature new music. There is a show that is taped here in my hometown (Charleston, WV) that is just wonderful for showcasing music you would not hear anywhere else: Mountain Stage. There are internet radio stations that do the same thing.

If you rely on regular commercial radio these days, you are going to be disappointed.
Old 25th November 2009
  #24
JES
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I really do feel like there's a new thread a day on GS about how terrible music is and I have to ask, why? If people hate music so much and think that so much new music is so terrible, why spend all this time and money recording it? Is the love of gear some kind of collector thing or commodity fetish? I thought music was the point.

People's examples always seem to be some overmarketed overhyped pop act, but really, if you loved music, wouldn't you try a little harder to find something good (or more importantly, to your taste)? Frankly, I feel sorry for people who claim to like music but can't find anything new to listen to. I simply don't understand how that could be possible.

The easy availability of gear that would blow away all but the top level studios of earlier eras (which were completely unaffordable for the average person) and the explosion of distribution channels has been an unquestionably good thing for people who love making and listening to music.

I'll say that again. If you love making and listening to music, easily available recording, playing and distribution technology is a wonderful thing, full stop, no qualifications, no exceptions. There is more wonderful new music making it out into the world every day than at any other time in the history of recording. The world is full of talented people. Of course, there's also more crap (and of course you and I won't necessarily agree on which is which), but crap is the price you pay for culture. It always has been.

Maybe there's less money in some parts of the music industry, but that is a separate issue.

Maybe it's harder to seek out the stuff you personally like, but that is a common issue for people as they age. Many people's musical tastes get "set" in their teens or 20s, since they spend less time looking for new music after that point. That's a bad thing since if you let that happen, you spend your life looking backwards. There are solutions, though: find friends who spend time seeking out music and who share your tastes, and make sure there are plenty of young people in your life. Make an effort. Works for me. There is still a special joy in discovering a new album, or in the delicious surprise at the awesomeness of an opening act I'd never heard of. There's plenty of old stuff I like (and more for me to discover) as well.

--JES
Old 25th November 2009
  #25
I don't buy the "no originality left in rock" argument. We may be in the same sonic territory, but you can always write a song with unique sturctural and dynamic components that make it sound like only *you* would. I believe in the art of the song, and the number of interactions of melody, rhythm, and poetry are almost infinite. A single song can make me feel a certain way by the emotion it invokes - I'm not thinking I feel "rock", I'm thinking I feel that song.

You may be screwed if you're talking about making money as an engineer, but as an artist, there is always more songs that can be written, the question is whether you have anything to say.

One of my favorite quotes is applicable here:
“What you ask about is music. What you like is sound. Now music and sound are akin, but they are not the same.” — Confucius
Old 25th November 2009
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peacock View Post
Jim this maybe regional specific. The opposite is true here. When I was growing up here in NC everybody played an instrument it seemed. Today there are less musicians in the younger crowd here.
That is because they have more diversions. When I was a kid I had a ball and bat, a record player and a guitar.

Those same kids that used to pick up an instrument have instead picked up Rock Band, a Gameboy or they are internet addicts. They have thousands more things to do than I ever had. Music like everything else is pushed back into the corner while more "popular" diversions are entertained.

What is true is music is not near the important thing it once was. If it were we would be buying it and listening. Bad music is even less important. That must compete against previously recorded music that is considered "better" by most.

There is enough great music already out to satisfy me. That thinking is more common than some of you would like to think. You must compete against not only everything else that's new, but also everything else that's old. That can be a problem.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 25th November 2009
  #27
...the next big thing...

below is stolen from Michael Joly in another thread about the emerging changes and middle class in China. Having recorded an album in Manilla a year ago I can say first hand that China's influence is everywhere in the region even outside the countries borders.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Joly View Post
Move to China. I'm not kidding.

China has created an urban middle class in less than a generation. I was there in October and was stunned at the changes I saw compared to when I was last there 20 years ago.

Because of the size of the youth population, the popularity of music, a burgeoning middle class and affordable technology the world is about to witness the 21st century Asian equivalent of the birth of rock n roll in the US and UK ca. 1955-1963.

You want a recording gig? Learn a bit of Mandarin (just to be polite, all the young urban people speak English anyway) and move to Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou and teach English while you're getting established.

Forget about cracking the nut in the West. Take a look at the US Dept of Labor's "Occupational Outlook Handbook" for projected job openings, competition expected and salaries ($30K / yr) if you don't believe me.

The music business in the West was built on a post-WWII middle class consumer culture with a huge youth population of music makers and music buyers that co-existed in a time with fewer media choices - thus the relative popularity of recording music. Those conditions do not exist in the West now. Basing a future career on a played out paradigm is not a good idea. Besides, the people in the game are struggling to stay in and don't welcome hungry mouths.
youth music has always been dangerous - and in some way offensive to the previous generation.

even the last two (or three) major youth movements the USA, Hip-Hop and Grunge we're both forms of rebellion.

In some ways even the rave movement was a rebellion so much so that there were endless scare reports on the evening news of kids at warehouse parties all drugged up on E...

I'm not seeing any movement as part of a musical scene right now... maybe I'm missing it... grunge, raves, hip-hop, deathmetal, etc - all had/have a culture...

I think part of the problem today is, nothing has time to grow organically, something happens and it's immediately everywhere at once, and once it's everywhere, it's pretty much over...

maybe I'm wrong, I hope so... but I am excited, about China... God knows we need something FRESH and hopefully, maybe even a little dangerous, no matter where it comes from...
Old 25th November 2009
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
There is enough great music already out to satisfy me. That thinking is more common than some of you would like to think. You must compete against not only everything else that's new, but also everything else that's old. That can be a problem.
Well, that IS a classic Old Guy sentiment, you know...and please don't take offense, because I too could stay busy for the rest of my life just exploring whatever music has already been done. But my 13 and 15 year old daughters have a very strong affinity for what's current. They also love old stuff like Motown and Beatles, but their hearts are in 2009. Mention things like harsh production and lack of dynamics to them and they'll give you that look...it's a look that tells you you're being boring and difficult and hopelessly out of touch...and then they'll tell you why they love the music.

Music isn't ending and never will. It's just moving on.
Old 25th November 2009
  #29
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There’s plenty of music already, so why bother making more?

I think that whenever I have been working on one project for a long time...
Old 25th November 2009
  #30
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Quote: "Certainly music itself is not dead. We’ll continue to hear something approximating it blaring in shopping malls..."

It's funny, because I work in music for picture (mostly TV), and I often say we don't actually make music, we make something that can be mistaken for music if you're not listening too closely. It's "like music", but it isn't actually music.
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