Friday, 21 February 2014

The Modern Music Smoke screen

Over the last 5 years of radio broadcasting, i have had the pleasure of hearing so much talent, its remarkable. Not everything is good music, some bland, rubbish, even i have my limitations. Saying that, its rare i reject anything. My music mind is very broad, sometimes it takes a while to like a song, sometimes all it takes is 20 seconds
I just think, the way musicians are treated on this planet is appalling. Not everyone has the gift to write music or perform it or both, which many think is the case. No harm in trying an instrument, but there is a level you get to when someone is recognised by many as an artist, it becomes a different story.  I know not everyone can play guitar, write, read, compose music.  The people that write music deserve more respect, than someone who has a good looking face on stage, who can't sing a note. From experience in seeing bands perform and performing in front of people myself, it is not easy. It takes practice to learn. Creating music is a craft, like wood carving or a suit from cloth. A musician creates sound from composing music on paper to
creating sounds with instruments, many times from scratch, so it is a totally original piece

So why do many people just go and buy what they see on TV and think it is good music?

The answer to that is simple, it is visual entertainment. Its not based on the fact someone is singing on stage, its the entertainment factor. Watching the Tv series, the Tudor recently, you see a crowd gather to see a hanging or their head being chopped off. This is called a spectical. No different to watching a TV show, You may get someone with a rare talent on screen, but the reason they are there is it see how much they can take in front of a live audience and millions watching.
Being a musician is having the mental capacity of dealing with having fans. Even before the digital age, dealing with a fans is one side of the coin. Some musicians have enough money, hire management, when it starts getting big.  Being a musician is a craft.  Few have the ability take hold and carry it
The next stage is wanting to be signed by a label.  From talking to American Electro artist,  Lee Negin, many times, who had success in the earlier 80s, with a single and mass radio play including John Peel, he got to the point where, enough was enough. When someone trying to influence your music direction, just for hits.
Having someone who wants you to write music their way, is not the point. Ideas are good but it comes down to the results the musicians has

Commercial
In my opinion, that has changed a lot, over the last 13 years. The top 100 in the U.K, which still exists, its full of music, which is just nothing sort of rubbish.  Many songs sound the same as each other, many promoted though TV shows, it just shocking how wannabes think they can handle it and people buy it
I like commercial music, nothing wrong with it.  The music i have listened to, i call, commercial, is a song that can be sold on a mass scale, loads of radio play and constant rotation. It has to be a great song, otherwise, it will not go anywhere and more importantly, will not irritate after hearing it 10 times over.  It can be catchy song, which most are. About 70% of the music i receive and hear, can go into the charts, with no problem at all.  It just does not, because its not on TV. The perfect example is Justin Beiber. He was noticed on Youtube for his voice, aparantly. His songs are no different to what you have heard from anywhere else. 99% of people who buy his music, only buy him because he looks good. Its ok when you like an artists who creates musi, but the person, may not be the same in person. The reason for this is because artists put on a performance for the crowd. Depends how far that shield goes. Not everyone does this, but many do

The big smoke screen
The internet, although its really good for what it is, is a big smoke screen.  It is good for musicians, great promotional tool like any other.
The simple fact is, it costs money to make music. Just like a Carpenter buying wood or Taylor to buy the cloth before he creates the suit out of it to sell.  If it cost you £500 to make an ep or an album, would you give it away? i thought not.
 Many labels promote an album by giving away related music, but not all do
The other issue, is different in formats. Aside from some digital formats being compressed, what you general hear from a band so no different with their recording, whether, digital, CD or vinyl, its the same band. It also costs money to upload to digital music stores, like it costs to press music onto plastic, or "Hard copies"  People have to get it out of their heads that no matter format music comes on, the only time it is free is when a band decides to make it free. Its still costs money, no matter what,
Before the internet come to the internet,  The only place you got free music, was at gig or from the front of a magazine, which you still had to pay for anyway

The main catalyst for free music was.........Napster

Napster may have been popular and some some eyes, the so called, Digital Revolutionaries. The one big problem although, every single artists you downloaded, was being ripped off. People say, " Some artists don't need money their that big" If you were in there shoes, would you be thinking the same?  probably not
When a band gets signed to a label, it becomes a job. In modern times, to get signed to a major label, you have to have business plan. Many musicians are self employed, aka, they need to make money to live. They get to a point where its the way they make their living.

Back to Napster, they were sued for millions, providing a way to give away music on a file sharing system.  People also seem to forget, that at any given time in history, a band was unsigned. This goes for the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Iron Maiden ( Who were playing in pubs before they hit the big time) and many others. Some bands are so popular, they can be carried though decades of success. Others do not, or remarket
ed.  The company got took to court, after a couple of bands and labels had, had enough.

Music is not free

Just because bands give away music or a label does, does not mean they do it to just give it away. It part of their business.   Take for example Mute Records. They are one of the best know Indie labels, in the world. They are London based and have been around since 1978. They send CD samplers to shops. I found the new one at Truck Store in Oxford. I was suprised they still did them, I bought a Can CD based on a song that was on the sampler. On of the oldest promotion channels in music, the promo CD

Marketing works, but don't take it for granted
I love and live music, but people who want everything for free, don't support and like music. I wrote this because unlike many, i know the reality. Talking to musicians on a regular basis, play their music on radio and live interviews. I have are clearer insight into what has been going on. Many labels that have made it through to modern times
I may not like compressed music, even though its the only format my broadcasting software takes, its is here to stay. Musician are not perfect, either, they make mistakes, just like any one of us, they are human after all :)


Thanks for reading
(This was updated 24th February 2014)
DJ Readman
Radio Variety Show

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