Today's Music Industry
I was thinking about this because of a post Jeff made on Facebook. I came to a realization: I think right now is the best time it's ever been to be a music fan/consumer. A few reasons why:
[B]1. Being a casual fan is much more cost-effective[/B]
When I was a kid and I heard a song I liked, I had to buy the whole album. Yes, sometimes this would lead to a good discovery, but more often than not it was a waste of money. Nowadays you can choose your songs a la carte. You get what you want without the unwanted chaff.
[B]2. Greater access to artists[/B]
Social media has made it much easier to keep in touch with your favorite bands. You can find out about tour dates and release dates within minutes. You're never out of the loop. Before the internet, if you didn't have any friends who were into the same bands as you, you were pretty much screwed.
[B]3. Artists have more freedom[/B]
Want to do a digital-only album? Pay-what you want? Special pre-order bundle? Artists not only have more/easier ways of getting their music out there, but they also have more ways to offer their music to fans.
Sure, there are drawbacks to all of these things. Piracy still screws smaller artists. The easy access to music tends to make fans entitled and spoiled. Some of these conveniences take the "fun" out of it (though I think a lot of that is romanticized by nostalgia).
This is the kinda shit I always tell people when they start whining about how "today's music sucks" and "they were born in the wrong generation". When it comes to music, I can't see why you would want to live in any other generation then the one where you can easily access music from any era for free.
Man, I agree with everything, especially #3. I love the variety of forms music is available in these days. Artistic bands present their music in artistic packages. The widespread use of bandcamps is very fan-friendly, and they're often managed directly by independent artists and not necessarily labels, giving bands a variety of ways to promote/offer/sell their music.
But I think it's the best time ever to be a music fan for more than just consumer purposes. Music is better right now than it's ever been. Especially post- the turn of the new millennium. The artistry is there. The innovation is there. Bands and genres are feeding off each other and the creativity just seems to be thriving. I used to be depressed because there were seven notes on the scale, excluding sharps and flats. With a finite number of notes, you can only achieve a finite number of chords, scales, etc. When people talked of "new music," I assumed it only sounded new to them because they hadn't listened to much music or didn't care much about music. However, after studying some of the modern-era composers like Brian Eno and John Cage, I realized that many more combinations are possible when adding in different variables, like symmetry, dynamics, and in Cage's case especially, the exploration of sound itself. Now, people are pulling apart beat patterns and sound waves and rearranging them into unique sounds never before created (unless they had synthesizers and computers in the past and we didn't know it).
And we've seen metal branch off in so many directions, I feel like there's constantly something new to be looking for. And that's a great feeling.
Yeah, music is in a good place right now.
[B]2. Greater access to artists[/B]
Social media has made it much easier to keep in touch with your favorite bands. [/QUOTE]
Forget favorite bands, the internet has not only raised an awareness of an underground from decades ago thought to be long since forgotten, but has put them in the goddamn mainstream stores of America.
I remember discussing Under The Sign of the Black Mark with Brady and looking it up on Amazon at the time only to discover the cheapest copy was over 100 fucking dollars. Now Blood Fire Death is available in FYE for 9.99. Fucking new copies of Manowar albums are available in FYE now!
Martin Popoff, in his latest edition of his record collector's guide to the 80's, but out a fan polled top 100 best metal albums of the 80's list. He posed that the question would probably never be asked again because the answer would likely be the same in 2005 (when that edition was published) as it was in 98, 01 or 03. Bands like Kreator, Bathory and such were in the lower 90's but that's because nobody really knew who they were. Now you've got half of Kreator's audience being mankvill's age and old timers at Slayer shows shitting their pants because they see boys half their age wearing Overkill shirts.
I mean Christ, you have Decibel interviewing the guys from Warlord: a band so fucking obscure the only musical release they ever was a goddamn video soundtrack. Furthermore, thanks to blogpsot I have a goddamn demo by Tormentor, an 80's black metal band who's claim to fame is their singer joined Mayhem, and that the demo would have been turned into an album but Euronymus was killed before he could.
You want to know how much the internet has changed music? 10-12 years ago you were afraid to think negative aspects about Slayer's weakest albums. Now schmucks like me say Darkness Descends shits on Reign In Blood from a mesospheric height with no consequences. :D
[QUOTE=BloodoftheKings;488470]When it comes to music, I can't see why you would want to live in any other generation then the one where you can easily access music from any era for free.[/QUOTE]
This too. People look at my taste and probably go "You would love to have been born in 1961." Fuck no! Just because 90% of my musical taste comes from the 70s and 80s doesn't mean I would want to live there (though I wouldn't mind a brief time travel to shack up with some groupies at Van Halen concerts :money: ).
Also also. I never in a million years thought Vinyl would ever become fashionable again. Vinyl was that goofy shit your parents listened to while slow dancing and watching Banana Spilts. I thought fucking 8-tracks and cassettes would make a comeback before that. Now you have machines that rip mp3's from vinyls. DAFUCK?!?
[QUOTE=BloodoftheKings;488470]This is the kinda shit I always tell people when they start whining about how "today's music sucks" and "they were born in the wrong generation". When it comes to music, I can't see why you would want to live in any other generation then the one where you can easily access music from any era for free.[/QUOTE]
Agreed. Though most of the complaints seem to be more about the state of currently popular music styles, and probably about wanting to see certain older bands live... those are sort of valid reasons.
But purely from a listening perspective, now is definitely the best. Hate modern music? You can still find more older music than you ever could have in previous times and it's all (optionally, since it's often readily available 'officially') free. Also it's so easy to find things now that I don't see how a person could hate modern music unless they aren't looking. It's still easy to find the few things you like. Kinda great for consumers. :party:
Just one. I don't see any of the things you said as benefits.
It is really a double edged sword. On the plus side bands that wouldn't have gotten the exposure they deserve if it wasn't for the internet. For bigger bands it does fuck them out of the more money they could have had. If the smaller bands had the opprotunities that bigger bands had, it would fuck them over as well. But it gets their name out there, which you can look at again as a double edge sword.
I for one am neutral on illegal downloading. Of course I am in the small percentage of people who can promos from the labels. I see the need for it and the good and bad it causes. I guess I just look at it from the paraphrased Devin Townsend Quotes. "I am for illegal downloading, and I hope you like what you hear, and if you don't that's cool too. but if you want me to be able to tour, buy the album and buy some merch."
[QUOTE=MPF;488519]It is really a double edged sword. On the plus side bands that wouldn't have gotten the exposure they deserve if it wasn't for the internet. For bigger bands it does fuck them out of the more money they could have had. If the smaller bands had the opprotunities that bigger bands had, it would fuck them over as well. But it gets their name out there, which you can look at again as a double edge sword.[/QUOTE]
It makes it easier for small bands to get known, yes. But they can't make any money and actually carry on, so it's really not a positive in the least.
If the industry had got a lock-down on digital music technology at the beginning, so that it was only used for providing samples/streams/listening opportunities to fans so they could make more informed decisions on buying records and attending tours, then it would have been the best thing to happen to music in decades. They didn't, so it isn't. It's actually bordering on the worst thing.
Bands could have had all that new exposure and the like we're all talking about as positive impacts without losing money, without tours fucking smaller bands with stupid buy-ons because the bigger bands can't make money from records anymore, without labels withdrawing all tour funding and the bands having to charge silly ticket prices, without recorded music being watered down with shitty digital-only releases because people can't afford to release it properly, and so on.
The negative impacts of the digital age FAR outweigh the positives because the positives, but very few people can ever see beyond "HURR, I CAN HAS MUSIC FOR FREEEE!!".
In metal, things are AS bad. The evidence of that is more metal bands getting in album charts. Metal fans possibly more than most have stuck to supporting the artists. I think metal fans have always had a better grasp on how the industry works than most genres, probably because metal has always been such an underground thing that they've been closer to it than pop fans are. Most of the bands I talk to don't feel quite as threatened by the declining industry at the moment as I thought they would, because the fans are, for now, still there. The slope is still running downwards, though.
[QUOTE=illuminatus917;488471]I love the variety of forms music is available in these days. [/QUOTE]
On a personal note as a consumer of recorded music, I don't. I hate it.
I'm tired of small bands and labels either having to charge insane amounts of money for their CDs, or not being able to release their music properly at all because they can't afford it, or the more cost effective way of releasing it has become a cheap knockoff with no overheads.
And I'm tired of digital music in general degrading and devaluing the concept of a music collection.
Although, all of this is down to two main factors really. People are cheap, and people are lazy.
[QUOTE=ravenheart;488524]I'm tired of small bands and labels either having to charge insane amounts of money for their CDs[/QUOTE]I've heard you talk about this before, and I really don't know what you're talking about. Is it a UK thing? Because I haven't seen an appreciable difference in CD prices over the last 15 years, whether it be in big-box retail, independent record stores, or from the labels themselves.
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