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PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:41 am
  

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Len! What do you think?


It's never as simple as "this format is bad; this format is good". Gresham's Law prevails there. Henry is hawking a business model with lots of high end work for high priced customers. He may have a good model because that works for Apple even as they are slamming the door on the open Internet with it. Henry lives on the thin air of 'the best only work with the best' and he is quite successful because he knows the rule of survival there is 'access' to capital and talent. May he thrive because he's a good fella.

As to quality of music, no one wins that for long. Pop music once held a very prominent position in the culture. Now a song has the same value as the virtual cow one buys in Farmville. A song by itself has little value so it is 'given a context' such as a movie and rises and falls with the movie unless it gets momentum from elsewhere. Some artists are doing their best to keep political campaigns from using their songs in a sort of purity move but that can blow right back in their face if they don't understand their audience.

So eventually it comes down to the artist, the song and the fans or friends of that artist. A savvy artist these days is paying as much attention to their relationships with those friends and fans as to the songs and that's a hard row to hoe but more important than ever. To do that they have to work the social networks that now account for 22% of time spent online (up 43% from last year) and touring. The money is down so they have to go further faster and lighter. There are some advantages for the acoustic self-managed groups but regardless, live music plays a bigger role even as the market is cratering. Some say the era of The Big Act is over.

I know what I like. I know what I want to play. Captain is right on with the "they think we're iPods" which is one of the reasons I don't gig these days. Unless one is very established, one really is at the mercy of the screamers down front and that wears on the soul like sandpaper on the toilet roll. It was never an easy business but care and feeding of the fans has always been a tough job.

Is digital music hurting music? For Henry, it is all about high quality production, the $750k budget album where only the best get to be StarKissed. I understand the power of that on the other hand, I can't avail myself of that because the music industry has no use for such as myself. I rely on the technology that has become both powerful and inexpensive and the skills I acquired over a lifetime spent as an indie artist who has to work a day gig to keep the Jones slaked because I don't want to tour and I don't want to play Sweet Home Alabama ever again. I don't mind. I have my own stuff, I only record what I want to record and the only person who gets to give me assignments is my choir director and she has excellent insight. In short, I have nothing to lose and all the freedom and poverty that comes with that. Digital music gives me reach. Youtube enables me to share all I have and can do.

In short, figure out what is worth something to you and do that. Otherwise, pick up a monkey and an organ grinder and wing it for tips. All the good moments will be with people you love playing what makes you and them happy. That's as good as music gets.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:30 pm
  

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len wrote:
I know what I like. I know what I want to play. Captain is right on with the "they think we're iPods" which is one of the reasons I don't gig these days. Unless one is very established, one really is at the mercy of the screamers down front and that wears on the soul like sandpaper on the toilet roll. It was never an easy business but care and feeding of the fans has always been a tough job.

......
In short, figure out what is worth something to you and do that. Otherwise, pick up a monkey and an organ grinder and wing it for tips. All the good moments will be with people you love playing what makes you and them happy. That's as good as music gets.


I'm not fooling myself. I'm just a barroom balladeer. But for the most part, I play what I want to play. If I do get the "Pod-heads" requests, I make a joke out of it or tell them that "I just played that about a half hour ago! Where were you?" Bars & restaurants are not places for big egos. You're basically background music. On a good night, people actually listen! And yeah, sometimes things can be a bit aggravating. But that can & does happen no matter what you do. The bottom line is that, for the most part, I have fun doing it.

As for digital music hurting the industry, to some extent, it must be. Attribute some of that to Online sales & access. Music sections of stores like Best Buy, Borders and Barnes & Noble are dwindling. Some music specialty stores have closed up altogether. Music licensing reps have been going after clubs like sharks to chum, presumably because their income is down elsewhere. A few venues have stopped having live music because they don't want to or (in these hard times) can't afford the license fees.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 1:59 pm
  

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True and true and as long as I can be a background it's ok. Problem is they can get in my face and that's not. Big ego or little ego, no respect? no songs. At some point it started to feel like strangers with clammy hands all over mah body. I play songs; I don't swing. That's the Bonobo Blues.

Get ready for another grab. What the bigGuyz are after is a digital music license on ISPs and radio stations that stream to raise the mechanicals. How and to whom that gets distributed, well take a guess. Same as it ever was.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:44 pm
  

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They've already attached license fees to cable TV & satellite radio. That's one reason they don't (or can't) go after clubs/restaurants that use those services exclusively.

Folk singer/songwriter Harvey Reid wrote something on ASCAP & BMI in 1993 titled "ASCAP & BMI -- Protectors of Artists or Shadowy Thieves?" I believe I posted it somewhere on these boards a while back but here it is again.

http://www.woodpecker.com/writing/essay ... itics.html


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 03, 2010 5:32 pm
  

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Yeah, I've been there when the reps arrive to shut down a club for failing to pay BMI/ASCAP fees because they have a guy in the corner with a guitar. I watched my brother fight a lawsuit that went on for years over failure to pay. He lost. I've asked in some discussions that as part of the negotiations for future fees that they consider dropping them for clubs below a certain seating as a way to incentivize the arts and songwriters and kids trying to get a start. No deal. No give. All take.

Then I'm asked why the kids are so willing to steal and share online.

"Everybody's got something to hide except me and my monkey."

And this is why I'm a software VP instead of a lounge player despite the fact that when I was sitting on that stool with a nylon string so many years ago, I was happy and satisfied in ways I've seldom been since.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:39 am
  

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I remember Niel was against artists music being used in commercials like Pepsi. I remember he had a vide about it yrs ago...


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 5:37 am
  

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Len wrote:

"And this is why I'm a software VP instead of a lounge player despite the fact that when I was sitting on that stool with a nylon string so many years ago, I was happy and satisfied in ways I've seldom been since."


That's the way it has become for so many of us, unfortunately. There are places I have been, a few gatherings in this country (depends on the crowd), but mainly in other parts of the world where that constant stream of entertainment from TV and radio doesn't exist, and those are the places where people respect and cherish live, up and close performance art. Like it was in times past, when a wandering minstral, troubadour, storyteller or poet would arrive in town.......folks were starved for such entertainment and would treat the talented traveller with appreciation and gratitude, often in the form of lodging and repast.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 10:55 am
  

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The truly ironic bit, Kevin, is that the avatars of a generation most famous for preaching freedom from stultifying social constraints, for freedom of expression, who most embraced music as the vehicle for their message are now the most furiously engaged in trying to pass laws and put means in place to constrain that expression, to purify music so that only the best can be heard. Why? To protect their wealth, to get a few more shekels, to preserve their own tastes as dominant.

The same systems that enable the alphabet soup agencies to fight hackers who have decided to go after power systems will enable them to find out if an mp3 has the watermark. The same Internet that is letting a kid in a basement make a viral video of a baby dancing will be used to stop that video from seeing the light of day. The same people who told us to turn on and tune in and drop out will join the very forces most able to turn a million channels playing a billion songs into three playing the top ten.

No free lunch. No way for a coin to have only one side. No freedom without restraint. No quality of the few without mediocrity of the many.

"The stars may lie but the numbers don't."


Last edited by len on Wed Aug 04, 2010 10:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 10:56 am
  

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k


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 12:22 pm
  

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Most people, and a substantial number of venues, aren't even aware of ASCAP and BMI. Usually, when they find out what they can and will do, they are shocked, disgusted and bewildered. "Sounds like the Mafia," is the typical response. What started out as a noble idea, protect the rights of the little person, composers, artists and writers, has turned into an all encompassing, all consuming behemoth whose profits mainly go to the 'suits' and the big money-makers. It wouldn't surprise me if soon we'll need a license to whistle popular tunes while walking down the street. The best things in life might be free but music ain't one of 'em.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 1:09 pm
  

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"Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose........" :|


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 1:14 pm
  

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My first fiance and I were talking with a friend who was a famous songwriter about this and she said, "You sound like you think these guys are the Mafia." Without skipping a beat my friend looked at her and said, "Martha, who do you think the mafia are?"

Elites defend elite resources and privileges. We can't avoid it because elite emergence is as organic as corn before corn flakes. On the other hand, elite emergence is continuous and the old regime is powerless to stop the new regime if the new guys have the upper hand in technical resources with enough cash to buy the political resources.

And they do. Big Brother uses a Mac. :wink:

"You're not the only cuddly toy that was ever enjoyed by any boy. La lala la lala la lalala la."


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 12:54 am
  

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I'll be playing in the bluegrass jams at Rivermont Presbyterian church in Enon, VA near Hopewell and Chester, VA on Fri nite. If you wanna hear live music do drop on by if you're in the area. :)


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 1:51 am
  

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len wrote:
La lala la lala la lalala la."


When the lights go down in the city?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:33 am
  

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It's ironic .... ASCAP's catchphrase is "we create music". More like "...kill live music". Just Google open mics and ASCAP and you'll find lots of articles. Here's one from 2005 ....
http://www.newcitychicago.com/chicago/4925.html

Even the Girl Scouts have to pay 'em for singing licensed songs around the campfires! WTF!?!


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