Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

Is it Really About The Music ?


Tone Taster

Recommended Posts

It seems that alot of music (even from upcoming unsigned acts) is written with the intention of being commercial.

 

It's like they are almost trying to follow a formula

 

Have some unintrusive groove and beat along with some easy subject matter about a relationship or sexual escapade.

 

The chorus has some cliche saying or slogan so people have it in their head and go to the store and buy it, almost like when somone sees a Pizza Hut commercial and wants to order a pie.

 

 

And God forbid if there are any musical passages in there beyond a 6th Grade comprehension level

 

Oh, then there's the video, the action figures, the hats, the coloring books

Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • Replies 40
  • Created
  • Last Reply

I'm not sure what comprehension level my original music is at. But I do use certain forumli when composing.

 

For example: Scales and modes, Time Signatures, Tempos, Chord Progressions.

 

I try to use my own unique formula when I can.

 

However, Music is a Language. You must talk in a language that people can understand if you wish to communicate.

 

Some people must like the crap that is being put out, because it speaks to them and they buy it.

 

I say even though the music sucks, it's still about the music and the musical formula language.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sometimes you have to give to get...You have a music genre you love but nobody will recognize you playing it so you put out some commercial hits, get known, and THEN use your reputation to put out the music that is ripping to come out of your pores... I'm not saying it's right but for some bands or solo artists, (and I believe you guys could name a dozen or so in a heartbeat) it's the ways to a means.

Am I off base with this?

Billy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I expect the vaste majority of music to commercial and to try to reach the widest market. What I have never understood is that why most music is marketed to one demographic. I am glad that I am able to search out new music over the internet.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The suits want soemthing they can sell easily. Bands with outrageous musical skills, like the DIxie Dregs, for example, couldn't get big sales because they were so broad in their musical direction that the suits didn't know how to market them or who to. Cheeze ball acts like N'Sync can be sold to adults, kids, etc and so on, so they get lots of play.

 

In the 60's, top forty radio had everything from show tunes to Motown to rockabilly. As time went on, the stations started targeting specific audience demographics in order to maximize ad sales. It was called "narrowcasting", and it ended the golden age of rock n roll radio.

 

It also started narrowing the availability of certain styles of music to small niche markets, whereas it had been availble everywhere previously.

 

Music that could be sold easily started getting to be a smaller and smaller list of styles. Now today, what is being offered is an ad salesman's wet dream, stuff they can sell easily to a large demographic of advertisers as generating a large audience for their ads. Musical diversity is their nightmare, because they can't predict who wil listen and promise the advertisers their ads will reach folks that will be likely to buy their goods and services.

 

Pap may not be the best flavor you canfind, but it is easily sold to a lot of folks. Same old story, same old song & dance.

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Commercially oriented music is always about the money for the suits. It would probably be unfair to say that for the musicians involved that the money is always the overriding factor, I'm certain that some people producing formulaic pop/rock/rap actually like it.

 

Writing to form, or using a "formula", isn't necessarily a bad thing. The Tin Pan Alley songwriters were definitely aiming at commercial success but turned out a bunch of excellent tunes despite the song writing factory approach. Bach had artistic success following the relatively strict form of the baroque dance suite. The Beatles early successes relied on following a radio friendly Tin Pan Alley approach.

 

Zappa, on the other hand, was able to get both artistic and commercial success, with atonal and 12 tone music of all things, by pairing his musical compositions with off the wall lyrics.

 

There is still a ton of "good" music out there. You just have to look for it. Some of it is formulaic and commercial sounding, some of it is relatively avante-garde. Some combines aspects of both.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Rampdog:

But.... Was I off base with bands doing whatever it takes to break into the market so that they may expand out with what they 'really' want to play down the road?

Billy

Its an interesting concept and one im sure gets put into action on a regular basis. If however they have serious musical ambition I dont think it would be the way to go. I dont think you will get the respect you want from the people you want it from.. if that makes sence..

 

As for is it about the music anymore, short answer is no. But it depends what you want out of your career... If you want superstardom, high class hookers, late wild nights, money coming out of your arse etc etc etc.. Then sell out by all means. If you want to be a respected musician in your own right, you wanna go out and play your thang to people who REALLY dig your music for what it is then you probably wont make millions, or go to number 1 in the charts straight away... You may not even get regular gigs... But you MIGHT just be a little bit happier within yourself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lee...what's the difference between starting out playing cover tunes in a club then slipping in an original or two?...You start out giving them what they want (selling out so to speak) so that you get the opportunity to showcase what you REALLY want to play. A lot of us have gone that road. I, for one, tried but didn't make it but I'm sure most, or a good portion, of the "known" artists out there traveled that path.

Billy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Firstly I dont beleive playing cover tunes is selling out... its playing cover tunes. Secondly I dont see what relevance the comparison has to the original theme of the thread or to my comments. If you have a point of view why dont you just put it out there and quit trying to draw me into some obscure argument involving open ended neorhetorical questions, when I am not even sure what its actually about.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lee...I was not trying to draw you into any type of argument...It's not my style and you obviously are miles ahead of me in stating ones views. I was just expounding on the original thread and perhaps I lost sight of the direction it was going. If I've offended you in any way please accept my apology.

At times threads take on a sort of morphed life. I was expressing a view, as I thought these forums were about, in the best way an old cracker like me can. My bad Lee. Again...my apologies to you or anyone else out there that took offense.

Billy

(Edit) yZe...my apologies to you if I strayed from your original thought.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Im not offended ;) . I just dont know what your getting at. To me, giving a brief outline and asking if you are off base with something is like asking somebody to tell you that you're wrong, getting them to lay out their viewpoint when you havent actually given a solid stance of your own, in turn allowing yourself to manipulate the situation by drib drabbing obscure questions filled with little twists.

 

Im sorry if i've got the wrong idea here, im a sceptical bugger.

 

What does "you obviously are miles ahead of me in stating ones views" mean?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow.. I thought it was about enjoying the music you play.

 

I'm as put off by people who thumb their noses at good, simple songs (musically and/or lyrically) as those who deliberately play inane songs to make it.

 

Ramp, you're right on the money. Sometimes you play one thing to make other things possible. There's nothing whatsoever wrong with that, so long as you enjoy the music you're playing.

 

Some notable musicians who've done this:

 

  1. Linda Ronstadt - She's been very vocal about playing commercial music to make non-commercial records down the line.
  2. Joe Jackson - Made in pop music with a contract that promised him the backing to make Jumpin' Jive, an homage to Louis Jordan and other Jump Jive bands, years before Brian Setzer managed commercial success with a hybrid record of the same material. Joe said in the liner notes he didn't expect the album to make money on a grand scale, but wanted to make that music available to another generation in better recordings. It's a great album.
  3. Rik Emmett - Loves his rock work with Triumph, but always left room on albums for classical guitar. He's been quoted many times as saying, "More people are exposed to classical guitar through Triumph records than most classical albums ever do."
  4. Steve Stevens - Dedicated himself to Flamenco guitar for several years, actually saying he wouldn't be playing electric guitar, publicly, again. (He softened on that last point, though. Good for Billy Idol. ;) )

 

The assumption Yze and those who agree make, incorrectly, is that people who plan to make one kind of commercial music to support making another, non-commercial music is that they don't enjoy the commercial side. That's usually plain wrong.

 

But either way, who gives a crap if you or I approve of their making a living on commercial music? We can't all achieve financial success with our music and be idealistic like Harry Chapin was. Songs will be constructed to get airplay. If they're good, why wouldn't I write some if I can?

 

If you have a problem with what's popular because you can't make a living playing your cerebral music, that's your decision to play what you like, regardless of the consequences. More power to you. But don't complain about those who are making money as sellouts because they don't adhere to your idea of what constitutes commercially successful music and good music/integrity. The two are not mutually exclusive.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by fantasticsound:

Wow.. I thought it was about enjoying the music you play.

 

I'm as put off by people who thumb their noses at good, simple songs (musically and/or lyrically) as those who deliberately play inane songs to make it.

 

Ramp, you're right on the money. Sometimes you play one thing to make other things possible. There's nothing whatsoever wrong with that, so long as you enjoy the music you're playing.

 

Some notable musicians who've done this:

 

  1. Linda Ronstadt - She's been very vocal about playing commercial music to make non-commercial records down the line.
  2. Joe Jackson - Made in pop music with a contract that promised him the backing to make Jumpin' Jive, an homage to Louis Jordan and other Jump Jive bands, years before Brian Setzer managed commercial success with a hybrid record of the same material. Joe said in the liner notes he didn't expect the album to make money on a grand scale, but wanted to make that music available to another generation in better recordings. It's a great album.
  3. Rik Emmett - Loves his rock work with Triumph, but always left room on albums for classical guitar. He's been quoted many times as saying, "More people are exposed to classical guitar through Triumph records than most classical albums ever do."
  4. Steve Stevens - Dedicated himself to Flamenco guitar for several years, actually saying he wouldn't be playing electric guitar, publicly, again. (He softened on that last point, though. Good for Billy Idol. ;) )

 

The assumption Yze and those who agree make, incorrectly, is that people who plan to make one kind of commercial music to support making another, non-commercial music is that they don't enjoy the commercial side. That's usually plain wrong.

 

But either way, who gives a crap if you or I approve of their making a living on commercial music? We can't all achieve financial success with our music and be idealistic like Harry Chapin was. Songs will be constructed to get airplay. If they're good, why wouldn't I write some if I can?

 

If you have a problem with what's popular because you can't make a living playing your cerebral music, that's your decision to play what you like, regardless of the consequences. More power to you. But don't complain about those who are making money as sellouts because they don't adhere to your idea of what constitutes commercially successful music and good music/integrity. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Incorrect aspersion on your part.

 

I didn't equate 100% "simple" = "bad" = commercial

 

w/ cerebral = "good" = Non-commercial

 

as you are attempting to assume over me.

 

I like your citations of a majority of artists who were signed, at a minimum- 20 years ago- in order to support your position. The artists you cite, such as Joe Jackson- always kept the music first

 

This was a rule rather than the exception

 

Now, 3 to 4 decades later, it is inverted

 

It seems that, no matter what these days; simple or not- that it is all about the marketing

 

I like Gordon Lightfoot's "sundown" and other songs like that, too; but tunes like that are really about the music before the image - and if that particular cut tried to make it these days, they would get some jock lookin' country boy with tight pants and a flat stomach to try to push it

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by yZeCounsel:

Take Huey Lewis "I want a new drug"

 

There is a ripping 32 measure solo in there and it is

 

"Simple"= "Good" = "commercial"

 

If they tried that these days, they would never get signed and you know it

I always found Lewis and the News boring. Not bad musicians, just boring songwise.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Neil got the gist of what I was trying, in my uneducated way, to say. About the artists playing commercial tunes to create an opportunity for their own music.

All I was doing was bending this thread a little.

 

Lee...you asked

"What does "you obviously are miles ahead of me in stating ones views" mean?"

It means... 1. Just asking that question you think someone is trying to draw you into an argument. (Wrong..I was stating what I feel to be a fact)

2. You're not getting enough fiber.

3. Maybe your thesaurus is more complete than the one I bought at the Dollar Store.

I'm just a dumb old cracker that still likes to play music and talk about it and all of you, including you, have enlightened me and helped to flame the BBQ briquetts under my old ass.

Billy

PS yZe...Did you make it through Alberto ok?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by fantasticsound:

Wow.. I thought it was about enjoying the music you play.

 

I'm as put off by people who thumb their noses at good, simple songs (musically and/or lyrically) as those who deliberately play inane songs to make it.

 

Ramp, you're right on the money. Sometimes you play one thing to make other things possible. There's nothing whatsoever wrong with that, so long as you enjoy the music you're playing.

 

Some notable musicians who've done this:

 

  1. Linda Ronstadt - She's been very vocal about playing commercial music to make non-commercial records down the line.
  2. Joe Jackson - Made in pop music with a contract that promised him the backing to make Jumpin' Jive, an homage to Louis Jordan and other Jump Jive bands, years before Brian Setzer managed commercial success with a hybrid record of the same material. Joe said in the liner notes he didn't expect the album to make money on a grand scale, but wanted to make that music available to another generation in better recordings. It's a great album.
  3. Rik Emmett - Loves his rock work with Triumph, but always left room on albums for classical guitar. He's been quoted many times as saying, "More people are exposed to classical guitar through Triumph records than most classical albums ever do."
  4. Steve Stevens - Dedicated himself to Flamenco guitar for several years, actually saying he wouldn't be playing electric guitar, publicly, again. (He softened on that last point, though. Good for Billy Idol. ;) )

 

The assumption Yze and those who agree make, incorrectly, is that people who plan to make one kind of commercial music to support making another, non-commercial music is that they don't enjoy the commercial side. That's usually plain wrong.

 

But either way, who gives a crap if you or I approve of their making a living on commercial music? We can't all achieve financial success with our music and be idealistic like Harry Chapin was. Songs will be constructed to get airplay. If they're good, why wouldn't I write some if I can?

 

If you have a problem with what's popular because you can't make a living playing your cerebral music, that's your decision to play what you like, regardless of the consequences. More power to you. But don't complain about those who are making money as sellouts because they don't adhere to your idea of what constitutes commercially successful music and good music/integrity. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Im having a hard time working out what you are assuming everybody else has assumed.... Because i've re-read the thread and I can't work out whos comments you are opposing...
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by yZeCounsel:

It seems that alot of music (even from upcoming unsigned acts) is written with the intention of being commercial.

 

It's like they are almost trying to follow a formula

 

Have some unintrusive groove and beat along with some easy subject matter about a relationship or sexual escapade.

 

The chorus has some cliche saying or slogan so people have it in their head and go to the store and buy it, almost like when somone sees a Pizza Hut commercial and wants to order a pie.

 

 

And God forbid if there are any musical passages in there beyond a 6th Grade comprehension level

 

Oh, then there's the video, the action figures, the hats, the coloring books

You're splitting hairs over how I said what I said. How do you know why they're writing what they're writing and what the intention was in writing it in the first place?

 

What do you think someone young is likely to write if they're interested in rock, pop or country? Of course they're writing accessible little tunes. I highly doubt they're pulling out, "Pop Tunes For Dummies" to attempt the next big thing. They're writing in styles similar to that they listen to, with lyrics that, and this is a real shocker, are about relationships and sex! That's so unheard of. :rolleyes: C'mon.. this is exactly how it's always been and exactly how it always will be so long as our society pushes sex in every aspect of pop culture. By and large the songs haven't gotten any simpler. They've been that way since rock & roll began.

 

And a hook! Again, I'm flabbergasted! You mean like "That's Alright Mama," or, "Shake It Up Baby.. Twist & Shout," or "We Won't Get Fooled Again," or ... I mean, your post sounds like one of those quotes that we expect to be about our time, when in fact they were written about what kids did 100 or 200 years ago.

 

As for the "cerebral" comment, it was you who suggested most of these songs barely rise to a 6th grade musical level, so don't duck and cover. If that's what you meant then you are being a musical snob.

 

And regarding the people I mentioned, I only used those examples because I've read specifics over the years about them all writing and performing music to make it in order to make other music that was their passion. How long ago they made it or were signed is irrelevant.

 

You mention Gordon Lightfoot and cross concepts by suggesting they'd only reissue the song from some hunk. That doesn't make any sense. Gordon Lightfoot wrote the song (and wanted to release it). Of course, if someone were remaking it, the likelyhood is they'd give it to a pretty face. So what? Are you saying you have to be good looking to make it or good looking to get a good song cut. :confused: You're not making any sense there. But to the point of good looking people with less than stellar talent, as with many of your other complaints, this ain't new, friend.

 

I just don't understand why you have such a chip on your shoulder. I've yet to see much more than complaints about one thing or another from you.

 

Relax... have a beverage of your choice and kick back. Make the music you want to make and stop worrying so much about those who are climbing the music business ladder. You either don't want that or aren't willing to do what's necessary to get there. That's not a dig. If you see that as compromise and won't do it, more power to you. But it makes you look petty to belittle those who are making it.

 

This would be different if you were specifically talking about talentless people, lipsynching someone's songs so a record company could sell it. So far, you've been talking about people writing music that sells. Nothing wrong with that except that it ain't your music or mine. ;)

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's good to get signed, but some guys find that the record companies don't want to spend the money to promote them.

 

One fine fingerstylist I know once said, in my earshot, "if they aren't going to sell records for me, what do I NEED 'em for??" That's a good question.

 

So now he markets his stuff himself. He's a well-known player in the acoustic guitar community, so evidently he can make a living at it without being signed to a record company.

 

Whether he could do so now as a newbie, I don't know! But then, was it EVER easy??

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by lee83:

...Im having a hard time working out what you are assuming everybody else has assumed.... Because i've re-read the thread and I can't work out whos comments you are opposing...

Originally posted by yZeCounsel:

It seems that alot of music (even from upcoming unsigned acts) is written with the intention of being commercial.

 

It's like they are almost trying to follow a formula...

I don't think "alot" are written to a forumla in hopes of "making it". I think they're writing from their experiences in a way similar to songs they've heard and enjoy.

 

And even if they are writing formulaic stuff on purpose, is it necessarily bad? If they enjoy making the music, whose business is it but their own?

 

To accept Yze's first post is to believe the musicians he's talking about might say, "I'm going to write what sells even though it's dog crap because teenie boppers will buy it in droves. Who cares? I'm making money!"

 

I don't buy it.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Neil, you brought up songs from decades ago - - - again

 

Won't get fooled again has some pretty interesting compositional elements which would get shot down by the first A&R man these days

 

Name some songs and artists from at least the year 2000, Neil who have equally skilled musicianship and/or compositional devices or lyrics for that matter

 

Entropy has taken its effect on commercial music/mass audiences attention span (not music in general). It's De-Volving. So if you cherish the theory of evolution- it definitely ain't happenin' on the mass music listening audience

 

Most kids are being fed a bunch of crap to where they have no appreciation or attention span for "non-commercial" (lack of a better term) art forms, including but no limited to - Music

 

Adults have accepted mediocre forms of music and TV programming which is on a 6th grade level. I mean you don't even have to act anymore. Anyone can get on a reality TV show as long as they walk around naked or let rats crawl all over them

 

To not see this, one would have to be in coma

 

American Idol? Hello?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Trust me, the last thing I want is a record deal and major stardom where you have a company that wants a socialist insecurity number from you so you can get paid and a fascist unconstitutional taxation agency who wants to bend you over with no vaseline

 

But your quote

"To accept Yze's first post is to believe the musicians he's talking about might say, "I'm going to write what sells even though it's dog crap because teenie boppers will buy it in droves. Who cares? I'm making money!""

 

I do believe that to be the rule rather than the exception

 

Also, Neil you indicated that I complain more on this more more often than not

 

Surely there would be a preponderance of posts which would reflect such which would outweigh contributory posts

 

Since you made that claim, the burden is on you to prove it

 

Otherwise your just blowin' hard, bro

Link to comment
Share on other sites

People have been writing commercial pap because it will sell for as long as the "business" has existed. What seems to have changed, from my vantage point anyways, is that radio, which has long been the main means of marketing recorded music, has become so tightly controlled that there is little room for innovation. A handful of companies control what you get to hear if you rely on radio as your main source for new music.

 

The free-programming days of FM radio are long gone and generally exist only on college radio and the internet. There is lots of good music being made that just doesn't reach the mainstream audience because it doesn't receive the repetitious airplay that is required if large sales numbers are desired.

 

The internet is going to change how musical "success" is defined (assuming the net neutrality laws remain in effect) and I expect we'll see more narrowcasting and niche marketing without the major labels and Clear Channel being in control of what we hear. There will be fewer megastars making megabucks and more peole selling 1000-10,000 downloads of a single.

 

Just turn off the radio......

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ug... another "all modern music sucks" thread... All modern music doesn't sucks. Some music sucks. I imagine there was sucky music in everybody's beloved 60's and 70's as well. Sucky music sells extremely well for whatever reason. That is the one thing that boggles my mind. But there is good music out there. There is good music being played on the radio. There are bands out there doing something new, doing their own thing. There are musicians out there who make music to make music. You will not find all this watching MTV or listening to Top 40 stations... but stop insulting m-m-my generation.

 

You cite American Idol for some reason... apparently the fact that American Idol exists is supposed to support your argument that we're all idiots and all modern music sucks. But I don't see the logic. Stupid stuff has been around for a long time. When I want to be intellectually stimulated I don't look towards reality TV shows, MTV or see who's on the top 40 list. If you expect to see intelligent things here you are confused. Please don't judge all of modern music from what you see on TV.

 

As far as making music for money goes... I find it difficult to imagine someone's thought process going: "Hey, I want money. I know! I'll go into making music!" I think usually people go into music because they love it and then find it incredably difficult to make a living out of making music. Some people want to make music for a living. They are willing to compromise in the music they make so they can do so. Is that so bad? You might think so, in which case we'll have to disagree.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We've discussed this before, albeit quite a while ago.

 

It was ever thus and always will be..why do you think the word INDUSTRY is in Music Industry?

 

Industry is there to make profit.

 

Geoff

 

(sorry, I stopped reading posts about half way down - I was loosing the will to live - just dowsed myself with petrol, now, where's the lighter.)

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the World will know Peace": Jimi Hendrix

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=738517&content=music

The Geoff - blame Caevan!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Squ:

ug... another "all modern music sucks" thread... All modern music doesn't sucks. Some music sucks. I imagine there was sucky music in everybody's beloved 60's and 70's as well. Sucky music sells extremely well for whatever reason. That is the one thing that boggles my mind. But there is good music out there. There is good music being played on the radio. There are bands out there doing something new, doing their own thing. There are musicians out there who make music to make music. You will not find all this watching MTV or listening to Top 40 stations... but stop insulting m-m-my generation.

 

You cite American Idol for some reason... apparently the fact that American Idol exists is supposed to support your argument that we're all idiots and all modern music sucks. But I don't see the logic. Stupid stuff has been around for a long time. When I want to be intellectually stimulated I don't look towards reality TV shows, MTV or see who's on the top 40 list. If you expect to see intelligent things here you are confused. Please don't judge all of modern music from what you see on TV.

 

As far as making music for money goes... I find it difficult to imagine someone's thought process going: "Hey, I want money. I know! I'll go into making music!" I think usually people go into music because they love it and then find it incredably difficult to make a living out of making music. Some people want to make music for a living. They are willing to compromise in the music they make so they can do so. Is that so bad? You might think so, in which case we'll have to disagree.

Exactly. Someone who gets it and understands history.

 

For the last time, Yze, I specifically mentioned those decades old songs to show the same devices have been used over and over and over and over to sell product. In the case of Won't Get Fooled Again it was the vocal hook. It was you who said,

The chorus has some cliche saying or slogan so people have it in their head and go to the store and buy it, almost like when somone sees a Pizza Hut commercial and wants to order a pie.
To which I respond again, It's been going on for decades, since the beginning of rock & roll. There's nothing new under the sun.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...