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SF Chronicle article on declining/changing commercial studio business
Old 10th May 2003
  #31
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
A few comments:

1. Piracy has killed a lot of private investment in unknown artists and in my opinion this makes it a much bigger problem for studios than it is to the major labels. The growth of Pro Tools is a symptom of drastically reduced budgets.

The problem is that Pro Tools can't market the product so in too many cases people can't afford to market it themselves. This ultimately reduces the size of the talent pool the public gets exposed to.

2. A more limited talent pool impairs the overall level of quality which makes going out a lot less appealing to people in S.F. who need to work 50+ hours a week these days just to pay their rent.

This is not a new problem. It's been creeping up on SF for at least 15 years. Visiting Nashville and hearing a few exceptional live performances by people we'd never heard of really brought this point home. It wasn't that we didn't like contemporary styles, it was that the overall level of quality really had slipped from the exceptional level it had been during the early '70s.

3. These days I mostly do mastering for my friends. It varies from reasonably famous people to a lot of folks almost nobody has heard of.

I'm not geared to crank out a couple major label projects a day but I offer an exceptional level of service to a few clients and an exceptional level of value to those who don't need to have six plants serviced yesterday.

Between the time I quit Motown in early 1972 and around 1990 I was building project studios for bands and engineering for them. I got to mix in one of the finest rooms in L.A. (Sound Labs) and I've had my projects mastered by most of the usual suspects in both LA and New York.
Old 10th May 2003
  #32
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by JohnnyTooLoud
The real story is the loss of music and art.
Exactly!
Old 10th May 2003
  #33
Lives for gear
 
heinz's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Up until the late 80s or early 90s there was strong support for music education in schools. Starting musicians young is key to developing experienced talent in later years. These days (at least in America) funding for band and other creative education has been slashed to almost non-existent levels. It is my belief that you are seeing the results of this tradgedy manifest in the context of this thread.
Old 10th May 2003
  #34
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by heinz
Up until the late 80s or early 90s there was strong support for music education in schools. Starting musicians young is key to developing experienced talent in later years. These days (at least in America) funding for band and other creative education has been slashed to almost non-existent levels. It is my belief that you are seeing the results of this tradgedy manifest in the context of this thread.
I started playing bass when I was 12, in 1969, and school funded music education was nowhere on the radar screen for any of the people I made music with. Personally, I don't think that's much of the issue. Piracy is one piece of the puzzle. A dearth of exciting and compelling new music as well. But I'm afraid it's deeper, and likely more permanent, than even those issues.

The world is ever changing. PC/console game sales exceeded music sales in the UK for the first time last year. Technology has brought about many more entertainment options than have ever existed before. Attrition in any one given area of entertainment is to be expected. How many posting here would spend more time listening to music if their ISP was yanked?

I love music. When it's really working, live, or in the studio on a great set of monitors, it's so inexplicably alive and enticing. But even I am subject to the call of the New and Different Thing, beckoning me to spend my time elsewhere these days. Like posting online.


Regards,
Brian T
Old 10th May 2003
  #35
Lives for gear
 
Renie's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Would be/ wannabe that's the same thing in my book, I understood you first time Chris!!!
Old 10th May 2003
  #36
Lives for gear
 
heinz's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by BrianT
I started playing bass when I was 12, in 1969, and school funded music education was nowhere on the radar screen for any of the people I made music with.
Brian we certainly have had different experiences. I have observed that over time musicians have had much less grounding in music theory and fundamentals. For many, their skills may become highly developed but only in a very narrow range.

For me growing up in the 70's there were a myriad of musical education options in grade school & high school... including but not limited to:

- band
- marching band
- orchestra
- jazz band
- drum & bugle corps
- section ensembles (percussion, strings, etc.)
- high quality private instruction

...all as part of the public education system. Mentors played a huge role in the musical development of students, and students could feel good about a music focus while the rest of the school was hip on football and basketball.

Creative arts funding is the first to get slashed when the budgets get crunched. As a result schools these days offer a mere fraction of what I experienced, and it's much less "cool" to be in music during those years unless it's a hack rock band.

It is my opinion that most musicians can only develop the kind of professional sensitivities, range, and knowledge from a well-rounded music eduction. There are of course many exceptions, but if you want to talk about why talent is drying up, I think this is a major factor IMO.
Old 10th May 2003
  #37
Moderator emeritus
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by BrianT
I started playing bass when I was 12, in 1969, and school funded music education was nowhere on the radar screen for any of the people I made music with.
Really? I started in band in the 5th grade (baritone horn), moved to Sousaphone in the 7th grade, when I also started playing acoustic bass in my junior high school orchestra. In the 8th grade, I also started playing electric bass in the stage band, while playing with the orchestra and the marching band. As a junior in high school, I quit playing in the band, and concentrated on playing string bass in the high school orchestra (got a partial college scholarship, since I'd been playing with the local college orchestra while in high school. And my live band stuff started in the 8th grade as well - playing VFW's with a country band that included the student teacher for the Lincoln Junior High School band. When I started playing in blues bands and rock bands in high school, the drummer was in my high school theory class. One of he guitarists in one of the rock bands was also a flute player in the band and orchestra.

Surely Abilene wasn't that far ahead of your home town?
Old 10th May 2003
  #38
Lives for gear
 
Ted Nightshade's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I definitely had a lot of such public school music education growing up in San Francisco. I played trumpet initially, so I got into the band, jazz band, orchestra, the works. When I took up guitar and bass I was already involved with all that so I played guitar in the jazz band and upright in the beginning orchestra. I'm 33, so this was mostly during the 80's when I was in jr. high and high school.
Needless to say, the vast majority of guitarist and drummer types I knew were not involved with these school programs. It was only because I'd been involved already with the horn that I was.

At 33 I am not so very old, and I see plenty of folks in their 50's out there playing regularly- for this reason it's hard to believe we've really even begun to feel the pain from the crunch in creative arts education in the public schools. We'll be reaping that harvest for decades to come.

I feel like I'm carrying the banner of a past civilization, a literate one. Kids don't read like they used to, everything's so shallow and fast paced with TV and the internet. You can look up anything on the internet, but mostly what you find is geared to a very short attention span. (that's why it's so addicting!)

It's weird to be in my early thirties and feeling so obsolete already- I have something of value, but it's mostly of interest to more introspective and literate types, often the best response is from artists in other mediums- visual arts, dance, sculpture, artisan types.

I saw a lot of my gifted peers go for the lower standards when Cobain was king. It wasn't cool to be experienced, knowledgable or sophisticated about music- the coolest thing was to have just started last week and already be going places. Of course the industry PR had a lot to do with that- and all this "anyone can be a star with no skill" is just getting louder every day it seems.
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