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Music is a sunset industry
Old 18th January 2011
  #1
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🎧 15 years
Music is a sunset industry

How the Artist Became the Enemy of the Music Industry (TuneCorner)
http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/stor...44rRmzv6xkI_4Q
http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/stor...9RCdEMWYbi_Syw

Having read these and other recent articles on the state of the music industry, here are some angles I have compiled which make the above statement seem foreboding. What are your thoughts, agree or disagree, and do you have success stories to share that defies these observations?

Music is a sunset industry because...

1) It is fast becoming one that is a non "professional" industry. An industry is only professional when there is a high-enough entry-level skill-set required. For example, if one day, through availabilty of information or some technological advancement (like robots or intelligent machines), everyone is able to make pastries that people would pay to consume, pastry making will be no longer be a professional industry. In a non-professional industry, skill level no longer commands a price premium because there is no longer a significantly discernible difference between how a pastry baked by a trained patissier tastes different from one baked by a non-trained amateur's robot. The existing industry self-destructs subsequently because less and less people train to become patissiers and the standard of pastry making becomes leveled across the board. An example of an existing non-professional industry would be the cleaning industry.

2) Successful promotion relies more and more on novelty. Lack of attention span, clutter, info overload - all these makes bygone the era when all it took to promote records besides touring was to put money to pump it to radio and make a good music video. One can argue "oh all it takes is creativity to break through the clutter!". If you can put a funny video on Youtube and get 1 miillion views, everyone else will try it as well (because it doesn't cost much to do it). Then the novelty is destroyed. What's next? Climb a building and unfurl a banner to promote your album (like the French spiderman)? How many novelties can artists create - the number is definitely not infinite. And novelty is about the only thing that interests people enough to view your content nowadays. If it has been done before you can fuggedaboudit.

3) Its consumers have become its creators as well. And it is not like in a good way, e.g. in a certain part of the classical music era, people commonly bought scores and have a piano in their house. They partake in music making, though it is not strictly creation and it's strictly for personal entertainment. Now, the stereotypical bedroom musician or band in your neighbourhood whose guitarists can only play 3 chords can too upload their music online and sell it. It would be all good if only there is a efficient system of filtering music quality for the music consumer, but who's to define what is "music quality"?. Therefore the world is flooding with music by hobbyists, and that is hindering music consumers from music made by skilled musicians out there. Not only that, people who have the money or skills to spot talent and invest in them have trouble finding the gems out there.

4) The consumer's taste is highly fragmented, partly due to virtually limitless choice. Meaning, if you search for Punk, you may get retro-punk, death-punk, red-haired punk, screamo punk, not so emo punk - you get the picture - there are more genre-labels than actual differences in the sub-genres. Music services like Tunecore say there is more music being consumed or bought than ever in history. That is true, but if viewed from a perspective of a musician trying to make a living from his music, what is it in for him? You can tell him indie artists sold X million dollars worth of downloads in the past year, and on the average each consumer spent Y dollars more on buying music downloads than the previous year, but this artist only knows he sold $18 worth of downloads. Because of fragmentation, each piece of the pie in Chris Anderson's long tail is too small to even put food on the table for an artist.

5) The value of digital media is approaching zero, there's no longer scarcity, in economic terms. Discussed in great length in the past years. If people are not willing to pay for music, then no one can survive creating it professionally. Some say find other ways to monetize, like let advertisers have to pay for it. But no successful ad supported services survived or is successfully ubiquitous in all regions of the world, at least as of now.

6) The digital lifestyle era led to consumers having much more entertainment options and thus less of their time is spent on consuming music. This point is self-explanatory and largely proven true.

7) Revenue windows are lacking, when compared to movie-making. For movies, audiences still pay to watch them in theatres first (because it is a communal experience, and also it is largely affordable). Then subsequently there's the DVD release, rental, licensing to overseas TV networks, merchandising etc. There are only two forms of selling for music - recorded and live. Music downloads is not even selling fast enough, and would anyone pay to listen to an upstart talented band that they have never heard of? And how many new bands actually have the resources to sell shows on their own? How much would music fans pay to watch you live, more or less than a movie ticket?

8) The businesses that make up the industry are feeding on the industry itself, instead of growing it. Music schools are still selling courses on audio engineering (when soon there will be no purpose built studios left) and music business (when there will soon be no music business to speak of); gear and plugin manufacturers are profiting from making "feel-good" products meant for amateurs who have yet to develop skills to discern good or bad sounding tools; studios (out of survival) are undercutting each other and recording bands who obviously can't play and making them sound good artificially with drum replacement and autotune; stores like iTunes store and Nokia music are actually feeding the sale of their hardware products; music software makers are increasingly developing tools that will one day allow anyone to make music automatically with a touch on their screens...does any of these actually help create a future pool of real musicians that will beget an industry that is financially self-sustaining?
Old 18th January 2011
  #2
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Batchainpuller78's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
well it's gonna be hard to argue those points, agreed on all counts.
sure there will be succes stories that counter this, but that's more likely to be the exception than the rule... which is not to say that there might be more "succes" stories today as as you said the consumer is taking part in the creation and has it's own little stream out to the world which lets him take part, this is gonna feel a lot better to those people than being snobbed off by a professional industry and never get to claim the 15 minutes of fame so this view will likely to be only be shared by industry professionals?
Old 18th January 2011 | Show parent
  #3
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cinealta's Avatar
 
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Good points and true.
Old 18th January 2011 | Show parent
  #4
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1: Everything tastes the same if everything is made by the same technology and using the same approaches and if the previously required expert skills are embedded in the technology.

2: Novelty requires something to not taste the same. The lack of Novelty is a direct function of 1:

3: I'm not sure why more people becoming creators should stop people consuming. people who can play 3 chords and upload the Music is fine by me. The problem is investing the same lack of dedication and projecting it on creators who are seriously dedicated. There's no reason to do that imo. If dedicated artists are willing to support all creative endeavors of any and every other creative then, there is little reason to not return the honor.

It's inevitable that more and more people will become digital creators but if people let a creative economy form in an environment where the creative output content has zero price then, there is certainly going to be zero creative economy. instead of a valuable environment forming around creativity you will have a footnote in the history of creative potential. any society where it's most valuable creative assets are rendered valueless is doomed.

There's a whole bunch of technology to come yet. like telepresence and augmented reality. with such technologies peoples fragmented media experiences will be able to become rounded experiences once again. Travel will become instantaneous and people will start to become less fragmented and discriminate more.

don't let anyone tell you that peoples creativity is worthless.
Old 18th January 2011 | Show parent
  #5
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
"Music is a sunset industry"


Does this mean I should concentrate on writing songs about sunsets ??????


Maybe buy the publishing and copyrights to Gordon Lightfoot's " Sundown " ???





I'll stop now..........
Old 18th January 2011 | Show parent
  #6
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🎧 15 years
Read the book " you are not a gadget"
Old 18th January 2011 | Show parent
  #7
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muser ➡️
1: Everything tastes the same if everything is made by the same technology and using the same approaches and if the previously required expert skills are embedded in the technology.

2: Novelty requires something to not taste the same. The lack of Novelty is a direct function of 1:

3: I'm not sure why more people becoming creators should stop people consuming. people who can play 3 chords and upload the Music is fine by me. The problem is investing the same lack of dedication and projecting it on creators who are seriously dedicated. There's no reason to do that imo. If dedicated artists are willing to support all creative endeavors of any and every other creative then, there is little reason to not return the honor.

It's inevitable that more and more people will become digital creators but if people let a creative economy form in an environment where the creative output content has zero price then, there is certainly going to be zero creative economy. instead of a valuable environment forming around creativity you will have a footnote in the history of creative potential. any society where it's most valuable creative assets are rendered valueless is doomed.

There's a whole bunch of technology to come yet. like telepresence and augmented reality. with such technologies peoples fragmented media experiences will be able to become rounded experiences once again. Travel will become instantaneous and people will start to become less fragmented and discriminate more.

don't let anyone tell you that peoples creativity is worthless.
Sure creativity isn't worthless, not in any medium or form still.
I think rounding up the defragementaion again is going to be a lot harder... It's much easier to divide than to group.
219 days and we still got no formed government. heh
Old 18th January 2011 | Show parent
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Batchainpuller78 ➡️
... It's much easier to divide than to group.

Said another way ;



It's easier to destroy than to build ...........................



.
Old 18th January 2011
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saudade ➡️
There are only two forms of selling for music - recorded and live.
. . . and DVDs of live concerts and combined box sets of DVDs and CDs with fan books, posters, backgrounders, etc. and CDs as concert tickets and . . . well, you get the idea.

But thanks for a really good topic and post.

It's just that the punters no longer want 45 mins of poorly recorded rehashes of of the old 4:4 five minute tunes on a piece of cheap plastic and they want downloads even less.

The music industry is remarkable unimaginative in turning to new products and taking new directions.
Old 18th January 2011 | Show parent
  #10
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By similar flawed rhetoric you could argue that Food is a sunset industry.

And as for "artists killing the music industry" - how about whinging about how the music industry has been killing artists. Quite literally in some high profile cases.

There is nothing new under the sun. History just repeats itself in different forms.

There is only limited room at the top for a handful of hugely successful commercial artists. Nothing has significantly changed in that regard. It's never really been fair or reasonable or even based on artist merit. As Elvis would say, "that's just the way the cookie crumbles".
Old 18th January 2011 | Show parent
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Batchainpuller78 ➡️
Sure creativity isn't worthless, not in any medium or form still.
I think rounding up the defragementaion again is going to be a lot harder... It's much easier to divide than to group.
219 days and we still got no formed government. heh
yep.. fragmentation is a wild card.

219 days! maybe they are trying to avoid something.
Old 18th January 2011 | Show parent
  #12
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Let's compare it to sports: Millions of people go out and do sports every day, just because it feels good. Only a hand full of athletes are paid for this.

The moment musicians forget about the money, they can start to let out what they really carry inside. The music scene can get even more colorful like this, since they are not restricted by markets any more. Due to the media overkill, it is on the one hand very hard to find listeners for your band, and on the other hand just as hard to find good music that you like. But it still happens and it still feels good, no matter on which side you are....
doesn't it?
Old 18th January 2011 | Show parent
  #13
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The music industry is obviously in trouble, but only really because of one of your points. Your points may be valid, but qualitatively and quantitively the music industry has always been populated by mercenaries armed with novelty music.

Digital copies are not 'copies' they are identical to the original. So anything that can be digitally 'copied' has an innate value of zero. There is zero scarcity. There is infinite supply. Music has ceased to have any real value. So the only way to get people to pay for it is to invite them into the habit, like people who buy bottled water, people can clearly be convinced of almost anything.

Now this is so obvious why did the record industry do nothing about it 15 years ago? I, for one, can say I pointed it out over a decade ago to my label boss at the time and asked him what 'the plan' was. They did nothing. Laughably nothing except fought for absurd things like 'copyright' enforcement. Took teenagers to court in show trials. They turned folk off 'the habit'.

Clearly this all came at a bad time for the industry. The transformation of most the major labels into public companies did nothing for their performance. The structure of the music industry doesn't suit the market. I mean you can't increase performance in a quarter if your artist just decides to go on holiday. So, in their defence, they've had a lot on their plate. (how share-ownership has killed the record industry would probably be the best thesis over anything else - but I digress)

Here's an example of their undue diligence: only this week Sony and Universal (in the UK) decided they should release records as soon as they are playing on the radio. They have still been following the pattern of the past 50 years and playing the tune on the airwaves for 6 weeks before actual release.

It only just struck them that kids these days hear something and then, rightly, expect to be able to get it instantly. Apparently they were 'surprised' to discover after PAYING for research that demand has already peaked way before they were releasing, kids have recorded it from digital radio and shared it a million times before they've had a chance to exploit their product.

I mean, of all the moronic, short-sighted buffoonery.

So here's where we stand. Either the music industry has let the damage go too deep and it's irreversible or it's not.

You just have to change people's habits rather than complacently expecting them to behave the way they have done or, to split metaphors, get out the kitchen.
Old 18th January 2011 | Show parent
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flatfinger ➡️
Read the book " you are not a gadget"
But I am a gadget! But I just twist knobs I can't even do signal processing...
Old 18th January 2011 | Show parent
  #15
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StratSvante's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Maybe music as an industry but that doesn't mean that all good music will dissapear!
Old 18th January 2011 | Show parent
  #16
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well then how about some music to go out to...

Old 18th January 2011 | Show parent
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Czybulski ➡️
Let's compare it to sports: Millions of people go out and do sports every day, just because it feels good. Only a hand full of athletes are paid for this.

The moment musicians forget about the money, they can start to let out what they really carry inside. The music scene can get even more colorful like this, since they are not restricted by markets any more. Due to the media overkill, it is on the one hand very hard to find listeners for your band, and on the other hand just as hard to find good music that you like. But it still happens and it still feels good, no matter on which side you are....
doesn't it?
if we are going to forget about money why are we even talking about this?
Old 18th January 2011 | Show parent
  #18
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czybulski ➡️
Let's compare it to sports: Millions of people go out and do sports every day, just because it feels good. Only a hand full of athletes are paid for this.

The moment musicians forget about the money, they can start to let out what they really carry inside. The music scene can get even more colorful like this, since they are not restricted by markets any more. Due to the media overkill, it is on the one hand very hard to find listeners for your band, and on the other hand just as hard to find good music that you like. But it still happens and it still feels good, no matter on which side you are....
doesn't it?
To be Honest, this is why I hate using analogies.
an analogy always (seems) to offer some kind of solution but imo they ever rarely do.
If you deconstruct them they soon start to make very little sense and are often loaded with assumptions.

I always thought Monty Python got it right when they said.
"adapted for Radio by taking a piece of wood and banging a few nails into it"

there's little to no coloration I can see between people making meaningful Art while expecting to function in an
information economy environment, and being able to eat.

only the people able to infuse some kind of real value into your labors will be the ones pulling the strings.

I'd rather Artists pull their own economic strings than a pizza parlor do it for them..

Last edited by Muser; 18th January 2011 at 08:05 PM.. Reason: slight addition.
Old 18th January 2011 | Show parent
  #19
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🎧 10 years
The internet has replaced certain aspects of music in more subtle, stranger ways as well. The average depressed teenager used to find solace in going to a show in a dingy club, finding those 5 people who they could relate to by worshiping the same band, tracking down import singles obsessively, etc. It used to fill a void.

Now you just hit google or facebook and BAM there are 10,000 people right there who dress the same and have the same hopes and fears that you do.

I think this is part of the problem but it tends to get discredited here - piracy aside, the internet is fulfilling a lot of gaps that were fulfilled by music in generations past, even if they aren't doing it with music directly.
Old 18th January 2011
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saudade ➡️
How the Artist Became the Enemy of the Music Industry (TuneCorner)
The Worst-Selling Number One Record In History... - Digital Music News
If Major Labels Are Bleeding So Badly, Why Are They Still Creating the Biggest Artists? - Digital Music News

Having read these and other recent articles on the state of the music industry, here are some angles I have compiled which make the above statement seem foreboding. What are your thoughts, agree or disagree, and do you have success stories to share that defies these observations?

Music is a sunset industry because...
...of Piracy...
Old 18th January 2011
  #21
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10 Reviews written
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saudade ➡️
1) It is fast becoming one that is a non "professional" industry.
I don't think it matters until this is the stuff that starts filling up ipods:
SoundClick - Free MP3 music download and much, much more.

what exactly are "non-professional industries" sounds like an oxymoron.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saudade ➡️
2) Successful promotion relies more and more on novelty.
When has it not? In a way all successful artists are a novelty in that they are unique Hendrix, Zeppelin, NIN, Radiohead, Madonna, Prince, etc - all unique. I'd say the opposite is true today, successful promotion is more reliant on music that appeals to a broader range of people and is less novel, and more bland.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saudade ➡️
3) Its consumers have become its creators as well.
See #1 - so what? When the output of hobbyists is taking up more space on ipods than commercial, professionally produced music - you may have a point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saudade ➡️
4) The consumer's taste is highly fragmented, partly due to virtually limitless choice.
which is exactly why sales should be booming in the age of 99 cent songs and not dropping. the spending power from a decade ago can now be spread over more varied choices, deeper catalog, etc. the size and scale of the internet, as well as instant access to the largest commercial library ever should be driving massive spikes in sales - unfortunately the illegally free, consequence free supply of the same product is also available.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saudade ➡️
5) The value of digital media is approaching zero, there's no longer scarcity, in economic terms.
this point has been beating to death and is simple just not true - digital scarcity is only an issue due to digital piracy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saudade ➡️
6) The digital lifestyle era led to consumers having much more entertainment options and thus less of their time is spent on consuming music.
Absolutely not true - they're consuming more music than ever, across more platforms than ever - that consumption unfortunately is just not being paid for...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saudade ➡️
7) Revenue windows are lacking, when compared to movie-making.
not really, the profit center for films is home video not box office and home video sales are also plummeting due to piracy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saudade ➡️
8) The businesses that make up the industry are feeding on the industry itself, instead of growing it.
Only because of Piracy removing the revenue that would be created by the consumption of paid sales.

Your arguments can only be evaluated in an environment without piracy, because in an environment of rampant piracy as the norm there is no way to separate the two.

You can whistle in the dark that there are no monsters here, but the elephant in the room, which you have chose to ignore wholesale is piracy.
Old 18th January 2011 | Show parent
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Czybulski ➡️
Let's compare it to sports: Millions of people go out and do sports every day, just because it feels good. Only a hand full of athletes are paid for this.

The moment musicians forget about the money, they can start to let out what they really carry inside. The music scene can get even more colorful like this, since they are not restricted by markets any more. Due to the media overkill, it is on the one hand very hard to find listeners for your band, and on the other hand just as hard to find good music that you like. But it still happens and it still feels good, no matter on which side you are....
doesn't it?
so to make sports "more beautiful" no athletes should be paid?
Old 18th January 2011 | Show parent
  #23
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chrisso's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The Beatles were millionaires fairly early on. They're still the second biggest selling artists of the period 2000-2010.
Are you telling me they never let out what they carried inside?
Old 18th January 2011 | Show parent
  #24
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by purple vista ➡️
...of Piracy...
Yeah, quite incredible post one asks to be taken seriously, then lists 8 factors damaging music and doesn't mention piracy once.
Denial.... or what?
Old 19th January 2011 | Show parent
  #25
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narcoman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czybulski ➡️
Let's compare it to sports: Millions of people go out and do sports every day, just because it feels good. Only a hand full of athletes are paid for this.

The moment musicians forget about the money, they can start to let out what they really carry inside. The music scene can get even more colorful like this, since they are not restricted by markets any more. Due to the media overkill, it is on the one hand very hard to find listeners for your band, and on the other hand just as hard to find good music that you like. But it still happens and it still feels good, no matter on which side you are....
doesn't it?
yeah but they're restricted by their lack of respect, reward and freedom to pursue any artistic statements they wish to make. Most - but not all - unpaid artists are shite. Without value you get no Beatles, QOTSA, Coltrane or anything else that so many have loved. Neither do you get Aqua and Nickleback - but that's another story 11 heh
Old 19th January 2011 | Show parent
  #26
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duvalle's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by purple vista ➡️
...of Piracy...
give me a simple solution and i am happy! heh
wouldn't it be great, if it was so easy ...

Old 19th January 2011 | Show parent
  #27
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
One factor I didn't spot when I skim read this thread was how music has been redefined to a very large extent by a 'secondary consequence' of digitalization - that of no longer needing to be able to PLAY and INSTRUMENT with any degree of skill to be able to make good music (but of a very different kind).

So that still one scarcity that still remains. That although music can be made by anyone these days, good musicianship (ie the ability to play a musical instrument well - or even at all) is still probably about as rare as it always was.

In fact with so many ways to make music WITHOUT playing an instrument (skillfully) then maybe good musicianship is lower now than it ever was...? (because those with an interest in 'making music' (but no burning desire to be a guitarist etc) can now make it using DAWs, VI,s Loops, MIDI editing etc.

But of course this scarcity is offset by people's tastes which have expanded into all the music which can be made without good musicianship (instrument skills). So it balances out.

But an aesthetic swing back towards instrument/ vocal based, 'live' and 'raw' music might create a proper market/ demand again....

You never know...

I think the other component VASTLY overlooked is message. 99.9999999999999999% of music/ musicians have absolutely nothing original to say.

If the market ever decided it had had enough information already regarding lady humps or some singer's account of their sexual relationship dilemma/ conquest/ prowess/ break up then the supply pool would shrink to 0.000000001% of artists who would presumably all sell very well.

You never know...

I play twice monthly on average in a traditional punk outfit and we have achieved a fair degree of success in (mostly Eastern) Europe. But when we started feeling the pinch (especially fuel/ general touring costs) we decided to sell advertising space during our live sets. At the moment we usually have two 5 minute 'ad breaks' during our live set, mostly local businesses, computer gaming software and specialist online punk clothing suppliers.

Initially it meant forking out for a video projector and laptop but we've more than covered that expense in revenue now. Some people think we're going against the whole punk ethic but other's think it's actually very punk in a kind of post modern avant garde wa- Ha Ha no I'm shitting you of course - I'm not really in a punk band and we don't really sell adverts..... the image just popped into my mind - I don't know why! I'm sure it will come to that eventually though.... LOL

But seriously, I wish this so called modern culture would just hurry up and die so we can invent a new and better one ... sheeesh.
Old 19th January 2011 | Show parent
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Outdaw ➡️
But seriously, I wish this so called modern culture would just hurry up and die so we can invent a new and better one ... sheeesh.
new culture might be seriously helped by new money... every previous emerging music scene started as a community that was self supported through it's own contributions - today, that is not the case.

nothing can germinate or grow when everything that's created is taken, and nothing is given in return.

but don't worry, to your comment - in the situation above, eventually the snake tries to eat it's own tail, and you know what the looks like...

Old 19th January 2011 | Show parent
  #29
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by purple vista ➡️
new culture might be seriously helped by new money... every previous emerging music scene started as a community that was self supported through it's own contributions - today, that is not the case.


In other words ; PARASITES have an annoying habit of wiping out the thing that they derive sustenance from !!!!

You would think that humans , with there supposed superior intelligence would be able to avoid these things BUT maybe not !!!!


I don't care what the technophile enabler- gizmo vendors are trying to pass off as they new "musical meritocracy "

We had a simple and effective system where folks all voted with their wallets . This new fangled system has had enough time, and it doesn't take much too see it's going to be a friggingn TRAIN WRECK !!!


The shortsightedness of the Freetards isn't much of a surprise really .Look at how many people shell out $ for pay for view Wrestling to see who will "win " And yet won't give up $.99 a tune to keep songwriters off the endangered species list!!!


Reminds me of the lyrics to XTC's "Smartest Monkeys"


Y'all give yourselves a pat on the back now , ya here !!
Old 19th January 2011 | Show parent
  #30
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Of course you know what the real problem is don't you..

All the power is ultimately in the hands of the buying public now

That's the real problem. It is BECAUSE the buying public have all the power, through unlimited and effortless choice, that major record labels and the entertainment industry as a whole are having to cater to their lowest most dumbed down drives just to stay in business.

The corporate music biz may have powerful tools (media monopoly, money, etc) but the actual power lies with the buying (or not) pubic.

If the public wasn't so easily bowled over by some skinny tart on the TV in her bra and knickers then they could easily create the best music (and arts) culture ever.. for themselves and for us.

You see, I no longer hate corporations now (LOL) ... noooooo, I hate the dumbed down mass of morons who have allowed themselves to become spiritually dead by exchanging their infinite potential as unique and mysterious beings for the wearing of their identikit mass media generated public personas, capable of destroying culture and art, without even realizing it, simply out of a desire to fit in better with the collectivist homogenized global village society of mass conformity.

... off for another lie down ......

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