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TOPIC: The music industry
The music industry 1 Year ago  
Worldwide the collapse has been near total. Retail? Gone. Manufacturing? No CDs or tapes or vinyl wanted anymore. Engineers, studios, arrangers, session musicians, producers? Gone - in these days of bedroom studios, an artiste can do it all themselves - and the music suffers as a result. Well done George Michael, Prince and all the others. By falling for your own image you've produced a generation of artistes with shit sound, shit arrangements, shit production, shit songs. And when the music is completed? No need for promotion, marketing, sales, image publicity, graphics - do it yourself, stick it on You Tube or iTunes - shit art, shit "packaging", shit airplay, shit exposure. Which, for shit, is fine.

Yes the odd real star can still emerge. Adele, Ed Sheeran. And the odd manufactured star - One Direction, X Factor.

If I had taken the Chair at EMI Globally 17 years ago, I'd have anticipated; started digital TV and radio stations; adapted retail and manufacturing to get involved with iPods and other music carriers; revived a decent TV show like Top of the Pops (I'd have come up with a music equivalent of Strictly or Bakeoff). Concentrated on media star buildup - press, social media.

But that was not to be. So nobody looked after the worldwide music industry and it died. Or is dying. Sad.
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Re:The music industry 1 Year ago  
My point being - collaboration has always been a vital part of great music. Unlike other forms of art; yes a painter needs good paints, canvas, brushes - and an agent/manager (where would Vincent have been without Theo?). But some of the essential ingredients of great music are easily obscured. And they have been lost.
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Re:The music industry 12 Months ago  
Agreed. With my sound engineering bat ears engaged, I can think of some superb pieces of work from years gone by, both technically and artistically. Example: the horn section sweeteners on Michael Jackson tracks were supplied mostly by Jerry Hey and the Seawind Horns. Jerry Hey wrote the Cantina Music in Star Wars, among other things and apart from being an awesome instrumentalist in his own right. The other players are world class and play regularly on the biggest Hollywood music scoring sessions. Nowadays, they have largely been replaced by shitty synthesised sounds that, ironically, were last found on nasty plastic toy keyboards in Jacko's heyday. I'm not against synthesised sound per se, just against shit. Effective synth programming and then doing something musically interesting with it takes long years of training, experience and deep skill.

Something else that dismays me is replacing live musicians with recorded tracks. This has happened in recent years on cruise ships, which used to put on a good show, and in musical theatre* The latter I think is particularly cheapo. The cost savings aren't passed on to the customer of course. They're siphoned upwards to big cheeses. It's part of a bigger trend of squashing down labour costs while living costs increase as per usual, and the rewards therefrom accruing to those who don't contribute much to the actual product and are doing ever better out of other people's efforts. So in that respect, I'm in favour of home studio production because it puts opportunity back into the hands of the little guy.

* and X-Factor et al. A live band would be a sorely needed pick-me-up for those execrable karaoke shows.
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