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Thread: If music is dying, why are there so many great releases and live shows in 2018?

  1. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Skullhead View Post
    The so called great artists being referred to are hobbyists. They have to work other jobs, full time jobs to get by and do music in their hobby spare time.

    Who is going to do all this self promotion? The artists themselves of course.

    All of this is spreading musicians too thin. Too many hats to be wearing all at once.

    All this is a huge dig into one's time and energy, often creating discord into their personal lives.

    Exhausting and discouraging would be more the theme than an anomaly.
    Often, it is. However, this will ultimately be the question artists have to ask themselves. then proceed accordingly:

    What am I hoping to accomplish by writing/recording my music?

    We know what cover bands hope to accomplish; $$$$

    But, ultimately, what does the artist want to accomplish by writing/recording their own original music?

  2. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    If music is dying it's not because less money is involved. It is because the world is steadily becoming more materialistic, and the crowds intentionally driven away from all forms of higher culture and spiritual achievement.
    But if you look at surveys of what Americans value, materialism went way up and spirituality went way down 30 years ago in the 80s. I highly doubt people are even more materialistic than in the 90s or 00s.

  3. #28
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skullhead View Post
    The so called great artists being referred to are hobbyists.
    Weren't there some good self-released albums in the '70s?

    I think what some of us are not seeing eye-to-eye on is the difference between it being POSSIBLE to create good music independently, and it being IDEAL to do so.
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  4. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by yamishogun View Post
    But if you look at surveys of what Americans value, materialism went way up and spirituality went way down 30 years ago in the 80s. I highly doubt people are even more materialistic than in the 90s or 00s.
    It's not materialism. It's labels not having or investing the money into bands for the purposes of getting them heard. It's the lack of money generated from record sales (which, historically, yielded precious little for the artists in the first place). Without the scale of record company investment that used to be involved, much of the promotion and pushing of a band gets lost.

  5. #30
    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IncogNeato View Post
    Getting attention is the hard part. It's a universe of artists, all clamoring for a moment of your time. It can be exhausting, and discouraging.
    Quote Originally Posted by IncogNeato View Post
    Often, it is. However, this will ultimately be the question artists have to ask themselves. then proceed accordingly:

    What am I hoping to accomplish by writing/recording my music?

    We know what cover bands hope to accomplish; $$$$

    But, ultimately, what does the artist want to accomplish by writing/recording their own original music?

    You hit the nail on the head with both these comments.


    1) Great music is being made today...in droves. The difference is the the end user more often than not has to seek it out and play an active role. Gone are the days where this music was fed to us.

    2) Getting someone's attention is damn near impossible. To answer someone else's inquiry, you bet it's EXPONENTIALLY more difficult to get noticed now vs. the year 2000. The internet, social media, streaming video, and more have created an unfathomable level of content. We are drowning in content. As such, it's very difficult for musicians to stand out from the crowd and for the potential audience to sift through the content to find that. Small labels (especially reputable ones) can help an artist stand out. Pandora and other "suggestion engines" can also help. And sites like Bandcamp, who have managed to grow in popularity can make it easier for musicians and audiences to connect. But without these tools, it's almost impossible.

    3) Agreed that musicians need to come to terms regarding what's driving them. Unlike myself whose company gets commissioned to produce content, most independent music artists do so as a means to express themselves. But to expect that people would actually pay to hear their music simply because they created it is a thing of the past. There's too much subscription based, free or freely accessible content out there fighting for attention as well.

    4) Lastly, sometimes musicians, aspiring musicians, and their audiences miscalculate how large their audience and/or interest is to the music they are creating. Special interest groups (like PE, Facebook groups, etc.) can give the perception that the audience is much larger than it actually is since everyone in that group is talking about or familiar with the artist. When in reality, even relatively "successful" artists can struggle to sell 500 copies of their album or get 20 people to come out to their show.


    The music continues and will for the foreseeable future, because technology makes it easier (relatively speaking) to produce, and easier to make accessible (even if no one is listening). But passion never dies.
    WANTED: Sig-worthy quote.

  6. #31
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    "Boilk"

    I think you make some very good points. I know you were also at Progtoberfest last month. I was blown away by the amount of talent I saw that weekend. Over 40 bands, many of them young / newer, and all of them good to great. There is more great music being made now than I can ever hope to keep up with. Sure, there is a lot of crap out there, but if one does a bit of investigation it is pretty easy to find the good stuff too.

    Regarding the live scene. As I mentioned in another thread. Where I live the live, concert scene has never been better. I live in a small mid-western city, and am about 45 minutes from a medium sized city. Within an hour of where I live there are more cool venues and live concerts than I have ever experienced in the more that 50 years I have lived here. Several very nice venues of various sizes have opened within the last 5 years, along with all the old ones that have been around for years. If I was retired and had unlimited income there is pretty much someone worth seeing in the area just about every week. As it is, I have to pick and choose a lot more, but the choices have become pretty amazing, and that is not including going a bit further out to Detroit or Chicago (about 2 hours each from me)

    I know the music industry is in bad financial shape and it is really tough for artists to make any money out of it, but there still seem to be a lot of them out there trying to make a go of it.

  7. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Poisoned Youth View Post
    You hit the nail on the head with both these comments.


    1) Great music is being made today...in droves. The difference is the the end user more often than not has to seek it out and play an active role. Gone are the days where this music was fed to us.

    2) Getting someone's attention is damn near impossible. To answer someone else's inquiry, you bet it's EXPONENTIALLY more difficult to get noticed now vs. the year 2000. The internet, social media, streaming video, and more have created an unfathomable level of content. We are drowning in content. As such, it's very difficult for musicians to stand out from the crowd and for the potential audience to sift through the content to find that. Small labels (especially reputable ones) can help an artist stand out. Pandora and other "suggestion engines" can also help. And sites like Bandcamp, who have managed to grow in popularity can make it easier for musicians and audiences to connect. But without these tools, it's almost impossible.

    3) Agreed that musicians need to come to terms regarding what's driving them. Unlike myself whose company gets commissioned to produce content, most independent music artists do so as a means to express themselves. But to expect that people would actually pay to hear their music simply because they created it is a thing of the past. There's too much subscription based, free or freely accessible content out there fighting for attention as well.

    4) Lastly, sometimes musicians, aspiring musicians, and their audiences miscalculate how large their audience and/or interest is to the music they are creating. Special interest groups (like PE, Facebook groups, etc.) can give the perception that the audience is much larger than it actually is since everyone in that group is talking about or familiar with the artist. When in reality, even relatively "successful" artists can struggle to sell 500 copies of their album or get 20 people to come out to their show.


    The music continues and will for the foreseeable future, because technology makes it easier (relatively speaking) to produce, and easier to make accessible (even if no one is listening). But passion never dies.
    I agree totally.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveSly View Post
    "Boilk"

    I think you make some very good points. I know you were also at Progtoberfest last month. I was blown away by the amount of talent I saw that weekend. Over 40 bands, many of them young / newer, and all of them good to great. There is more great music being made now than I can ever hope to keep up with. Sure, there is a lot of crap out there, but if one does a bit of investigation it is pretty easy to find the good stuff too.

    Regarding the live scene. As I mentioned in another thread. Where I live the live, concert scene has never been better. I live in a small mid-western city, and am about 45 minutes from a medium sized city. Within an hour of where I live there are more cool venues and live concerts than I have ever experienced in the more that 50 years I have lived here. Several very nice venues of various sizes have opened within the last 5 years, along with all the old ones that have been around for years. If I was retired and had unlimited income there is pretty much someone worth seeing in the area just about every week. As it is, I have to pick and choose a lot more, but the choices have become pretty amazing, and that is not including going a bit further out to Detroit or Chicago (about 2 hours each from me)

    I know the music industry is in bad financial shape and it is really tough for artists to make any money out of it, but there still seem to be a lot of them out there trying to make a go of it.
    Steve! Great to see you at Progtoberfest, and talk a bit. Yes, there are lots of great shows to go to in my area, as well. And, they are virtually all $40, or less. I mean, other than for nostalgia purposes and the odd epic production (Roger Waters' The Wall, comes to mind), does anyone really miss going to arena shows? You paid (pay) a lot of money, the sound quality is usual less than stellar, and the seats are often so far away, that performers are the size of ants. I'd much rather see music in small-to-mid-size, more intimate venues, and do what I can to support bands, by buying something from their merch table.

    I hear some people talk (not so much on this site), as if the the fact that arena rock is in its death throes, equates with the end of 'good' music itself, and nothing could be further from the truth. As Kavus, Bob and others have said, if you don't think there is any great, exciting new music being made, then you aren't looking very hard.

    neil

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plasmatopia View Post
    I know the OP qualified the occupation in regards to covered wagons, but I know a (seventh generation) farrier who seems to be way better off (financially) than most musicians discussed on this site.
    Well...that is strangely comforting to hear! Maybe I should look into becoming a farrier, lol.

    neil

  10. #35
    Agree with the sentiment of the original post but could dilution be the problem.

    Take TV shows for example: Years ago there were only a few channels so the vast majority of viewers tended to watch the same programs. The viewing figures for some programs were huge. Nowadays we have lots and lots of TV channels so viewing is more diluted.

    Maybe the same analogy could be used for music?

  11. #36
    Music may not be dying, but it is certainly much harder than it was 10 years ago to make a living at it. I do realize that most "prog" musicians don't make a living at music, and many don't ever expect to make any money from it, but from those of us that do make our living from music, it's become a lot more challenging. Personally I have a theory that when things changed from owning music (purchasing a physical product that you had to take care of and keep) to just using music, in the eye of most consumers, the music lost much of its value to them. I personally witnessed this 10-15 years ago when working for a car audio shop. Whereas in the '90s, people always gingerly replaced their CDs into cases, with the advent of mp3s burned to CD-rs, people grabbed them by the playing surfaces and left them face down in seats or floorboards. It was obvious that there was less value associated with them. Now, when nearly everything is available to stream, often for free if you're willing to put up with some ads, it's like borrowing or renting the music, and it has a much lower perceived value to the end user. As a result, (of this and other factors) it seems that music overall is declining in value to most folks...Booking live local shows is more difficult, it generally pays less, and the conditions are often not as good. Selling CDs at live shows is less common, and selling CDs over the internet has dropped to a trickle. (Having said that, payment from streaming is slowly increasing, but at this rate it will be a long time before it alone is a substantial source of income for me.) For me this means supplementing with teaching lessons, recording/mixing for other artists, renting out PA, etc. and all of that means less time practicing, writing, arranging, recording, mixing, releasing, and promoting my own music.

    So that's just my two cents. I'm not all doom and gloom, and I feel very blessed to still be able to eek out a very humble living doing what I love, but it's a huge leap of faith every day, and I hope it keeps up. Time will tell I guess. Thanks to the OP and the posters for a very interesting conversation!
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  12. #37
    Occipital Provocatee Plasmatopia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boilk View Post
    Well...that is strangely comforting to hear! Maybe I should look into becoming a farrier, lol.

    neil
    Personally I haven't been able to determine whether being a farrier or a musician will be worse for my lumbar region.
    Let's blow this dinosaur heap.

  13. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Farpoint Kevin View Post
    Personally I have a theory that when things changed from owning music (purchasing a physical product that you had to take care of and keep) to just using music, in the eye of most consumers, the music lost much of its value to them.

    Now, when nearly everything is available to stream, often for free if you're willing to put up with some ads, it's like borrowing or renting the music, and it has a much lower perceived value to the end user. As a result, (of this and other factors) it seems that music overall is declining in value to most folks...
    Anything that is suddenly available for free loses value almost immediately. It becomes instantly disposable.

    If there was a way to have made music available for free in the 70s as it has been since the early 2000s, we never would have had a record industry the way we know it.

    I contend that "most people", meaning most of the millions of folks who bought CDs in the early 90s and the generation who bought LPs and cassettes before that, are not music fans. They are culture fans. They like "that song", then they like "that other song". They would buy an album and still say "that song" is the only good one.

    Prior to the internet, the only way to get "that song" was to buy something (or maybe tape it off the radio or from a friend's copy). Once you remove the necessity of purchase from the equation, all bets are off.

    The amount of people who are actual fans of music, who truly connect with an artist, or a style, or something beyond "that song", are the folks who are left. Us. WE were always a fraction of the whole. WE still buy music and engage with music and connect with art in a way that folks who just like "that song" can't and don't. So, when the forest fire of the digital revolution settled, WE are the ones who are left...still standing.

    Everyone else "outgrew" music, or still only like "that song", or have just moved on to other things. Music never truly connected with them. That's OK. It's not going to connect with everyone. But we now have an entire generation of young people who have grown up with free music. Some of them will connect with it and engage in it on a deeper level at some point, but most of them won't.

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by boilk View Post
    Steve! Great to see you at Progtoberfest, and talk a bit. Yes, there are lots of great shows to go to in my area, as well. And, they are virtually all $40, or less. I mean, other than for nostalgia purposes and the odd epic production (Roger Waters' The Wall, comes to mind), does anyone really miss going to arena shows? You paid (pay) a lot of money, the sound quality is usual less than stellar, and the seats are often so far away, that performers are the size of ants. I'd much rather see music in small-to-mid-size, more intimate venues, and do what I can to support bands, by buying something from their merch table.

    I hear some people talk (not so much on this site), as if the the fact that arena rock is in its death throes, equates with the end of 'good' music itself, and nothing could be further from the truth. As Kavus, Bob and others have said, if you don't think there is any great, exciting new music being made, then you aren't looking very hard.

    neil
    I still do the occasional arena shows, but even there I am lucky as I have a 12,000 seat relatively small arena, with great acoustics 45 minutes from where I live that gets most of the big shows. Prices here tend to be a bit less than in big cities too. In my home town I have an 8,000 seat arena 10 minutes from my house. It is an older venue and the acoustics are not great, but I still go to the occasional show there.

  15. #40
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    I guess it's worth considering that the world population in 1970 was literally half of what it is now so theoretically there are twice as many great musicians out there nowadays
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  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by IncogNeato View Post
    Anything that is suddenly available for free loses value almost immediately. It becomes instantly disposable.

    If there was a way to have made music available for free in the 70s as it has been since the early 2000s, we never would have had a record industry the way we know it.

    I contend that "most people", meaning most of the millions of folks who bought CDs in the early 90s and the generation who bought LPs and cassettes before that, are not music fans. They are culture fans. They like "that song", then they like "that other song". They would buy an album and still say "that song" is the only good one.

    Prior to the internet, the only way to get "that song" was to buy something (or maybe tape it off the radio or from a friend's copy). Once you remove the necessity of purchase from the equation, all bets are off.

    The amount of people who are actual fans of music, who truly connect with an artist, or a style, or something beyond "that song", are the folks who are left. Us. WE were always a fraction of the whole. WE still buy music and engage with music and connect with art in a way that folks who just like "that song" can't and don't. So, when the forest fire of the digital revolution settled, WE are the ones who are left...still standing.

    Everyone else "outgrew" music, or still only like "that song", or have just moved on to other things. Music never truly connected with them. That's OK. It's not going to connect with everyone. But we now have an entire generation of young people who have grown up with free music. Some of them will connect with it and engage in it on a deeper level at some point, but most of them won't.
    What you say is largely true, however, beginning in the 60s and carrying into the 70s, music was the voice of Youth Culture. With the War in Vietnam being an existential threat to the young people of the USA, Rock Music (especially) gave voice to their hopes & fears. This elevated music in the culture to much more than an art form, granting it an almost communal status. This was lost as we went through the materialistic Go-Go 80s, and the situation you describe took hold. However, in the 70s, millions of young people purchased music because it meant something to them, not just because they liked a few songs here and there. (Though there was that too. Nothing is ever monolithic, of course. Except Kansas.)
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  17. #42
    I would still wager that if those millions of young people in the 70s had a free option, most of them would have taken it.

    I see your point about how music was a voice back then, though. However, one could also argue that the fact that the peace/hippie/protest thing was as huge as it was for a time made it just another trend.

    But that's a whole other discussion.

  18. #43
    Orange Tick Squasher Buddhabreath's Avatar
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    Poisoned Youth and others have summed it up nicely.

    My 2 cents is that I think this extends to the Arts in general: while there is a seemingly unending well spring of talent, it seems less valued today as evidenced by the usual fecal-matter that obtains commercial success, the increasing difficulty of making a living in the arts, and the increasing trend of lessening government support for the arts and general "dumbing down" of society (although if we can remove the retarded, pig-ignorant, criminal, crypto-fascist cretins currently in power in the US that could improve).

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  19. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by moecurlythanu View Post
    This was lost as we went through the materialistic Go-Go 80s, and the situation you describe took hold.
    Hey, don't pin the rise of materialism all on the Go-Gos! What about the Material Girl?

  20. #45
    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    Prog is a niche genre...it in no way represents the industry as a whole. If anything, a prog band would be laughed out of a major label's offices.
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  21. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by IncogNeato View Post
    Often, it is. However, this will ultimately be the question artists have to ask themselves. then proceed accordingly:

    What am I hoping to accomplish by writing/recording my music?

    We know what cover bands hope to accomplish; $$$$

    But, ultimately, what does the artist want to accomplish by writing/recording their own original music?
    I think that's unfair to (some) cover bands. I.e., I doubt TMB have ever earned much from their touring. Their shows are expensive to put on.

    Quite aside from that...

    Vincent van Gogh sold one painting in his entire lifetime.

    Salvador Dali became fabulously wealthy.

    Is one "better" than the other? If so, does it have anything to do with the fact that his work did or didn't sell?
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  22. #47
    All genre's have become niche genre's (except, I guess, major label pop and hip hop type stuff). Music sales are a fraction of what they were just 10 or 20 years ago, across the board. There is more music available than ever before, but almost all of it you don't have to pay a dime for. Or you can pay a nominal fee to have millions of songs to hear anytime and anywhere you want.

    Another thing to keep in mind with music "sales" is that now streaming numbers are considered "sales" that count towards rankings (like top 10). 99% of musicians make a pittance off of streaming, even a lot of "big" names (most of whom made their money in the previous 30 or 40 years, so the trickle from streaming is just a bonus anyway).

    Personally, I've never made money from my own music and never really cared, except in my 20's when I was trying to "make it" and drum up interest in my stuff. Which was probably unlikely as that was the late 80's to mid-90's and I was writing quite lengthy and not at all catchy prog songs. However, I made and still make music for my own enjoyment/expression and I would do it even if I was the only person on earth that liked it (which may be true, though people have told me they'd love to buy a finished album, if I ever have one).

    I think it's pretty clear to see that music making is not going to ever be what it once was in the 60's, 70's, and 80's where even niche bands could make a living at just performing and recording. I think that writing has been on the wall since Napster. I have no doubt that people will always make music and some will even survive just doing that. But they won't get rich or anything close to that anymore (maybe making movie soundtracks or scoring video game music, possibly).

  23. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by IncogNeato View Post
    Anything that is suddenly available for free loses value almost immediately. It becomes instantly disposable.

    If there was a way to have made music available for free in the 70s as it has been since the early 2000s, we never would have had a record industry the way we know it.
    ... but we had tapes in the 70's. I would spend my Saturday job cash on an album or two a week, but would always buy a few C90's and tape 4 more from my friends collections. In this way music was shared and you got to hear more than you could afford. They always said then "home taping is killing music" but it really wasn't.

    My kids (now adults themselves) were always brought up with music, gigs, CD's, vinyl, never streaming or stolen MP3s. However they are content with a 10 a month subscription to Apple Music, and can't afford to build a collection like I have. Life is staggeringly expensive for them, no hope of getting on the housing ladder for years, priorities are very different.

    However back to the OP, I agree that there is a staggering amount of interesting music being made available, but you have to do your own research, connect with like-minded folk, share ideas and recommendations. It for sure is not a get rich quick scheme for the musician, that is why we must always support them with cash for their inspiration and endeavours.

  24. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by Sturgeon's Lawyer View Post
    I think that's unfair to (some) cover bands. I.e., I doubt TMB have ever earned much from their touring. Their shows are expensive to put on.
    I bet they make reasonable money, their tickets are as expensive as most established acts, they play the same regular sized venues, they have one truck and a bus (I saw them parked up a few months ago at the most recent show I attended), it's not that big a set up. They also come round each and every year, all over the world, it must be a day job for them these days.

    I know people who make a living just playing covers in wedding function bands and tribute acts, excellent musicians all, can play anything you ask, but never an original note ever issues from their instruments, but if they can keep a roof over their families heads it shows there is money in nostalgia (not fortunes, but some!).

  25. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by JAMOOL View Post
    I guess it's worth considering that the world population in 1970 was literally half of what it is now so theoretically there are twice as many great musicians out there nowadays
    Not only that, but China and India were dirt poor then, a condition that doesn't produce as many musicians compared to much wealthier countries.

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