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  1. #1
    meat popsicle r.a's Avatar
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    Lightbulb R.A & SimWorld Discuss the Music Business

    ok, first off, you should have posted this as a new thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by simulatedworld View Post
    Look, here's how it works in the music business...

    If you're not making it anywhere, it's for one or both of two fundamental reasons:

    1) Not enough people are willing to pay for your music, either because it's not good enough or not marketable enough (in business terms these are the same thing), or
    2) You haven't made enough of an effort to market yourself.
    ok, so far so good.

    Quote Originally Posted by simulatedworld View Post
    The whole "zomg the music business is just RANDOM LUCK!" thing is total bullshit perpetuated by non-musicians who don't know what the fuck they're talking about and/or failed musicians who want to make excuses for having failed/continuing to fail.

    I don't buy it. The amount of luck required to succeed in music is inversely proportional to the amount of work and time you're willing to put into it. Starting a band IS starting a business, and if you're not making money it's because you need to improve your product and/or the way you market it. End of story.
    ok. "improve" is being used loosely. include the word "change". a change to tailor a demographic or a major label's demand doesn't necessarily mean "improve" all the time. it means you are not doing what they are asking you to do.

    unfortunately it wasn't the end of the story.

    Quote Originally Posted by simulatedworld View Post
    If you've been out touring the country and passing out thousands of demos for several years and nobody in the industry with any clout is taking notice or paying any attention, it's not because you're unlucky--it's because you suck.
    what an ignorant, blindly broad, crude and inexperienced thing to say. well, its either inexperience or you're taste in music is based mostly on your programming, and you have accepted it as your reality. or you're just being a dick because you're ego hasn't been properly humbled yet.

    its ok, you're still young and you're an entp so who knows, maybe in the next ten years you'll turn into a bad ass and not a salty prick.

    Quote Originally Posted by simulatedworld View Post
    Industry scouts are everywhere; too many bands delude themselves into thinking they'll "make it when the right guy hears us"--if you're truly good, you'll be showered with praise virtually everywhere you go, because to informed and experienced people in the industry, it's obvious who's good and who isn't despite what your personal tastes happen to be.
    its more obvious that its about who's marketable and who isn't. its not always who's "good", little feller.

    Quote Originally Posted by simulatedworld View Post
    Notice how labels don't sign totally unmarketable bands no matter how much the A&R guy happens to enjoy them?
    oh word you work for a label? how many a&r guys for (financially and critically) successful labels do you know? wow, thats great! good for you!



    again, marketable/good = debatable as being the same thing. there may be worlds out there for you to discover.

    Quote Originally Posted by simulatedworld View Post
    It's just like poker players who whine and whine about how they're the unluckiest player in the world, because their perspectives aren't even wide enough to grasp the reasons why they suck. And yet the best players in both the music world and the poker world still come out with lots and lots of money every year, and I don't buy the bullshit socialist argument that everyone should be paid the same for not doing as good a job.
    you compare making music to playing poker. how does that work, exactly?

    Quote Originally Posted by simulatedworld View Post
    If you think that any "bad band" ever actually makes a lot of money, you're judging music according to arbitrary inner standards and you lack context.
    and again, your concept of "good" or "bad" is skewed by the inner standards you place, which seems to be based on financial and commercial success.

    Quote Originally Posted by simulatedworld View Post
    Well, this is an awesome demonstration of why Ti/Fi tends to do a poor job of evaluating art. This time, though, I'm going to demonstrate my Ni and just say that I'm confident in my position on this that I genuinely don't care whether or not you understand.

    Peace out!
    thats a crutch and a weak attempt to feign avoiding criticism.

    thats ok, i enjoyed responding to you.
    "All authority of any kind, especially in the field of thought and understanding, is destructive and evil. Leaders destroy the followers and the followers destroy the leaders. You have to be your own teacher and your own disciple. You have to question everything that man has accepted as valuable, as necessary."
    -
    J.Krishnamurti

  2. #2
    Freshman Member simulatedworld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by r.a View Post
    ok. "improve" is being used loosely. include the word "change". a change to tailor a demographic or a major label's demand doesn't necessarily mean "improve" all the time. it means you are not doing what they are asking you to do.
    You'd be surprised how many obscure acts manage to make at least decent money just by building an underground following because they're good performers with good music.

    If no one likes you, it's probably for one of two reasons--either you're a misunderstood genius, or you suck. While both are technically possible, which seems more probable?



    Quote Originally Posted by r.a View Post
    what an ignorant, blindly broad, crude and inexperienced thing to say. well, its either inexperience or you're taste in music is based mostly on your programming, and you have accepted it as your reality. or you're just being a dick because you're ego hasn't been properly humbled yet.

    its ok, you're still young and you're an entp so who knows, maybe in the next ten years you'll turn into a bad ass and not a salty prick.
    This is pretty funny, because the fact that my ego *HAS* been properly humbled many times for many years is the very reason I know these things.

    I did the whole "Nah dude we're AWESOME, nobody wants to buy our music cause they just don't GET us!" thing for a long time. Doesn't lead to much success, I promise.

    I'm talking business here, not arbitrary aesthetics. "Good" in terms of music critique is a combination of both.


    Quote Originally Posted by r.a View Post
    its more obvious that its about who's marketable and who isn't. its not always who's "good", little feller.
    Hilariously out of place condescending nicknames aside, "good" is a combination of artistic aesthetic and marketability in exactly the right proportions, and yes--informed people in the music industry can and do recognize this. It's honestly pretty funny how someone with as clearly naive a perspective as yours is accusing me of naivete.

    When I was younger and more naive I thought that my band was going to make it sooner or later, despite the fact that our shows never really got bigger than 30 people, just because the right person hadn't heard us yet! We were fooling ourselves and we were getting nowhere because we refused to play by the rules of the music industry...you can't make marketability 100% of your goal or you'll just look fake, but the best artists still keep an eye on marketability and balance it with artistry.





    Quote Originally Posted by r.a View Post
    oh word you work for a label? how many a&r guys for (financially and critically) successful labels do you know? wow, thats great! good for you!
    I have before. I've met and personally spoken with a number of professional A&R people, engineers, and higher level musicians than myself. I gig and teach semi-professionally in Atlanta and am always seeking out new opportunities. I have recorded at Stankonia in Atlanta and the drummer in two of my bands/my roommate is a regular session player at Treesound, where I have met a couple of the engineers and other employees as well. So yes, I do have some idea of what I'm talking about, thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by r.a View Post


    again, marketable/good = debatable as being the same thing. there may be worlds out there for you to discover.
    Not really, being marketable is one important aspect of being good that many NP musicians neglect because they think they can rewrite the rules arbitrarily and still succeed.



    Quote Originally Posted by r.a View Post
    you compare making music to playing poker. how does that work, exactly?
    It's called intuition; you should try it some time. Additionally, I'd recommend not shooting down my ideas on the conceptual relationships between these two concepts until you're sure you've spent significantly more time studying each of them than I have--which I doubt very seriously.



    Quote Originally Posted by r.a View Post
    and again, your concept of "good" or "bad" is skewed by the inner standards you place, which seems to be based on financial and commercial success.
    sigh. no. wrong. My standards of good and bad are based on success in the music industry+respect from other informed musicians and people in the music industry.

    it's not based on my own arbitrary personal conception of good art; I reserve that for deciding what I like and don't like--not what's good or isn't good.



    Quote Originally Posted by r.a View Post
    thats a crutch and a weak attempt to feign avoiding criticism.

    thats ok, i enjoyed responding to you.
    No, I've already deconstructed his entire position and he didn't even notice. I simply don't care.
    If you could be anything you want, I bet you'd be disappointed--am I right?

  3. #3
    meat popsicle r.a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simulatedworld View Post

    If no one likes you, it's probably for one of two reasons--either you're a misunderstood genius, or you suck. While both are technically possible, which seems more probable?
    sucking is more probable. thanks for expanding on that.

    Quote Originally Posted by simulatedworld View Post
    I did the whole "Nah dude we're AWESOME, nobody wants to buy our music cause they just don't GET us!" thing for a long time. Doesn't lead to much success, I promise.
    yes, that is a naive way of thinking about things. being proactive and finding your niche is the only way for the more obsucre and less apparently talented acts to get any due attention. licensing is always a good option for talented, yet less marketable bands that won't be touring any time soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by simulatedworld View Post
    I'm talking business here, not arbitrary aesthetics. "Good" in terms of music critique is a combination of both.
    agreed.

    Quote Originally Posted by simulatedworld View Post
    Hilariously out of place condescending nicknames aside, "good" is a combination of artistic aesthetic and marketability in exactly the right proportions, and yes--informed people in the music industry can and do recognize this.
    im talking about the music that hits 90% of the population that does not know music past whatever is on the radio.

    and i really didnt like how you were throwing the word "good" around, especially with the word "truly" in front of it. im glad there is more to you than that. thank you for clarifying. i am selectively nit-picky about certain things and its good you didn't take my language personally. if we were having this conversation in person my sassiness would come off less like an attack and more an affectionately aggressive provocation for clarification. that being said, i dont take any of it back

    i was referring to the standards of the mainstream labels who follow formulas. at the executive levels, its more of a demographically-centered system, often with creative limitations based on aural neuroscience.

    a thousand bands playing the same familiar chord progressions will make more money for the labels than if they keep signing and promoting new and more varied artists that go against this grain. certain harmonics and sequences of chords trigger certain firings of synapses in the brain. these patterns can be used to keep people 'hooked' on familiarity.

    its less about creative talent, and more about dragging a cash cow until its been dead for a while. in many cases, if a producer knows how to write a catchy tune based on these familiar patterns, all the label has to do is hire studio musicians to record the parts, and play the backing tracks at the live show while another group of musicians is performing or pretending to perform the material live. based on what you said about your background (), you are probably well familiar with this.

    people will in fact believe the music is actually "good", neglecting they are at the other end of a thoroughly-applied science of triggering emotion through sound. this science is one of the aspects of the industry that keeps people spending money.

    very rarely are the releases of new artists not thoroughly calculated. and yes, once in a while, actual, original talent makes it to the top. overnight sensations still exist but in that case the artists really have to be good.
    "All authority of any kind, especially in the field of thought and understanding, is destructive and evil. Leaders destroy the followers and the followers destroy the leaders. You have to be your own teacher and your own disciple. You have to question everything that man has accepted as valuable, as necessary."
    -
    J.Krishnamurti

  4. #4
    Freshman Member simulatedworld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by r.a View Post
    sucking is more probable. thanks for expanding on that.
    Thanks.



    Quote Originally Posted by r.a View Post
    yes, that is a naive way of thinking about things. being proactive and finding your niche is the only way for the more obsucre and less apparently talented acts to get any due attention. licensing is always a good option for talented, yet less marketable bands that won't be touring any time soon.
    If your band is so unmarketable that you can't even tour because not enough people will buy your shit, I'd have a hard time even calling you a band. Professional bands make their living principally through touring, via concert ticket sales and merchandising.

    The point is, if you're truly a good band/performer, and you make a legitimate effort to go out and market yourself, you WILL gain a following, whether or not major labels are interested.

    My point wasn't that there don't exist underground musicians with talent, just that if you've been promoting yourself for a long time and still not really building a fanbase, it's probably because you suck.


    Quote Originally Posted by r.a View Post
    im talking about the music that hits 90% of the population that does not know music past whatever is on the radio.
    That's most of the business, and most of the people you're trying to sell to.

    Quote Originally Posted by r.a View Post
    and i really didnt like how you were throwing the word "good" around, especially with the word "truly" in front of it. im glad there is more to you than that. thank you for clarifying. i am selectively nit-picky about certain things and its good you didn't take my language personally. if we were having this conversation in person my sassiness would come off less like an attack and more an affectionately aggressive provocation for clarification. that being said, i dont take any of it back
    I don't really particularly care whether you intended an attack or not; you failed either way.

    Quote Originally Posted by r.a View Post
    i was referring to the standards of the mainstream labels who follow formulas. at the executive levels, its more of a demographically-centered system, often with creative limitations based on aural neuroscience.
    This is called bias against pop music, just for being popular.

    Believe it or not, there's a lot of interesting stuff going on in pop music. If most amateur musicians would get off their bitter high horses for a moment and ask themselves, "What are these bands doing well that makes them so successful?" instead of just whining to themselves that they deserve it so much more, maybe they'd understand why they aren't getting anywhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by r.a View Post
    a thousand bands playing the same familiar chord progressions will make more money for the labels than if they keep signing and promoting new and more varied artists that go against this grain. certain harmonics and sequences of chords trigger certain firings of synapses in the brain. these patterns can be used to keep people 'hooked' on familiarity.
    Oh good lord, as if having the same chord progression has anything to do with originality in a song. Please. If you think two songs are the same thing because they have the same chord progression, please go intern at a studio for, like, an hour. That should do it.

    Quote Originally Posted by r.a View Post
    its less about creative talent, and more about dragging a cash cow until its been dead for a while. in many cases, if a producer knows how to write a catchy tune based on these familiar patterns, all the label has to do is hire studio musicians to record the parts, and play the backing tracks at the live show while another group of musicians is performing or pretending to perform the material live. based on what you said about your background (), you are probably well familiar with this.
    Blah blah blah, I've heard this tired old speech from hundreds of broke and out of work musicians who really, really need a psychological coping mechanism to keep going because their careers are going nowhere fast.

    Following a pop song format does NOT automatically = bad, and the term "sell out" is an absolute joke. There IS a balance between marketable and artistic, and tons of great bands are toeing it with great results all the time. No, they're automatically bad people for writing within a pop song format, and failure to completely invent an entirely new genre does NOT make them bad.

    Quote Originally Posted by r.a View Post
    people will in fact believe the music is actually "good", neglecting they are at the other end of a thoroughly-applied science of triggering emotion through sound. this science is one of the aspects of the industry that keeps people spending money.
    Where exactly do you get off declaring that this is bad? That music is bad just because a lot of people like it?

    I'm sure whatever music YOU listen to is creative and original and high-brow, and there's no way any industry formula went into YOUR music, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by r.a View Post
    very rarely are the releases of new artists not thoroughly calculated. and yes, once in a while, actual, original talent makes it to the top. overnight sensations still exist but in that case the artists really have to be good.
    Of course they're thoroughly calculated; it's a fucking business! I am so bloody sick of hearing people like you whine about how "calculated" and "for profit" these musical releases are, AS IF THEY PURPORTED TO BE ANYTHING ELSE!

    Musicians who make a serious effort to profit from their music are not bad people, nor is their music inherently shitty; they just want to eat and they're tired of tricking themselves into deep denial about the fact that their unmarketable music isn't as terrific/fantastically original as they think it is.
    If you could be anything you want, I bet you'd be disappointed--am I right?

  5. #5
    meat popsicle r.a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simulatedworld View Post
    This is called bias against pop music, just for being popular.

    Believe it or not, there's a lot of interesting stuff going on in pop music. If most amateur musicians would get off their bitter high horses for a moment and ask themselves, "What are these bands doing well that makes them so successful?" instead of just whining to themselves that they deserve it so much more, maybe they'd understand why they aren't getting anywhere.
    it wasn't a statement against pop music. it was about it. and i'm not disputing success or who deserves it or not. i understand the simplicity of why puddle of mudd was successful.

    Quote Originally Posted by simulatedworld View Post
    Oh good lord, as if having the same chord progression has anything to do with originality in a song. Please. If you think two songs are the same thing because they have the same chord progression, please go intern at a studio for, like, an hour. That should do it.
    i never said two songs are the same thing. i am pointing out common threads in a large percentage of pop music, not damning it all.

    Quote Originally Posted by simulatedworld View Post
    Following a pop song format does NOT automatically = bad, and the term "sell out" is an absolute joke. There IS a balance between marketable and artistic, and tons of great bands are toeing it with great results all the time. No, they're automatically bad people for writing within a pop song format, and failure to completely invent an entirely new genre does NOT make them bad.
    again, when did i say something was "bad"? and show me one instance other than now where i used the words "sell out". i hate that term. following a pop song format only means you are following a pop song format. by all means, make money! i have nothing against making money. everyone deserves to be compensated for hard work.

    Quote Originally Posted by simulatedworld View Post
    Where exactly do you get off declaring that this is bad? That music is bad just because a lot of people like it?
    im stating things from a marketing standpoint.

    Quote Originally Posted by simulatedworld View Post
    I'm sure whatever music YOU listen to is creative and original and high-brow, and there's no way any industry formula went into YOUR music, right?
    LOL

    of course not. i sample african tribal screams and kitten births and process them through a series of well-worn behringer filters then record it to acid-treated 4" tape, put the reels out in the sun for fifteen minutes and then play it through a blown out 12" woofer at the windows of record label offices. as security is escorting me off the premises, i am clutching the pulled-out, broken spools of tape, crying and crying and crying about being a misunderstood genius. the rest of the gear is thrown at my VW minibus as it peels out of the fire lane in front of the building, emergency brake still on.

    Quote Originally Posted by simulatedworld View Post
    Musicians who make a serious effort to profit from their music are not bad people, nor is their music inherently shitty; they just want to eat and they're tired of tricking themselves into deep denial about the fact that their unmarketable music isn't as terrific/fantastically original as they think it is.
    easy there, guy. i'm not calling anyone a bad person, even though some people are dicks. but as long as they do what they are supposed to do well and dont kill/rape/mame/assault or steal from anyone, all the power to them if they are making good money.
    "All authority of any kind, especially in the field of thought and understanding, is destructive and evil. Leaders destroy the followers and the followers destroy the leaders. You have to be your own teacher and your own disciple. You have to question everything that man has accepted as valuable, as necessary."
    -
    J.Krishnamurti

  6. #6
    Freshman Member simulatedworld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by r.a View Post
    it wasn't a statement against pop music. it was about it. and i'm not disputing success or who deserves it or not. i understand the simplicity of why puddle of mudd was successful.
    The problem is that you still seem to consider bands like Puddle of Mudd to be lucky/undeserving of fame/otherwise inferior.



    Quote Originally Posted by r.a View Post
    i never said two songs are the same thing. i am pointing out common threads in a large percentage of pop music, not damning it all.
    Uh huh, and the problem here is the fact that you think "common threads" like having the same chord progression create enough similarity between different pop songs to be a problem. This is a basic music theory misunderstanding.



    Quote Originally Posted by r.a View Post
    again, when did i say something was "bad"? and show me one instance other than now where i used the words "sell out". i hate that term. following a pop song format only means you are following a pop song format. by all means, make money! i have nothing against making money. everyone deserves to be compensated for hard work.
    I'm not even going to continue this with you if you insist on blatantly denying your own implications just so that I have to go back and quote them. It's very, very obvious where you directly implied all of these things, so spare me the dumb-playing act. Not buying it.



    Quote Originally Posted by r.a View Post
    im stating things from a marketing standpoint.
    Apparently you're not, or you'd have some idea of what you're talking about. "A thousand bands playing the same familiar chord progression..."

    The implication here is pretty evident, wouldn't you say? I'm not spelling it out.



    Quote Originally Posted by r.a View Post
    easy there, guy. i'm not calling anyone a bad person, even though some people are dicks. but as long as they do what they are supposed to do well and dont kill/rape/mame/assault or steal from anyone, all the power to them if they are making good money.
    That's very interesting. So if there's nothing wrong with pop music or with making money on music or with playing marketable music for the purpose of making money, what exactly is your point?
    If you could be anything you want, I bet you'd be disappointed--am I right?

  7. #7
    meat popsicle r.a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simulatedworld View Post
    The problem is that you still seem to consider bands like Puddle of Mudd to be lucky/undeserving of fame/otherwise inferior.
    its an example of how i objectively realize why they are successful, whether or not i personally dislike their music.



    Quote Originally Posted by simulatedworld View Post
    Uh huh, and the problem here is the fact that you think "common threads" like having the same chord progression create enough similarity between different pop songs to be a problem. This is a basic music theory misunderstanding.
    theres some very good literature on this. one example would be This is Your Brain on Music - by Daniel Levitin

    Quote Originally Posted by simulatedworld View Post
    I'm not even going to continue this with you if you insist on blatantly denying your own implications just so that I have to go back and quote them. It's very, very obvious where you directly implied all of these things, so spare me the dumb-playing act. Not buying it.
    where is it obvious that i say someone is "bad" or "selling out"? it seems more like you want me to be saying those things and are taking things i say personally. i may be harsh with some assessments but for the purposes of discussing business i am being objective.

    Quote Originally Posted by simulatedworld View Post
    Apparently you're not, or you'd have some idea of what you're talking about. "A thousand bands playing the same familiar chord progression..."

    The implication here is pretty evident, wouldn't you say? I'm not spelling it out.
    what i said is true, regardless of my personal tastes.

    Quote Originally Posted by simulatedworld View Post
    That's very interesting. So if there's nothing wrong with pop music or with making money on music or with playing marketable music for the purpose of making money, what exactly is your point?
    well there are certain things i believe are terribly wrong with alot of pop music but these particular things were not discussed. i respect success for what it is, but that doesnt mean i'm not going to clown on it or call it out every once in a while. you gotta be able to laugh at yourself, or at least take a look at the bigger picture as to why your music is appealing, without investing too much emotion in it.

    my point in the beginning was that your usage of the word good seemed vague and thrown-around, and after you cleared that up for me the conversation continued.
    "All authority of any kind, especially in the field of thought and understanding, is destructive and evil. Leaders destroy the followers and the followers destroy the leaders. You have to be your own teacher and your own disciple. You have to question everything that man has accepted as valuable, as necessary."
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    J.Krishnamurti

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    Freshman Member simulatedworld's Avatar
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    Okay, I don't see any more productive responses in here.

    Suffice it to say it's ironic that you seem to think you're one (or all five, really) of the five best rappers of all time.
    If you could be anything you want, I bet you'd be disappointed--am I right?

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