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Music Industry: the good bad and the ugly...
The subject itself has also changed a lot since 2002. I used to spend hours cutting a splicing tape and twiddling knobs on my synthesisers, always with a recorder ready to go in case I got something good  while it was ‘alive’ or before the synth drifted off  never to return to that exact sound. When digital came we were presented with oodles of data storage alongside instruments which appeared with huge numbers of ready made preset sounds (perfectly recallable and repeatable), So  the musician spent much time trawling trough  this huge list auditioning each one only to rarely find that sound that fitted the job in hand perfectly. You  invariably found that most sounds were useless for your purpose. At the time the best  and most versatile  sounds were used by everyone else!  Recent trends have extended that idea much further. Now you can select not just sounds for your master work but whole samples of grooves, riffs, solos, you name it all recorded by top session people in good studios. You can simply assemble them, layer them, and even pitch shift them to suit. Brilliant! Anyone can now put a backing track together to sing over on a laptop or tablet. The down side is of course, is it’s all played by someone else in someone else’s style  and can easily turn out clinical and shallowly slick. So what exactly are you expressing doing this? I have to say it’s not often I find  listing to a singer with backing track anywhere near as good as the gelling of a live band even if the musicianship it not technically as good. Modern software recording also makes it very pretty easy to execute hundreds of edits from many performance takes. This can also produce a really slick often superhuman performance. This not limited to the pop world either. A famous classical musician is reported to have said on listening to the highly edited playback of his concerto performance... “ Wow!.. that’s brilliant.... I wish I could play like that!” The downside is the humanity and emotional continuity can so easily be edited out too. If 100 edits are needed for a passage then maybe it’s time to think again what you are trying to achieve. Too often it is forgotten that minor errors and mistakes are what makes us human and adds to the feeling, humanity and richness of music. A producer that sits with a score ticking off every minor diversion, minor error, to be re-done and re-done again until ‘perfection’ is achieved or an engineer who spends hours and hours getting a drum kit to sound  ‘just right’ are in my view wasting everyone’s time.
Recording  equipment has been revolutionised. Much of the exotic bulky recording gear you’d  find in a well equipped studio now  can exist in software form  on a laptop or tablet. It’s often of good quality and maintenance free. The only things missing might be stuff like good mics., suitable room acoustics and, you never know,  maybe the skill to know how to use all this well. Back in the day a record deal was the only way most could afford to book a good engineer at a top class studio. You had to convince someone influential you were worth backing  either by live performance or a good basic demo tape. Not easy. It’s all different now. You can, if you wish, bypass this path and upload your songs straight from your laptop to an on-line store and you are in business. The  trouble is, because it’s so easy and convenient, ten million other people are doing exactly the same so you have to do something that will grab the attention and appeal to the masses, which is what big businesses are rich and expert enough to do. If you have any integrity, you are certainly up against it. Uploading, however, certainly is a very good thing for the music web sites..
Within a couple of decades the music industry has been revolutionised by internet & technology progress.  Digital promised and initially delivered so much. High quality sound on a fairly robust medium with  no tape hiss from slow speed  cassette tape, or crackly records with sound quality greatly limited by the need to keep a needle in contact with the disk at all times. The future was CD, superCD  and studio quality digital downloads which all  promised to be cheaper  to buy. The memory in storage devices has risen steadily as it’s got smaller and smaller and smaller  and cheaper....So why on earth is there a current  vogue for vinyl and even cassette?  It doesn’t seem to make sense. Maybe some of the following  has some bearing on the situation.....


Music appreciation, just by itself ,has continued to wane further into the background  in favour of the modern produced “song”. Music without words or any human vocal presence is well... too often largely regarded  as background stuff. After all the most instantaneously recognisable and understood sound has to be the human voice.
To make things worse music by itself is mercilessly massacred everywhere... stores, hotels, lifts, restaurants, film soundtracks, aeroplanes and even hospitals. Muzak  at low level with any dynamic volume range compressed from it entirely. It’s just barely and often to many, annoyingly there. It’s not even good stuff!

The trouble for me is, I do actually remember  many many years ago when hi-fi buffs would sit in front of a nice big pair of decent hi-fi speakers and just listen to music seriously, soaking it up and giving it their full attention. To hear jazz or classical or whatever as near to how you’d hear it in concert or club was the goal for most of these music enthusiasts. It was popular too. Today does anyone still do this? Maybe a few  do but I fear they are getting old and dwindling in numbers. Today not only is there a constant highly annoying reference always to songs on computer applications, but music is exponentially dumbed down by big business, exemplified nicely by Apple’s truly horribly named “iTunes” store. How dumbed down is that? Apple certainly don’t want you to think any further than a tune in case it spoils big corporation profits.

Too often downloaded songs of constant volume, level maxxed out recordings are beamed at young punters to play through mostly cheap earpieces and micro-speakers, tablets, laptops, and desktops. Few object. Is this and the peddling of just tunes all anybody wants these days? If so, were doomed... doomed captain. True hi-fi could well be terminal. Why these songs were actually once recorded in a top flight recording studio using the state-of-the-art recording equipment costing millions of pounds is hard to understand unless you’re in the business. In production the original pristine recordings are nearly always distorted and stripped of just about any volume dynamic range, compressed out by a device called an “audio compressor”, which is now used to make it consistently loud and hopefully louder than the competition.....
This is called the “Loudness War”  click this link for a full revelation! This reading makes, as you can see, pretty gruesome stuff! And you think only new releases are affected? Think again and then after reading my loudness war rant, read this Wikipedia Article. I’m not alone. You can now see that today on anything that says “digitally re-mastered” beware!  Nothing is sacred anymore. The trouble is consistently loud!!  grabs attention and attention makes money! Big businesses and accountants just love it. The hidden problem is that for many extended listening of this kind of product is a relentless assault on the ears. It can numb them at high volume levels quite quickly, even result in eventual deafness. I can also sound to many pretty dramatic but claustrophobic as there is little (or no) breathing space in the music with everything consistently up front  shouting, screaming  for attention. Yes it’s just the way it is now. Many people don’t even know or care they’re being fed this essentially junk food style music. They no nothing else anyway. Digital sound can be really good particularly 24bit as the dynamic range, in theory at least can be 144dB which is just enormous and beyond the ear’s capability and today’s equipment specifications anyway. Signal path distortion can also be minute (0.001% is easily achievable). The weakest link by far is the loudspeakers. It’s a far cry from the 3% top-class professional tape recorders used to be lined up to and often exceeded during recording.The trouble is compressors and the like can not only squash dynamic range to almost nothing the resulting constant signal output can easily be well in excess of 12%. Include dynamics and it’s much much higher. Purely from an engineering point of view this is really really bad! So maybe these modern junk production techniques may just have  something to do with the resurgence of vinyl and cassette which are often claimed to sound better. Yet the dynamic range on vinyl is limited by the mechanics of it (often only around 50-60dB). With  tiny slow speed cassette you are lucky to get this. Vinyl frequency response at high levels slowly gets worse as the needle speed slows down considerably towards the centre of the record.  They are no match for well recorded digital yet increasing numbers prefer these recordings. Maybe we’re not quite yet doomed.
Pirating and copyright!!!....

There have been some huge changes in the music industry, see below. It’s not all been good news however especially where the web is concerned. Music of any worth, one way or the other, takes so much time, money, emotion and effort to create. It’s all consuming. And then, of course, you have to get it out there.and somehow find more time and effort and money to promote it. Technology advances can help, but they can also be extremely frustrating. The Internet is definitely a two edged sword. Once your music is out there in any form.... it’s really out of your hands. There are now so many really easy ways people can make your stuff available on the web either for free  or to make a fast buck and there’s little you can do. You are without doubt, out of control. Copyright is supposed to require asking the holders permission to  make use of it. In fact, believe it or not, it’s supposed to be against the law not to. The trouble is many either just don’t think or don’t give a fuck about copyright and there really is precious little you can do about it. You may eventually get someone to remove a posting or Google take down a link but as soon as your back is turned someone else has it up there somewhere else. It’s so easy to do now that any pirated music removed from the web can be replaced somewhere else almost immediately.  All my music making is non-profit making. It’s expensive to do so some revenue return goes a very long way to helping this happen. It’s definitely getting much harder though. The reality is, all we musicians can do is to ask that copyright is respected, that people think about what they are actually doing exploiting our hard work without our permission and consider the huge amount of effort, time and money that goes into  this creative process. So if you would like a copy of any music for sale on this site please pay for it and not surf the web or dark web  for pirated or cut-price dodgy freebie sites!