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The Record Industry


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#1
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Yeah yeah I know Zauls already made his own topic on something similar but that quickly went into a conspiracy theory thread of sorts. Please do not do that here.

Also, I'm posting in General instead of Music because I also want to get an actual discussion going on here.

 

Anyway; I personally am fed up with the record industry here in the US; I'm mainly talking about pop genre here, the other genres seem to be getting along just fine. But the pop industry here in the US has largely gone dry. Almost all the songs that fall under the genre of "new hit music" is just practically the same patterns, instruments, people, recurring topics in lyrics, etc. Almost all of these songs are very easily made and use autotune to get the lyrics to sound like they're on-key but in reality they're not. The "artists" that seem to publish the songs aren' take any part in the composition of the song or writing of the songs; some of them are discouraged to have free control over their public life and just let their bosses handle that. I'm sick of it. It's not the artists themselves; its the directors and how much control they try to take away form the artist.

 

This has been going on for a while; but it didn't really dominate until like 2014 or so. It seemed just fine until then even in the pop genre; now the repetitive regulated music I explained in the last paragraph seems to be all over the place. However, not all music made today is like that; there are still lots of music that are written, composed, created, and published by the artists themselves, who actually put their meaning and their all into their music; those are the best artists and music, the kind that once dominated the record industry in all genres, and the kind that still should. I call that kind legitimate music. Someday, I hope to help bring legitimate music back to the top of music media.

 

Discuss.


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#2
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Honestly, stuff like the above is largely false.

Also, I legitimately think that using autotune is 100% ok. Otherwise you are saying that to be a quality musician you need the physical capability, which feels quite closed-minded to me.

Similarly, shaming artists for not writing their own songs is equally misguided. Yes, writers definitely deserve more credit than they receive, but that doesn't mean the recording artist is any less a musician.


#3
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Honestly, stuff like the above is largely false.

Also, I legitimately think that using autotune is 100% ok. Otherwise you are saying that to be a quality musician you need the physical capability, which feels quite closed-minded to me.

Similarly, shaming artists for not writing their own songs is equally misguided. Yes, writers definitely deserve more credit than they receive, but that doesn't mean the recording artist is any less a musician.

Alright. I get it. I'm not trying to shame the artists for not having control over their career and public actions; I'm directing that to the pop record directors who try to take that control out of the hands of the artists.


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Alright. I get it. I'm not trying to shame the artists for not having control over their career and public actions; I'm directing that to the pop record directors who try to take that control out of the hands of the artists.

That is a sentiment I can side with much more easily than what was presented in OP. Honestly, I'm not very knowledgeable about this, but it doesn't seems like something that is the fault of the artists, and honestly, it doesn't hurt the music itself. Of course, if the labels are as oppressive as you seem to be implying that is an issue in and of itself, albeit one with the business as a whole rather than the standard "all music is the same creativity is dead Illuminati Satanism blah blah blah"

#5
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The way I see it, it's true there are a good number of artists who stick to basically the same formula with their songs. They do use similar chord patterns, similar song structures and employ similar production techniques. I'll leave this mildly amusing video just for reference:

 

 

Now, I'm not saying that this is necessarily a bad thing. For starters, most genres have certain "rules" they generally abide by, that's what makes it a genre. The current pop music formula is just the trend at the moment. Also, keeping to the formula makes music more familiar, more accessible, which people like. Many people don't feel the desire to be challenged by the music they listen to.

 

The problem I have is the way in which a lot of mainstream music is marketed. Because of the big similarities between different songs by different artists, the way they make the music stand out from the rest is through the use of music videos, which are very often overbearing. The video often takes precedence over the musical content. Also, the face of the music is now more important than it ever has been, at least since The Beatles were around. It's true that using autotune does allow otherwise incapable people of becoming musical performers, the exclusivity is shifted to the image or attractiveness, which is just as bad, if not worse. I will add, though, that many artists who employ autotune do so to create a certain sound, rather than actually relying on it. It's just a select few that genuinely need it to sound decent. Also, many musicians outside the realms of pop use autotune, just to a slightly lesser extent, to make the sound more crisp. Dream Theater uses it these days and they're most certainly not a pop band. It's just the way music is produced these days.

 

I don't like the fact that so many artists don't write their own songs though. In my opinion, it takes away feeling and genuinity, which is something I value highly in music. Also, I dislike how quickly people move on from songs and artists these days. If it was a "last year thing" then people don't listen to it any more because they're too obsessed with the "next big thing" which will again die out in a few months' time. People get all misty-eyed and nostalgic when they say there will never be another Beatles, and that's true just because the mainstream music industry isn't an environment when something can be made into a "classic". Everything is forgotten too easily.

 

Also, since we're talking about record labels and the record industry, I will say that smaller indie labels are in far bigger a mess than the big labels. Smaller bands don't make money any more, plain and simple. My favourite band, Haken, are all music teachers (one of them taught me for a bit) because record labels simply can't pay artists enough any more. I believe artistry and creativity should be awarded at least with a living, but that simply isn't happening for so many artists.

 

Finally, I'll say that there isn't really a lot of point complaining about music that you can very easily choose not to listen to. While alternative music isn't heavily marketed in the mainstream, it doesn't take a lot of searching to find music that you enjoy, especially given the existence of streaming. These days I choose to listen to what I want to and mind my own business.

 

EDIT: Holy shit, didn't realize how much I just wrote :/


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#6
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If we're talking about artists getting back creative control, Kesha should get a nod, as Sony dropped Dr Luke.

I have absolutely no issues if an artist doesn't write their own music. Their music is no less legitimate to listen to, and the music is no less legitimate. The only difference is that if they write their own music, you can praise a person for both performing and writing a song. If someone other than the performer wrote a good song, somebody is still getting the praise. It just happens to not be the performer. On the converse, Bob Dylan. Great songs. Frankly, he wasn't all that good a singer.

2014 also seems like a really arbitrary year for this 'death of the music industry' to have happened. What happened in 2014? And what pop songs can you name that are following this repetitive formula?

I'm mainly talking about pop genre here, the other genres seem to be getting along just fine.


If anything, I'd argue rock is far more stagnant than pop music. Rock music deals in nostalgia, for instance (I mean, you only have to look towards the influences that rock musicians quote, or the way rock magazines function). Innovation isn't hugely common, and when it does happen, it's because they're sourcing their influences from afropop, or house music, or funk. And pop music is doing the exact same thing, but more. I don't think there was a single rock album in 2015 I'd call 'innovative'. Alabama Shakes and Sleater-Kinney had great albums last year, but didn't really tread new territory. Wolf Alice kinda did, but even their sound is mostly a tribute to 90s sounds. On the other hand, in the pop music, Grimes, Justin Bieber, SOPHIE and FKA twigs came out with what you would happily call unorthodox pop albums.

Almost all of these songs are very easily made and use autotune to get the lyrics to sound like they're on-key but in reality they're not


I take fault to the idea that these songs are easily made. They kinda are, but that's because there are talented songwriters working on them.

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#7
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If anything, I'd argue rock is far more stagnant than pop music. Rock music deals in nostalgia, for instance (I mean, you only have to look towards the influences that rock musicians quote, or the way rock magazines function). Innovation isn't hugely common, and when it does happen, it's because they're sourcing their influences from afropop, or house music, or funk. And pop music is doing the exact same thing, but more. I don't think there was a single rock album in 2015 I'd call 'innovative'. Alabama Shakes and Sleater-Kinney had great albums last year, but didn't really tread new territory. Wolf Alice kinda did, but even their sound is mostly a tribute to 90s sounds. On the other hand, in the pop music, Grimes, Justin Bieber, SOPHIE and FKA twigs came out with what you would happily call unorthodox pop albums.
 

 

OK, normally you're pretty clued up as far as music is concerned, but to say there has been no innovation in rock music is ridiculous. Sure, all rock bands have their influences, that's just because rock greats can truly inspire some people. Having influences doesn't mean not being innovative. Obviously I'm no expert on pop music, but all music takes inspiration and influences from somewhere, whether directly or not.

 

If we're talking about innovative rock albums of 2015, I can name a good few off the top of my head, though it'll be limited to my own personal taste, which is mostly the progressive realm:

 

Atmospheres - The Departure

Ghost - Meliora

Leprous - The Congregation

Arcturus - Arcurian

Subterranean Masquerade - The Great Bazaar

 

When you say a genre isn't innovative, you're probably only focusing on the more mass-market artists in the genre. I'd argue in most genres the mass-market big names are on average less innovative. I'll forgive you for perhaps not having heard of most innovative bands in the rock/metal scene, but you can't make generalisations just based on what you've heard if your knowledge isn't comprehensive.


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#8
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OK, normally you're pretty clued up as far as music is concerned, but to say there has been no innovation in rock music is ridiculous. Sure, all rock bands have their influences, that's just because rock greats can truly inspire some people. Having influences doesn't mean not being innovative. Obviously I'm no expert on pop music, but all music takes inspiration and influences from somewhere, whether directly or not.

 

If we're talking about innovative rock albums of 2015, I can name a good few off the top of my head, though it'll be limited to my own personal taste, which is mostly the progressive realm:

 

Atmospheres - The Departure

Ghost - Meliora

Leprous - The Congregation

Arcturus - Arcurian

Subterranean Masquerade - The Great Bazaar

 

When you say a genre isn't innovative, you're probably only focusing on the more mass-market artists in the genre. I'd argue in most genres the mass-market big names are on average less innovative. I'll forgive you for perhaps not having heard of most innovative bands in the rock/metal scene, but you can't make generalisations just based on what you've heard if your knowledge isn't comprehensive.

 

To be fair many of the artists you mentioned are Metal or somewhat Metal-ish which is a whole different ballpark than Rock in the form that Rai is talking about (I can only assume).

 

Ghost are merely a modernized very melodic Doom Metal band so I cant see how theyre innovative in any way and Leprous from what ive listened to are a very standard Prog band, only now just heard of Atmospheres but Post-Metal and Prog is nothing new either, cant say anything past that since ive never listened to them and wont maintain anything against them.

 

Also dont forget that he never said that there wasnt any innovation, just that it wasnt as common to him and that it is more than likely that he is referring to more "pure" Rock as opposed to Metal or Hardcore.


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All the bands I listed could be described as some form of "rock", maybe Arcturus less so, but they are all at least influenced by some kind of rock music and they are definitely all innovative in one way or another. Not gonna start going off on a tangent about the reasons all these bands are innovative, that's not the point. The point I'm trying to make is that the rock music industry doesn't "deal in nostalgia" and it isn't any more "stagnant" than any other genre. 

 

I'd argue actually that no specific genre is stagnating any more than the next, it's just that the market is becoming increasingly saturated and a lot of what's possible with current technology has already been done. The most innovative and original musical movement that I can think of recently is Djent. Innovation now will come mostly in the form of new technology, which won't necessarily be genre-specific.

 

In the case of pop music, any innovation that occurs will still be done whilst abiding by the formula of the genre and because the formula is so easy for a listener to notice, it is perceived as not having innovated at all.


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#10
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OK, normally you're pretty clued up as far as music is concerned, but to say there has been no innovation in rock music is ridiculous. Sure, all rock bands have their influences, that's just because rock greats can truly inspire some people. Having influences doesn't mean not being innovative. Obviously I'm no expert on pop music, but all music takes inspiration and influences from somewhere, whether directly or not.
 
If we're talking about innovative rock albums of 2015, I can name a good few off the top of my head, though it'll be limited to my own personal taste, which is mostly the progressive realm:
 
Atmospheres - The Departure
Ghost - Meliora
Leprous - The Congregation
Arcturus - Arcurian
Subterranean Masquerade - The Great Bazaar
 
When you say a genre isn't innovative, you're probably only focusing on the more mass-market artists in the genre. I'd argue in most genres the mass-market big names are on average less innovative. I'll forgive you for perhaps not having heard of most innovative bands in the rock/metal scene, but you can't make generalisations just based on what you've heard if your knowledge isn't comprehensive.


I'm definitely not arguing that there's no innovation in rock (and I was definitely being hyperbolic about not a single innovative album in 2015, but more on that later). I'm arguing that there's less innovation in rock than in pop, which is in general true, by the history associated with rock. Influences are fine, and I think most innovation comes from reinterpreting influences to your own music (hence why I listed all those genres rock are occasionally sourcing from). Lots of bands do just sound like they've come straight out of a certain decade though. And that's certainly not a bad thing. Great albums come out of it.

It would be obviously be impractical for me to scour every album of last year, although I'd like to listen to as many as possible. The gamut of music I took in though makes me feel like I can make a fairly accurate assessment on the state of music. Of course, I'll misjudge from time to time though.

Taking the Ghost album, Meliora, since that's the one your list I did listen to last year, I disagree with you. I think, in general, it's not that innovative an album. It doesn't really tread anything new for hard rock and metal at all. I think it's quite safe. I don't hear anything immediately innovative about it, besides perhaps the occasional organ gimmick. On the other hand, the arrangements are surprisingly clean, and the riffs and melodies are almost exclusively great. Strong cohesive album. But I wouldn't say innovative.

I mean, it's a bit naughty of me to be using innovative as a black-and-white qualifier. It's a sliding scale of course. That's also important to note. And I don't think innovation is that important a measure. Sure, innovation can make a good record more enjoyable, especially as you can immediately identify it with that artist, and engage with it on a more conscious level because you're listening to something new, but a lack of innovation is not a bad thing in the slightest. Hell, my favourite rock album last year was probably that Baroness album, Purple. That felt like quite a derivative-sounding album, but was just solid all the way through. It was innovative in the sense that the jazz-inspired bass was interesting, but that was subtle. All of these good albums are innovative in their own ways, and that doesn't have to be an upheaval in sound. It could be, you know, using a weird instrument, or cleaner arrangements than historically in that genre, or whatever.

I've not really heard a rock album that's literally felt like something completely new in the past few years like FKA twigs' debut, or James Blake self-titled that basically invented a subgenre.

In general, not important though. Good rock music is still being made. Good pop music is still being made. Innovation shouldn't be a primary argument. The only reason I bring it up is because OP is using it as such.

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All the bands I listed could be described as some form of "rock", maybe Arcturus less so, but they are all at least influenced by some kind of rock music and they are definitely all innovative in one way or another. Not gonna start going off on a tangent about the reasons all these bands are innovative, that's not the point. The point I'm trying to make is that the rock music industry doesn't "deal in nostalgia" and it isn't any more "stagnant" than any other genre. 

 

I'd argue actually that no specific genre is stagnating any more than the next, it's just that the market is becoming increasingly saturated and a lot of what's possible with current technology has already been done. The most innovative and original musical movement that I can think of recently is Djent. Innovation now will come mostly in the form of new technology, which won't necessarily be genre-specific.

 

In the case of pop music, any innovation that occurs will still be done whilst abiding by the formula of the genre and because the formula is so easy for a listener to notice, it is perceived as not having innovated at all.

 

If were going to talk about innovative movements within Rock/Metal Djent is the last one I would consider to be innovative besides modern Metalcore. I would probably say that the most innovative is the whole new wave of Progressive Rock influenced Post-Hardcore bands (Dance Gavin Dance, Stolas, The Fall of Troy, Hail the Sun, Lower Definition etc.) or that Ambient Post-Hardcore scene which lasted a short time (Oceana, Decoder, Of Machines, Circa Survive, Treebeard etc.) for being able to take such mainstream and often cliched elements within modern Punk/Hardcore and being able to present them in much more refreshing and Experimental methods. In the argument of Djent most of it is merely ordinary Groove Metal and Tech Metal with modern Deathcore and Metalcore cliches buried ontop of it, its a very safe and run of the mill fad that doesnt offer anything that previous Metal bands didnt already completely master and puts a modern spin on them in the wrong way, at least in my opinion. The only djent band that I can consider to be innovative is Born of Osiris and thats only because of their album The Discovery.

 

Trust me I do feel as if your argument is right in a certain extent but all I wanted to point out was that you had misinterpreted what Rai was saying.


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#12
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Well fair enough. The examples were just top-of-my-head stuff limited to what I've actually listened to. Not really the point though, to be honest. And yes, I was actually going to add a paragraph about how we always get caught-up in the innovation argument, but there are far more important way in which music can be "good". It's just the nature of the discussion, since the argument being put forward is that pop music is all the same. 

 

Also, just as a side-note, if you really want a rock album that sounds absolutely nothing like anything you've heard before, do give Subterranean Masquerade a go. They're kind of eclectic prog-rock mixed with death metal with indescribably odd lyrics, though that really doesn't do them justice. You have to listen to them to understand!

 

 

 

I think of Djent as innovative because it actually created a completely new sound from the electric guitar, which hasn't been done really for a long time, since like, black metal or something? To me personally, listening to a band like Atmospheres (who use Djent guitars along with a kind-of ambient post-rock setting) is the closest I'll get to what people in the 70s experienced when they first heard the likes of Black Sabbath. Just something very new done with a guitar. Obviously there has been loads of innovative genre-bending and things going on in the rock/hardcore/metal scene, Djent was just my example.


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#13
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Eh honestly, you can't say pop music is bad. If there are literally millions of people who absolutely love the genre then they're doing something right. I'm a pretty unbiased person and can enjoy pretty much any genre of music if it's actually good. And I actually really enjoy Pop music. Sure a lot of it's similar but may as well beat that dead horse if people enjoy it and it keeps spitting out money.


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#14
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I think of Djent as innovative because it actually created a completely new sound from the electric guitar, which hasn't been done really for a long time, since like, black metal or something? To me personally, listening to a band like Atmospheres (who use Djent guitars along with a kind-of ambient post-rock setting) is the closest I'll get to what people in the 70s experienced when they first heard the likes of Black Sabbath. Just something very new done with a guitar. Obviously there has been loads of innovative genre-bending and things going on in the rock/hardcore/metal scene, Djent was just my example.

 

Groove and Tech bands like Meshuggah and SikTh were utilizing the same sound palette before Djent was even a term, Djent bands really only managed to make the sound into a much more commercial edition. I really fail to see the innovation within that.


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#15
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Big name record labels are a dead industry. Any moron can buy some hardware and make a pop song in his bedroom (I went to school for this). Record labels mostly just control distribution rights, which which music streaming becoming more popular and easier to use, is also a dead industry. Physical media (CDs, DVDs ect.) is no longer a profitable industry. There's been a slight resurgence in vinyl but I'm unsure how long that fad will last. Labels refuse to adapt to new technology and instead fiercely hold onto the archaic system that made them successful with ridiculous contracts for their artists. I've seen many successful bands that have toured the world and never once had a record or distribution deal. Internet allows any artists to create their own success and fourtune.

As for the Kesha deal, her career is basically over. Sony owns her music and image, they won't get rid of dr whatever. He's one of their top producers. If she refuses to work with him then she can't make music. If she leaves sony, there's probably stipulations to prevent her from keeping the Kesha name. This is how record contracts work. Once you sign. That company OWNS you. Everyhing you do as an artist becomes property of that company. The only benefit of this is most record companies have acsess to many resources to promote and sell their artists(slaves).why anyone who cares about their art would subject themselves to these rules is beyond me. The money might be nice but you're a slave to a corporation that only wants to exploit your abilites for their own gain.

I've had moderate success as a gigging musican. I've toured Ontario, East coast Canada and some parts of the states many times. I've been offered numerous deals from no name labels and even they try to take complete control of your music. If you put the work in, there are enough free tools and forums to spread your music and make your own success without having to be indetured to a corporation that doesn't care about you.

Tl:dr - big name record labels refuse to adapt to changing technology and media. Instead they would rather collectively machine gun their own feet so they can pretend it's still the 80s. And record deals suck.

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As for the Kesha deal, her career is basically over. Sony owns her music and image, they won't get rid of dr whatever. He's one of their top producers. If she refuses to work with him then she can't make music. If she leaves sony, there's probably stipulations to prevent her from keeping the Kesha name. This is how record contracts work. Once you sign. That company OWNS you. Everyhing you do as an artist becomes property of that company. The only benefit of this is most record companies have acsess to many resources to promote and sell their artists(slaves).why anyone who cares about their art would subject themselves to these rules is beyond me. The money might be nice but you're a slave to a corporation that only wants to exploit your abilites for their own gain.


That said, Dr Luke has supposedly been dropped from Sony. No real confirmations yet, but that's the current news.

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Tl:dr - big name record labels refuse to adapt to changing technology and media. Instead they would rather collectively machine gun their own feet so they can pretend it's still the 80s. And record deals suck.

 

Absolutely spot on. Record labels restrict creative freedom and the industry refuses to adapt to the changing market. It means any artist who wants any kind of creative freedom won't get offered any kind of reasonable contract. There are a couple of artists I know that actually started their own record company just to distribute their own albums through. A lot of the time though, either trying that or trying to not use record labels at all means you don't end up on most of the main streaming platforms, which kinda sucks.


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#18
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With the rise of edm, pop music as of late seems to be heavily influenced by said genre and in turn is getting the massive quality boost it needs.

 

Notable producers like Diplo are pushing pop in the right direction. Producers in general are getting far more recognition than ever before to the point where people care less about the artists name and more about the production, namely Justin Biebers entire new album. That entire album is fucking phenomenal, is it because Justin Bieber suddenly became an amazing artist? Fuck no, the production carried him. 

 

 

If Diplo and Skrillex could make Justin Bieber not only bearable but actually good, that's proof enough that people do in fact value good production. 

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If Diplo and Skrillex could make Justin Bieber not only bearable but actually good, that's proof enough that people do in fact value good production. 

Tell me What do you mean? Is bad, I fucking dare you m8 

 

What Do You Mean is pretty good, but Love Yourself if fucking great brah.


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#20
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What Do You Mean is pretty good, but Love Yourself if fucking great brah.

 

#sorry


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