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Re: [ARSCLIST] at this rate, won't be much to archive soon enough

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Tom Fine" <tflists@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> I can't post the Wall St. Journal article due to copyright and it's not
publicly available,
> unfortunately. There was an interesting paragraph where the manager of several
rappers was quoted as
> saying he looks on CD's as profitless or even loss-leader marketing tool and
the real money is in
> live shows and T-shirt and apparel sales at the live shows. I'm not sure this
is true in all genres
> of music, but apparently in the urban genres, live performance is alive and
well and highly
> profitable.
> Bob, wouldn't it work that a genuinely talented band with decent management
would be able to hustle
> enough live work that a buzz would start? Think of the Van Halen model in the
70's -- they were
> selling out very large venues before they had a recording contract. What is
probably lost forever is
> a music-oriented A&R man at a record label finding and nurturing talented
young musicians. So the
> musician is more on their own, which may be good or bad. On the good side, no
beholden to big record
> companies so more artistic and career-direction control, and easier marketing
from scratch due to
> venues like YouTube, iTunes, etc. On the bad side, less professionalism is
evident, very hard to use
> new marketing tools to build a mass audience (although a profitable niche is
very possible), perhaps
> greater investment of personal funds required.
Depends on their use of the Internet and at marketing themselves...

> I'm not convinced it's all bleak but it's definitely not what it was back when
music that I like was
> being made in large quantities regularly. One might argue that the decline of
music education and
> the homoginizing of the radio dial are the biggest causes of low-grade new
music. Billy Taylor was
> the "person of the week" at the end of the broadcast on Fox News Sunday week
before last. He made a
> bold but true statement -- "American Idol" is a cattle call of people who can'
t sing and who are
> badly singing vapid "music" and it is no replacement for professional A&R and
music education. Now,
> some would call that a very elitist view, but not me. I have enough musical
training and enough
> listening experience to know what pitch, rhythm and dynamics are -- not to
mention a viable or
> original melody -- and far too much music made in the last decade or so lacks
any of it.
Well, since I'm not sure what period/style is covered by "music you like"...
classical? Swing? Early rock'n'roll? Sixties "rock?"...I can't make a
totally fair comment here!

However...there has been a very definite lessening of musical skills
over the past six decades or so! In the "jazz age" and the "swing era,"
a musician was assumed to have sight-reading skills...to participate in
complicated arrangements through reading "charts!" In the classical
world, of course, reading music (as well as memorizing it) is considered
an absolute requirement.

The "rock'n'roll" era saw the disappearance of such skills, as songs
became much less complicated. Oddly enough, the "rock" era saw its
return, as many classically-trained musicians joined the genre. That,
however, lasted only a few years.

Since I know little about pop music of the past 20-25 years, I can't
make knowledgeable comments. However, as a semi-pro blues musician,
I find that I'm often competing with players near my age, who have
NO knowledge of blues...only a strong desire to salve their mid-life
crises by learning a handful of "blues tunes," which are easy to
play...you only need know three chords per key...and thus take a
stage they have always wanted to experience!

Steven C. Barr

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