Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Too much freedom?

We all read in the media how the music industry is undergoing big changes with the growth of file sharing and alternative methods for artists to distribute their music. In addition to distribution, artists can now afford to produce their music much easier than in the past. They can buy all-in-one digital recorders or use their PC to record music that can meet professional "quality" standards. Additionally, they can use loops, samples, and virtual instruments to layer on tracks where in the past, you'd have to have multiple accomplished musicians playing the parts. All of this takes up less space, costs less, and arguably sounds "better" than studio methods/equipment available to the musician of 30 years ago. In the past, you couldn't create an album in your bedroom. You'd have to book expensive studio time.

So on one hand, it is great that anyone can now produce and distribute music. Here at SSR we're anti-digital production, but we have to admit that everyone buying up digital equipment has allowed us to snag some tape machines at much lower prices because now they're considered "old and noisy".

But at times I wonder if constraints help create better art. Is it bad to have too much freedom? That isn't a very PC question to ask because everyone says "Yeah man, we want to empower everyone to create". But checking out most indie music, you'll see it's pretty much total crap. There's a great site we found from the WFMU blog:

Monsters of Myspace/

He reviews and describes some of the best crap found on myspace. Hopefully none of SSR's acts will wind up on this blog.

myspace is one of the new ways to distribute your music. After creating a free account, you can get your music out to tons of people. But I wonder if in the past with recording and distribution a lot more difficult, if that difficulty provided a nice Darwinian filter for artists. Mediocre artists wouldn't have the drive and talent to see their projects through. The mediocre artists would never have their music released to the public, and probably wouldn't have any music recorded for posterity. If getting into a recording studio to record 1-2 songs was more expensive and difficult, I'd tend to think that a band/artist would really work hard at perfecting their sound and material. Now, someone can boot up their computer, drag and drop a few loops, slop some keyboards down, post it on their band page, and they've released a song. Trolling through myspace, sounds like most songs went down this way.

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