The debate about downloading on the site has been fascinating (read this blog here as well)
Alec Empire has been pointing out that the funding and survival of bands is just not that simple. And that the much touted idea of cheap recording is not quite what it seems and that the creative process is not always something that you can knock off in your bedroom and give away for free.
We liked his answer so much that we have reprinted it here as a blog on its own. (Alec would also like to point out ”Ëalso one thing”Â¦those who know me are aware of my tone when I speak English. When I write, things can come across a bit harder than they’re meant to. It’s this translating from German into English thing.’)
People obviously doesn’t know the reality of indie musicians and labels these days. I wrote an article about this issue two years ago: LINK
this is a very complex issue and I hate when people give these easy answers. (“bands should sell merch”Â, “you can reach millions of potential fans”Â, “myspace is great”Â). Censorship or control by governments or corporations is NOT the solution. it will lead to censoring music as well.
The reality is that young musicians can only survive if they come from a upper middle class or rich background these days. that’s wrong in my opinion because we don’t get the best possible music this way. (if you like Amy Whinehouse, Mark Ronson, Lilly Allen, then you might not have a problem with that. I think the music scene should be about the music itself and not about who can afford to do it or who has a sponsor. The means are here, AND people even listen to the music!)
It is so important to divide between indies and majors (which hardly nobody does! (Can Louder than War get onto this?)
Also let’s get rid of the charts systems. they are manipulated and corrupt (especially in the digital world). this is not a competetive sport, this is music. And what most ”Ëpop’ musicians do these days was done (in my opinion better) by innovative underground musicians decades earlier.
We live in times where the rich steal from the poor. That goes for musical ideas as well. That is what the argument should be about. (and about the majors being greedy. Sony music and Universal don’t even bother about losing millions. they write it off.)
We need to make the indies more powerful again, and we can only do that, if everybody every once in a while pays for music they like.
I personally don’t care because I come from a different decade (white labels selling up to 20.000 via indie distribution channels.), but I see many young bands who started enthusiastic stopping music because there is no way forward for them. That is bad and will bring down everything at the end.
I don’t want music to be provided by the state or some big corporation, I also don’t want musicians to sell me something else. I want them to focus on what they can do best: music.
In this whole debate nobody really supports the musicians. Filesharers AND majors are equally greedy. the same thing will happen to film (it is already, but it hasn’t come as far).
We need to establish a different mind set before censorhsip and other forms of control technologies are kicking in.
I think it is not that relevant how I record my music. To put it simply”Â¦I make it a creative decision (when it’s within the budget. If I do an independent film score and there is no big budget, and the producers ask for an orchestra, well, then they got to put that in the budget, otherwise they can’t have that. If the producers want a famous singer on the lead track, we have to convince her or come up with the right amount, so she can afford to do it.).
And that is what I try to explain”Â¦ people have that arrogance to think they can judge and decide over the artistic process.
Someone says “I’m pretty confident you could replicate a lot of that sound with a crap mic and some decent vsts on a laptop if you spent a bit of time on it.”Â
So how come you haven’t made that record yourself? If it was that easy? Do you think those guys are that stupid? So if the technology was out there for that cheap, they wouldn’t have used it?
If Rick Rubin decided with Johnny Cash this would create the best recording possible, people should accept that and enjoy the music.
Believe it or not, it is actually not only the gear that creates the value, it is the brainpower of those who make the music. It can be a subconscious thing. (This is why studying at university doesn’t make one a great musician. Neither does taking heroin.)
It is about connecting the dots, coming up with interesting combinations of people, equipment and musical ideas.
So if everyone would record over a ”Ëshitty’ microphone via an Apple laptop, we would lose the diversity and I guarantee you music will start to really suck.
oh, am I talking about most R&B records in the top 40? or hundreds and hundreds of dance tracks which come out digitally every week? Put an expensive car and bikini girls in the video, that will make people believe they are buying something which is worth it. It hasn’t come that far yet, but it will. Everybody can see where it’s heading, that’s why Louder Than War wrote this article above. Certain types of microphones make certain voices sound amazing, they capture the voice in the best way. We would miss out on those artists!
Watch Black Swan ”â that explains it a bit. Johnny Cash’s life was probably the most important factor in why the recordings are special sounding. And that is not even worth 12 Dollars for you? I think I will never understand that mindset of those who argue this way.
To me music was always so important, it was priceless. The value and quality that music brought to my life couldn’t match any price tag.