Sunday, August 11, 2013

streaming myths

hi there

well, let me be upfront. this is an unashamed rant or whine about a subject close to my heart.for those not interested, or who have no concern at all about either the quality of music they listen to or, for that matter, if the artists who created it get rewarded or not, well, then, off you go, this is not the site for you.

the quality of music we hear has been in alarming decline for the last decade. i am not really, 80s child i might well be when it comes to vibes, talking about the content as such. i am sure most bands of today "do it" for the kids like the bands of my youth. the decline is in the way it is presented.

mp3 downloads, legal or not, have become increasingly popular. they are fast, easy to obtain and allow you to have an extensive collection on one, small iTwat device rather than a library of CDs and albums. there is no argument with the convenience or ease to get with mp3, but there very much is with the quality.

to compress a properly produced song to an mp3 vast amounts of the recording have to be diminished or remove, taking away aspects of the song. those of you who think this is not the case are much mistaken - playing an mp3 track through even the most advanced of surround sound systems only pumps the 2 channel stereo sound through more speakers, not delivering the song the way the artist and the producer intended at all. to compensate for this, the industry at large took a simple fix - they "made the song louder" on mp3 encoding. this makes you think you are missing nothing, but you are.

i won't bore you with technical rundowns on the above - google away. but let it be said that anyone who thinks that an mp3 download gives you the quality and same sound as a CD or mp3 is very much mistaken.

the biggest concern i have with these new ways of listening to music is that soon, if not already, it will start killing the art of making music. this is because, let us be honest, the financial rewards are going away. what is the point of lavishly producing an album to perfect sound, after all, if the quality is going to be compressed and the creators will make no money?

many thanks to The Atlantic and The Cynical Musician for the provision of this diagram that spells out the realities for artists of downloads and "streaming".

there you have it. i really don't think i need to comment on the figures there, it speaks quite loudly as it is.

you may not care that artists don't get paid. you might think that so long as you get the music, what difference does it make if anyone makes money. quite a lot, as it happens. the music business is a business.

if the business end is not profitable, then there's not going to be any time and money invested in making music. this is a cliche, perhaps, and a tired argument for some, but here are the facts - if they existed in the music market today, The Beatles would not have been given the freedom to experiment in the studio and break ground in production that set up pop music for life. Pete Townshend would not have been able to create Tommy or Quadrophenia, instead being forced to just churn out pop tune after pop tune. David Bowie wouldn't have been able to relocate to Berlin and find the sound that music followed for the best part of a decade. Frankie Goes To Hollywood, with the amazing production and remixes required to create some of the biggest selling songs in history, would have existed only as a club band.

tales of excess would not exist either. with the amount of money available from downloads and streaming, Led Zeppelin would not have their own plane. Keith Richards would not be throwing TV sets out of windows. Duran Duran would not fly around the world to make videos. the rich and shameless tales of rock star excess are often just as important as the music. do we really want a world where musicians are having to serve you McDonald's to make ends meet? i don't.

if you rely on downloads and streaming for your music you are denying yourself the proper quality sound and you are killing the industry. not everyone can afford CDs, of course. but do, if you care, think about this.

rock on, and of course,

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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