Music for the masses.

JBrainard

Senior Master
Joined
Jun 27, 2006
Messages
2,436
Reaction score
17
Location
Portland, Oregon
I've had this thought rolling around in my cranium for a while now and another thread inspired me to start this one.
If my Swiss cheese memory serves me, in the book "1984" artistic expression was not allowed, so the government released computer generated music, designed to be catchy and unprovocative, to pacify the proletariat's desire to listen to music.
I think you can draw parallels between this and some of the music of today. The bands played on the "pop" radio stations, for the most part, were not "born" artistically. The music industry moguls hand pic pretty looking youngsters who, when well produced, sound ok. The moguls then have uninspired yet catchy and trendy music written for the bands to perform. Shazam! A new pop sensation! No artistic tallent required! And apparently the masses eat this up, or else they would stop producing this trash.
Any thoughts?
 

CoryKS

Senior Master
Joined
Aug 30, 2006
Messages
4,403
Reaction score
182
Location
Olathe, KS
A couple.

No parallel can be drawn between a story in which artistic license is restricted by the government and a market driven by consumer choice, regardless of what one may think of the songs. You said here:

And apparently the masses eat this up, or else they would stop producing this trash.

...but in "1984", they don't have a choice. It's guvmint cheese or none at all. What we have is the opposite. While you may not like the songs that are currently popular, that does not make them "artless". I feel your pain, though. I went through the "rap ain't music" phase myself.

Popular music is always going to be unprovocative, except for those rare occasions when the artist hits on a topic that resonates with a lot of people. Music that reflects a certain political/religious/whatever viewpoint is generally going to be less popular because it won't be bought by those who disagree with it.
 

HKphooey

Senior Master
Joined
Mar 6, 2006
Messages
2,613
Reaction score
17
Location
File Cabinet
I think that is what American Idol is all about. I think they have the hit songs already written and the winners picked way before the end of the season. :)
 

bushidomartialarts

Senior Master
Joined
Mar 5, 2006
Messages
2,668
Reaction score
44
Location
Hillsboro, Oregon
A couple.

No parallel can be drawn between a story in which artistic license is restricted by the government and a market driven by consumer choice, regardless of what one may think of the songs. You said here:


I actually find this sort of censorship far more frightening. 'Consumer choice' is growing significantly more limited in the United States, thanks to big box stores and growing media consolidation.

If the feds told us we couldn't read a book, the NCLU, EFF and probably the Boy Scouts would be all over them. The protests would be loud and immediate.

But how much outcry is there over which stories aren't aired by the large news organizations, or about books and albums that Walmart requires be changed/censored before they'll stock it?

There's no Bill of Rights and precious few watchdog organizations to protect us from censorship by economic fiat. 1984 only made one mistake: Orwell assumed the government would be the one to take our freedoms away.
 

CoryKS

Senior Master
Joined
Aug 30, 2006
Messages
4,403
Reaction score
182
Location
Olathe, KS
I actually find this sort of censorship far more frightening. 'Consumer choice' is growing significantly more limited in the United States, thanks to big box stores and growing media consolidation.

If the feds told us we couldn't read a book, the NCLU, EFF and probably the Boy Scouts would be all over them. The protests would be loud and immediate.

But how much outcry is there over which stories aren't aired by the large news organizations, or about books and albums that Walmart requires be changed/censored before they'll stock it?

There's no Bill of Rights and precious few watchdog organizations to protect us from censorship by economic fiat. 1984 only made one mistake: Orwell assumed the government would be the one to take our freedoms away.

It isn't censorship, unless you can show me the line in the constitution that provides every citizen the right to a recording contract. You have every right to take whatever materials you like and generate whatever sounds you can get out of them. Doesn't mean that Sony is duty-bound to put it on wax.
 
OP
JBrainard

JBrainard

Senior Master
Joined
Jun 27, 2006
Messages
2,436
Reaction score
17
Location
Portland, Oregon
A couple.

No parallel can be drawn between a story in which artistic license is restricted by the government and a market driven by consumer choice, regardless of what one may think of the songs. You said here:



...but in "1984", they don't have a choice. It's guvmint cheese or none at all. What we have is the opposite. While you may not like the songs that are currently popular, that does not make them "artless". I feel your pain, though. I went through the "rap ain't music" phase myself.

Popular music is always going to be unprovocative, except for those rare occasions when the artist hits on a topic that resonates with a lot of people. Music that reflects a certain political/religious/whatever viewpoint is generally going to be less popular because it won't be bought by those who disagree with it.

It isn't censorship, unless you can show me the line in the constitution that provides every citizen the right to a recording contract. You have every right to take whatever materials you like and generate whatever sounds you can get out of them. Doesn't mean that Sony is duty-bound to put it on wax.

Actually, if Walmart is the only store near you that sells music, but doesn't sell what you want to listen to because it is offensive, yes, you are a victim of cencorship. Who said that the government is the only organization that can censor materials? But that wasn't even my main point. I was just comparing the computer generated music of 1984, to the pop music of today that is churned out by the record labels with the sole intention of being catchy and accessable, a sort of auditory fashon show, if you will.
 

bushidomartialarts

Senior Master
Joined
Mar 5, 2006
Messages
2,668
Reaction score
44
Location
Hillsboro, Oregon
Is so :).

Seriously, censorship isn't defined as simply limiting media choice by the government. Censorship by threatening to pull advertising support has been an issue in the media since shortly after the invention of the newspaper.

I do agree with you that Sony isn't duty bound to cut an album for every band that sends them a demo. Thing is that in an actual free market, some label somewhere will pick up a band if they're talented enough and willing to work hard.

The situation we have now is one where the skill, talent and legitimacy of a band/author/what have you is (in some cases) taking a back seat to the ideas expressed in their work. As soon as we aren't allowed access to an idea, that becomes censorship. Doesn't matter who's behind it.
 

Bigshadow

Senior Master
MTS Alumni
Joined
Apr 13, 2005
Messages
4,033
Reaction score
45
Location
Saint Cloud, Florida
I've had this thought rolling around in my cranium for a while now and another thread inspired me to start this one.
If my Swiss cheese memory serves me, in the book "1984" artistic expression was not allowed, so the government released computer generated music, designed to be catchy and unprovocative, to pacify the proletariat's desire to listen to music.
I think you can draw parallels between this and some of the music of today. The bands played on the "pop" radio stations, for the most part, were not "born" artistically. The music industry moguls hand pic pretty looking youngsters who, when well produced, sound ok. The moguls then have uninspired yet catchy and trendy music written for the bands to perform. Shazam! A new pop sensation! No artistic tallent required! And apparently the masses eat this up, or else they would stop producing this trash.
Any thoughts?

One of the many parallels with the book '1984'. I can see where you come from with that one. I hadn't really thought of that in the music industry, although I have drawn many parallels between bits of '1984' and today.
 

CoryKS

Senior Master
Joined
Aug 30, 2006
Messages
4,403
Reaction score
182
Location
Olathe, KS
Is so :).

Seriously, censorship isn't defined as simply limiting media choice by the government. Censorship by threatening to pull advertising support has been an issue in the media since shortly after the invention of the newspaper.

Fair enough, but there is no protection against private censorship. None. Nor should there be, because that is just another way to say that a private company should be forced to provide a forum.

I do agree with you that Sony isn't duty bound to cut an album for every band that sends them a demo. Thing is that in an actual free market, some label somewhere will pick up a band if they're talented enough and willing to work hard.

Please explain to me what an 'actual free market' is, and how it differs from what we have. Record labels are not on a noble quest to provide talented, and hard-working the contract they deserve. Their goal is to make money. For that matter, the labels haven't even been around that long. Was it all censorship before RCA came along? Many bands tour and even produce their own material, if at a smaller scale than the labels. Nobody's stopping them. The problem is jealousy on the part of smaller acts who think they should get a bigger piece of the action.

The situation we have now is one where the skill, talent and legitimacy of a band/author/what have you is (in some cases) taking a back seat to the ideas expressed in their work. As soon as we aren't allowed access to an idea, that becomes censorship. Doesn't matter who's behind it.

The situation we have now is that a corporation makes its own decision about what artists to work with. Nobody is disallowing you access to an idea. It's only by assuming that all bands/authors should have equal access to the same global distribution system that it starts to look like censorship. But they don't. They only have access to 1) their own means of distribution; or 2) the means of whomever they can convince to distribute their wares. That's it.
 

CoryKS

Senior Master
Joined
Aug 30, 2006
Messages
4,403
Reaction score
182
Location
Olathe, KS
Actually, if Walmart is the only store near you that sells music, but doesn't sell what you want to listen to because it is offensive, yes, you are a victim of cencorship. Who said that the government is the only organization that can censor materials? But that wasn't even my main point. I was just comparing the computer generated music of 1984, to the pop music of today that is churned out by the record labels with the sole intention of being catchy and accessable, a sort of auditory fashon show, if you will.

Oh. Okay, then yes - it is possible that the computer generated music of 1984 is comparable to the catchy and accessible pop music of today. Or maybe it's banjo music. Depends on what the computer decided to generate, I guess.
 

bushidomartialarts

Senior Master
Joined
Mar 5, 2006
Messages
2,668
Reaction score
44
Location
Hillsboro, Oregon
Fair enough, but there is no protection against private censorship. None. Nor should there be, because that is just another way to say that a private company should be forced to provide a forum.

Agreed that there is no protection against such censorship. It's my contention that there should be, at least at some levels. Lack of access to newsworthy stories is the best example of what I'm talking about here -- go check out the BBC next time our news is talking about Ben Afleck.

At a certain point, large corporations begin to have as much, if not more, effect on the marketplace of ideas than the government. When it hits that point, we need to seriously consider Bill of Rights-style protection.

Please explain to me what an 'actual free market' is, and how it differs from what we have.
(truncated for space, not out of disrespect)

A free market provides a consumer with access to pretty much any profitable product. To take the case in point, a protest band that Walmart won't carry would be carried proudly by the indie record shop down the street. The current 'free market' in America is moving out of that space as the larger companies start to edge out the independent businesses. Our 'consumer choice' is being restricted by what the large companies choose to offer.

In many ways, this is a good thing. Barnes and Noble is way more convenient, comfortable and affordable than the little corner bookshops we used to have. But it carries with it the risk I'm talking about.

The situation we have now is that a corporation makes its own decision about what artists to work with. Nobody is disallowing you access to an idea. It's only by assuming that all bands/authors should have equal access to the same global distribution system that it starts to look like censorship. But they don't. They only have access to 1) their own means of distribution; or 2) the means of whomever they can convince to distribute their wares. That's it.

I agree with this within the free market we've enjoyed until recently (and to be fair, enjoy for the most part -- I see us beginning down a road that leads someplace awful, not already setting up camp in hell.) Trouble is that there are opportunities for abuse that need to be ironed out.

Historically, private companies have been forced to change business practices when their power began to adversely affect the populace. Labor laws, anti-trust statutes, bans on price fixing were all passed because business became too monolithic and too powerful. This is why the US has a strong economy and Mexico doesn't -- their private corporations are not subject to the same restrictions, resulting in what is essentially a feudal society (based on wealth rather than heredity, but otherwise essentially the same).

I see the same sort of problem cropping up with access to ideas. I'm not saying I'm against the system, or the general right of a business owner to decide how to run his own business. I'm just saying "hey guys, we might want to keep an eye on this".
 

Kreth

Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Aug 26, 2003
Messages
6,980
Reaction score
86
Location
Oneonta, NY
Name a singer better than Kelly Clarkson!:soapbox:
Doro Pesch, Lita Ford, Cristina Scabbia, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, Joan Jett are all female singers who aren't over-produced in the studio. As a result, they can actually hit the same notes live that they hit in the studio, unlike Ms. Clarkson. And then we could name a legend like Aretha Franklin. Do you really think Kelly Clarkson could hold a candle to her? :idunno:
 

Andrew Green

Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Aug 1, 2004
Messages
8,628
Reaction score
448
Location
Winnipeg MB
...but in "1984", they don't have a choice. It's guvmint cheese or none at all. What we have is the opposite. While you may not like the songs that are currently popular, that does not make them "artless". I feel your pain, though. I went through the "rap ain't music" phase myself.

So is it even scarier that the world is beginning to resemble 1984 in the areas that we have choice, and people are chosing the things Orwell warned against?

Popular music is always going to be unprovocative, except for those rare occasions when the artist hits on a topic that resonates with a lot of people. Music that reflects a certain political/religious/whatever viewpoint is generally going to be less popular because it won't be bought by those who disagree with it.


What? Unproductive? Back in the 60's popular music had meaning, it had depth, it was artistic!

A Bar bar bar bar Barbar Ann
Bar bar bar bar Barbar Ann
(Bar bar bar bar Barbar Ann)
Oh Barbara Ann take my hand
(Bar bar bar bar Barbar Ann)
Barbara Ann
(Bar bar bar bar Barbar Ann)
You got me rockin' and a rollin'
Rockin' and a reelin' Barbara Ann
Bar bar bar bar Barbar Ann
 

CoryKS

Senior Master
Joined
Aug 30, 2006
Messages
4,403
Reaction score
182
Location
Olathe, KS
Found a couple of interesting articles on this. WSJ has an article which seems to support the idea that corporations (retailers, rather than labels) are limiting the availability of albums, thought they don't use the C-word: Can Music Survive Inside the Big Box?

This guy disagrees: Are Big Box Stores "Music Tastemakers"?. I think there's a limit to how effectively the industry can shove music down the throats of listeners if they really aren't interested. They'll find what they want elsewhere.

I'm sorry, but I just don't agree that it's becoming harder to find non-mainstream media, whether it's music, books, or whatever. When I was in high school, I had to go all the way across town (Uphill! Both ways! In the snow!) to the head shop at the mall to buy a frickin' Smiths tape. Now I can go to Amazon and buy pretty much anything ever printed, or eBay if they're out. And with the internet it's hard to argue that ideas are being shut out. Any chimp with an opinion and a modem can get a global audience, provided he can get enough people to a) read it; b) like it; and c) link to it.
 

Blotan Hunka

Master Black Belt
Joined
Dec 15, 2005
Messages
1,464
Reaction score
20
If you can get it legally somewhere else, its "free market" IMO. In the day of the internet, if you have the cash you can find and buy anything. Walmarts decision to sell or not being "censorship" is a stretch for me.
 

Touch Of Death

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
May 6, 2003
Messages
11,610
Reaction score
844
Location
Spokane Valley WA
Doro Pesch, Lita Ford, Cristina Scabbia, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, Joan Jett are all female singers who aren't over-produced in the studio. As a result, they can actually hit the same notes live that they hit in the studio, unlike Ms. Clarkson. And then we could name a legend like Aretha Franklin. Do you really think Kelly Clarkson could hold a candle to her? :idunno:
Joan Jett and Lita Ford? Are you high? They were a gimmick and still are from the get go. Be honest with yourself... really. You are comparing someone whom has been touring non-stop to those no talent hacks? Good Lord!

Sean
 

Touch Of Death

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
May 6, 2003
Messages
11,610
Reaction score
844
Location
Spokane Valley WA
And Further more Stevie Nicks fried her voice out a good twenty five years ago. I'm not sure she could have duplicated the studio work on stage and neither are you. She for damn sure can't do it now.
Sean
 

Kreth

Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Aug 26, 2003
Messages
6,980
Reaction score
86
Location
Oneonta, NY
Joan Jett and Lita Ford? Are you high? They were a gimmick and still are from the get go. Be honest with yourself... really. You are comparing someone whom has been touring non-stop to those no talent hacks? Good Lord!

Sean
Joan Jett was touring before Kelly Clarkson was born. And thanks for ignoring my point. All of the women I mentioned can actually sing what's on the albums they've put out. The last time I saw Kelly Clarkson live (When she was featured at the Daytona 500), she didn't even try for the high note on her hit Since You've Been Gone, and that wasn't even a full concert.
It's not just her though. I can think of several "nu-metal" bands that sound terrible live. Everything is about slick production these days.
And yes she is as good as Aretha.
:roflmao:
 
Top