Tuesday, February 07, 2006

msb-0003 Lets all get up and dance to a song. -Lennon/McCartney

"Lets all get up and dance to a song that was hit before you mother was born."

When Lennon and McCarney wrote that, it was clearly impossible since the music industry had a lock on every piece of music written and recorded since the turn of the last century.

(Actually the RIAA has been against EVERY innovation since the invention of the piano roll. We have the archival record of the lawsuits they have filed since then. If it was to them we'd be sitting without every thing invented since our great-grand-parents used gas for lighting. There would be no photocopier, no radio, no juke boxes, no movies, no television, no MP3 players or iPods ... nothing. Think of how interlinked everything is. That also means there would be no telephone, no fax, no penecilin or other antibiotics, no computers and no internet and therefore no Google.)

The only way it was happening was with your own instruments or with legacy cylinders, 78s and maybe them newfangled 33 and 1/3s.

Basically the RIAA and friends felt that they owned your as-, uh, ears.

With podcasting and with podsafe music, that model of music distribution is showing us just how badly the artists and the audience has been ripped off.

Face it. Mozart died broke. Chopin died broke. Beethoven died deaf and not rich. Bach needed his patrons to keep eating.

The recording industry LOVES classical music. There's no royalty cheque to cut for the composer.

More recently, Satchmo' never got rich, despite being America's music ambassador to most of the planet.

He never got rich, but the recordings made others very rich.

Little Richard is still performing ... because he has to.

The list goes on and on.

The back catalogues of the music industry contain a wealth of material of unimaginable value. And its just mouldering away while we get Britanny Spears, Maria Carey and the latest talentless boy band pushed at us.

And we're not even the real customers, the real consumers of the music.

If you want to find the real paying customers, change floors...

That's right.

Now playing in elevators and malls all across the planet, Muzak (www.muzak.com/) is massacering songs by using professional musicians to play 'toned down,' placified, flacified renditions of music. Anything to stop it from being done right.

They feed us feces because that's what they feed anybody, anywhere, anytime.

Now that the recording quality is 'good enough' and has been since the fifties, and now that the media is now essentially perfectly reproducible, have you noticed a heavy preponderance of oldies stations?

Yep, we're being fed the same brown stuff again. But, lets be fair, its not just the RIAA that's doing it. Its their buddies, ClearChannel.

ClearChannel, Infinity Broadcasting and their ilk are trying to come up with the most cost effective means of delivering 1,440 minutes of commercial air time per channel. And with the merger of some channels the number of outlets that they can get to pay is shrinking.

If they could get rid of content all together, they would, and you'd be stuck with infomercials all day long.

But then the ratings would go to hell and they couldn't keep their prices up, so they churn the back catalogs.

The new hits that they manufacture, with the 'Gwen Stephani's, Celine Dions and the latest boy bands that get in, are carefully staged to cost them very little since, even with payola, they pass the costs down to the artists trying to break in by offering them contracts which leaves the artists in debt, rather than in clover.

Rap is a big commercial success because is so cheap to do (kids on the street rap out acapella.) So its cheap to produce, package and get to market. And young black urban culture is so violent that they give the AAs free publicity on the 10 o'clock with another shooting.

Like I said, Little Richard is still performing because he has to. (But he is still finding an audience because rap and all the rest of it is so bad.)

Well, now we've got podsafe music (GarageBand.com and music.podshow.com immediately come to mind,) ... and something else ...

The Cylinder Presevation and Digitization Project of the University of California, Santa Barbara (http://cylinders.library.ucsb.edu/) is a treasure trove of copyright-free music.

Granted some of it is just horrible to listen to, I happen to feel the same way about the average 'boy band,' but some of it is actually quite good.

If you listen to it, if you can hear past the scratches, hiss and pops with your CDified ears, you can hear what the artist tried to say.

Maybe you're an artist looking for something worth recording but there doesn't seeem to be anything commanding enough to bother. Check it out. Maybe you're just looking for some roots. Check it out. Maybe you're looking for some riff to 'borrow.' Check it out.

As Pablo Picasso said: "A good artist copies. A great artist steals." And that is what is at stake here. If the **AAs have there way, no one will be able to beg, borrow or steal anything because everybody will be facing a lawsuit by humourless creatures known as lawyers.

And that would be a sad drag.

I could go on about "The Politics of Dancing, The Politics of, hmmm, Feeling Good" and I probably I will again because its such a rich vein of material. But for now I will drop the subject and you will have to wait for me to tell you about "Kay" and "The Princess of Twee."

I told you last time that I'd tell you why I ate duck.

I eat duck out of revenge.

A duck killed my father with a hammer. No ... I'm just being my usual assinine self.

But I do eat duck out of revenge.

My MS episodes are triggered by periods of intense stress (I was a project manager working for a couple of idiots, you wanna talk about stress. I still remember a sign on someone's desk that said "Stress is a reaction to wanting desperatly to strangle the crap out of some fool who needs it." Man, do I agree with that sentiment.) or the episodes are triggered when I contract certain strains of influenza.

ALL flu virii are bred in the gut of Chinese ducks. ALL of them.

When pigs get it, it may be called "swine flu", but the pigs contract it from eating feed contaminated with sick duck shit.

That's why I eat duck every chance I get... Revenge.

As for the fools... I just think of "Silence of the Lambs" and Hannibal Lecter's diet, or maybe of "The Donner Party" diet, until I calm down.

For the podcast, I've just bought a Marantz PDM670 portable recorder with 2GB of RAM, a PortaBrace carrying bag, a twin pack of AKG C1000S microphones and a couple of tabletop tripods.

If I have to interview anybody, I'll be able to go anywhere and do it. (Its good to have a job. You feel like a king. Of course you have to pay the credit card bill though.)

I am communicating with the New York chapter of the MS Society and trying to get the notes from the annual meeting I attended, including the name of the fascinating doctor who was a key note speaker, I hope to interview him later in the series, and to get some MS news about what therapies are available now and which ones look promising for the future.

Also I want to meet some people with MS and ask them some questions. (I now have the equipment to do it.)

Next time, I'll hopefully have some feedback. Or some feed-forward.

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