My very own music video

Haha, well technically it’s not a music video, since I made it for a production class, and the assignment was to make a narrative silent film. But really, it’s basically a music video.

What have I learned while making this?

1. It’s hard to be creative.

2. It’s hard to edit a music track (the original was 10 min long).

3. Indie artists are the best. “Can I edit your song and use it in my video?”; “Sure, let us know how it goes!”

So why am I posting this here? Well, for one, I’m quite proud of it, even if it makes no sense. For another, I’m just trying to share one of my favorite bands. I mean, you’ve heard me say several times that indie music is the way to go, and I really think it is, for various reasons (see previous posts). The problem is, being indie, well… no one’s heard of any of them!

So yes, I’m ending this on a positive note. Get out there and discover some artists! Try here, or here, or even here, if you’re feeling adventurous. Listen to them, like them, support them.

So long.

Piracy

Mwhahaha, I sure love tackling these tricky issues and completely ignoring most aspects of them so that I can talk about them in 2 paragraphs!! Anyway, I added something today called the “Quote of the Day” (wish I’d thought of it sooner…). See it, over there on the left? Pretty cool, huh?

Now today’s quote comes from Markus Persson, creator of Minecraft, and while he is no musician he offers a very interesting perspective on piracy. I would highly recommend reading his full opinion here, but in case you’re too lazy, he basically says that the way to fight piracy is NOT to fight it. People will always pay for quality products if they can get additional services associated with it, such as what Minecraft has done with customizable skins and such.

I really believe the music industry could take a few pointers from the video game industry. Companies like Steam and GOG.com are making a ton of money while offering their customers high quality products at low prices. THAT is how you fight piracy.

This is not how you fight it. Well, I guess technically it is, but it’s not a very good way, is it? It doesn’t do anything towards actually shutting down pirates, and it makes everyone else feel like they’re being attacked for nothing.

Look, I’m not condoning piracy, far from it. In fact, if you’re wondering why pop music tends to suck so much nowadays, I don’t think you have to point the finger much further than piracy. Big record companies are scared of investing in anything new and cutting-edge, since it probably won’t pay very well, and they stick with what they know will sell. And it will sell because the kinds of people who think Justin Bieber is a talented and multi-faceted artist are also the kinds of people who don’t know the first thing about downloading music.

The loudness war

Ahh yes, a very interesting topic, if I do say so as shouldn’t. Now, rather than rehash what you’re probably familiar with, I’ll just post an excellent synthesis of what the loudness war is. If you already know, feel free to skip ahead.

I hope you can tell why this is a problem. And don’t let the fact that it was Metallica’s latest album that alerted the world to this detract you: this is happening more and more, with all kinds of record labels. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the artists themselves are obviously not doing this: it is the record labels themselves. Chances are, if you’ve bought a “remastered” album anytime in the last decade, the sound is actually worse in some respects than the original. Which is terrifying.

What’s the answer? Well, this has to stop sometime (they can’t keep getting much louder) so in the meantime just buy indie music and wait it out. In fact, here is some now. Yes, it is legal. No, it is not distorted by the loudness war.

Stealing songs

Warning: this topic actually does make me mad.

Ok, I would like you, please, to listen to this.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

(Source: Sigur Ros, 2010, Fair Use).

Now, watch this.

Oh come on Ray, what’s wrong with a band selling their song to an ad company? Nothing at all, really, except in this case they DIDN’T sell it!! Nope, Sigur Ros said they didn’t want their music associated with any commercials, so of course Peugeot just went ahead and aped their music (dulling it down in the process, I might add). Is this legal? Well, yes, as long as the song is different enought (although if Sigur Ros weren’t so nice, they would definitely have grounds to sue here, the songs are virtually the SAME). Is it moral?

Haha. Right.

Anyway, it makes me sick. Especially because finding bands to pen commercials is not exactly hard. In fact, sometimes we wish bands wouldn’t be so eager to sell their songs:

Seriously, cut it out guys.

Auto-tune

Yep, it’s this again. I don’t want to belabor this point too much, since it has been done so in many, many places, but it is worth talking about because, let’s face it, auto-tune is everywhere nowadays.

Now, I don’t want you to get the idea that I hate auto-tune in every shape or form. In fact, it might be useful to start off with a few examples of very effective use of auto-tune.

First of all, obviously, there’s Auto-tune the News, which takes news footage and – actually, you’ve almost certainly heard of this before, so why don’t you just enjoy this classic?

Now here’s something you might not have heard about. Mogwai released this album about a year ago, and this track featured, of all things, some auto-tune. Don’t panic if you can’t understand the words, that’s kind of the point.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

(Source: Mogwai, 2011, fair use)

Finally, probably the best example of effective use of auto-tune comes from Kanye’s now-classic-but-still-much-hated “808s and Heartbreak.”

Notice a pattern here? In each of those cases, auto-tune was used as an actual instrument for an actual purpose, whether that was making a song from something that wasn’t, giving vocals an ethereal, angelic quality, or using the dehumanizing aspect of auto-tune to complement the lyrics.

Now listen to this.

And (forgive me) this.

(I’m sorry you had to watch that last one)

See what I’m getting at here? If you’re just using auto-tune to correct your voice, it becomes a prop and distracts us from the music. Granted, in some cases that may be desirable, but that’s not really a point in your favor, is it?

I guess what I’m getting at is that if you feel the need to auto-tune everything you do, then either STOP DOING IT or STOP SINGING.

Your move, Jason Derullo.

Seriously, stop it.

No, I’m not talking to you, M.I.A. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not exactly what you might call a fan – although I did love your Paper Planes song.

I’m talking to everyone who flipped out about her Super Bowl stunt. If you live on Mars and aren’t aware of it, here it is:

Seriously, stop panicking about this. Remember two lines ago when I said I wasn’t a fan? Yes, I’m afraid this is just another plea for attention, folks, and you know the best way to fix it? STOP PAYING ATTENTION TO IT! No, Pitchfork, M.I.A. did not say “F- you, America”, and while I agree that she doesn’t even need such stunts, let’s please remember that the Super Bowl halftime show has never been about the music. M.I.A. was simply putting on a show, which is what she was supposed to be doing: moral outrage over this issue is not only an overreaction, it is missing the point. After all, do you even remember who played the Super Bowl in 2008? Tom Petty. Do you remember what he sang? Neither do I. Because no one cared.

Hating is fun

Greetings, world. Full disclosure: this blog was created for a class, CAPP 30523: Applied Multimedia Technologies, and therefore if you’re not a part of that class or close family I think you might have made a wrong turn.

Seriously, hit that back button and continue searching. I don’t know how I made it onto the first page of results but believe me, I don’t belong there. This is just going to be a collection of rants, airbrushed and polished and all dolled up – let’s face it, I need the grade – but with absolutely no pretense to factual accuracy.

So, with that out of the way, what am I going to be ranting about? In a word: music. How many times have you witnessed/been part of this conversation:

Dweeb: “Music these days sucks!”

Shlub: “No it doesn’t, you’re just old!”

I am honestly sick of hearing this pointless debate, and so I will throw my completely unprofessional and thoroughly biased hat into the ring and attempt to destroy both – equally false and obnoxious – views. This is basically going to be a rant on everything I hate about music (because what’s the point of ranting about what you like? seriously…), and if in passing I step on some toes and bruise some egos, all the better.

See, music doesn’t suck nowadays: the music INDUSTRY sucks. And boy can I find things to complain about! So just sit back and relax, because hating is a lot more fun than loving.