The Day The Music Died (was somewhere in the mid 1990’s)

People don’t want good music, they want free music. Good is optional, in both the composition, performance, and the final recoding that’s listened to. Actually, good isn’t even desired at all, there has always been good music, great music too, and it has never sold well.

It’s people and listening habits that have fundamentally changed — not the artists or music distributors — that have eroded the ability to be a professional musician.

These days people invest in good headphones, not good stereo systems. Most listening occurs alone, and when groups of people listen to music it’s usually background to another activity. When was the last time you or anyone you know listened to recorded music together in your house where the sole intent was to listen to the music, and not do anything else simultaneously like converse, eat, or drink? My theory is that headphones have become so popular since they make low bitrate audio files sound better. Yes, you’ll also hear the digital artifacts (if you have a trained ear) but a $79 set of headphones brings more audio fidelity to the listener than a $79 stereo system. I mean there are not enough bus and train riders out there to explain the explosion in popularity in headphone use!

And even when people use headphones and listen to music alone, the music is usually background noise to other activities like working out, studying, housework, and web surfing.

Given that people don’t really treat listening to music as something they do exclusively with no distractions, and that music can be had for free, I don’t see that people will ever buy music again in any great numbers. I think people have to treasure listening to music more as a primary activity before ANY business model can be developed to support music recording sales at past levels.

Also, let’s face it, music can be rather boring when you hold it up against other forms of entertainment like TV and movies. Back in the fat and profitable years for the music industry — about the last half of the 1960’s, the entire 70’s & 80’s and the first half of the 90’s — TV and movies, especially TV, sucked ass. But now TV shows are amazing and they command your attention. Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Orange is the New Black etc. viewing parties have replaced album listening parties. We’re not going to pay $10 for an album when the same $10 gets us Netflix. Hell, we don’t even really pay $10 for Pandora.

Of course all of the above is a generalization and a lot of people still engage in music as something other than background noise. But I don’t think they’re enough of them left to support the music industry like in decades past.

With only a few exceptions (40 or 200?) being a musician is a now a low-wage job in an archaic industry. I think we have to acknowledge that the music industry was a bubble that burst and it will never be re-inflated. And like with all bubbles, all of us are partly to blame.

So don’t think that all it will take is some new “good” musicians or some new amazing music genre or scene to breath new life into the music industry. Music industry profits are now slim margins because music as a form of entertainment has been marginalized.

teenage (can’t) dream

Ima gonna channel my teenage self here and write something on the inside flap of my high school library’s copy of The Catcher in the Rye: If love makes the world go ’round, then unrequited love keeps it tilted on its axis.

Boom!

Is there a rehab for acting immature and melodramatic on social media and for posting far more than any grown-ass man should even when bored and unable to fall asleep? I have good health insurance. Lmk, thx, ttyl!

Ugh.

Everyone should read this article, click here!

But know there are a few things you can do.  In no particular order other than stream-of-conscious …

1. On an individual level, consume less media and produce more of it yourself.  2. Do the same with everything else, borrow and share too.  3.  Realize that when you rip off artists and musicians, by not supporting them with actual money, things get worse.  This may seem to conflict with #1 & #2 and it does really, so find the right balance for you and don’t expect it all for free.  4. Stop working in tech or other forms of content packaging and distribution and make content yourself.  Or at least respect and cherish the content producers that make your distribution job possible: don’t take advantage of them.  4a. Play a musical instrument, even poorly.  5. Volunteer and help other people out directly, don’t expect others or the government to do it for you.  6. Only read and watch the best in breed in journalism, avoid all the rest at all cost.  7. Dive deep and master something, don’t think you need to be aware of everything going on under the sun to survive and be happy.  8. Trust the experts and scientists that have done the work and the study and have the best credentials, ignore the rest.  9. Get a dog.  10.  Fall in love and have a lot of sex.  10a. If you’re not in love, you should still have some sex too.  11. Start a family (but be ready to do so).  12. Be social in real life, meet real people and make real friends, listen to their stories and share your own, have good conversations, start conversations.  13. Give back and pay it forward.  14. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help, advice, or knowledge.  15. Get an education and realize you can get one on your own outside of a school too if school isn’t an option.  16. Don’t be lazy, fight it off when it starts to get the best of you.  17. Vote, and vote with your brain not your heart, gut, or genitals. 18. Know that you will fail and other will too but don’t let it stop you (not that you have a choice really) or drive you nuts.

 

 

Everyone hates Hamas

When Hamas only gets props from Iran, Syria, and Turkey (really Turkey?) you know the jig is up. Oh and Qatar, I forgot Qatar, but who doesn’t, right?

If you’re for a free Gaza with open borders and little to no control from Israel, please know that Hamas is making that a lot less likely, not more. Because nothing says “trusts us, we make great neighbors” like rocket attacks, terrorist tunnels, broken cease-fires, and suicide bombers! Even Egypt, normally Gaza’s best friend, locked down the border between it and Gaza and went after the tunnels there too, and before Israel decided to do the same thing. Arguably the closed Egypt/Gaza border is what really caused Hamas’s current desperation, as it was getting most of its resources from that route. (Note: the US and Mexico have a free trade agreement and we still control that border, more so everyday.). So yes, champion a free Gaza, but do so with smarts and class, not with terrorism and anti-Semitism. No discussion occurs about a free Gaza with Hamas in power there, that’s the political reality. Even 75% of Gazans hate Hamas. 

The other bit of crazy talk is when people say “Israel’s response should be more proportional”. Here’s the thing: Hamas and Israel are fighting a war, like it or not (not). And the objective of war is to win not tie. A proportional response leads to stalemate not victory. Now this doesn’t mean I’m pro war or even think that Israel should try to achieve its goals with war. It’s just that it’s silly to expect either side to hold back in a war, no matter which side you think is justified (if any justification can actually be ascribed). If Hamas were to acquire better weapons and tactics it would use them in its quest for victory, it wouldn’t hold back at all, especially not out of fear of killing civilians.

Yes, many of Israel’s weapons are from the United States. And many of Hamas’s weapons are from Iran, Syria, and Russia.

So why I’m a getting so worked up about this shit to the point where I need to discuss it on this forum of kitten videos and food photos? I mean other than just trying to make sense of it?? Because I’m discouraged to see my people, we liberal hipster creative types, fall on the wrong side of the argument. And, not for nothin’, to see Fox News more or less fall on the right side of the argument. Not that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict slots neatly into a right/wrong binary, but I do think Israelis are less wrong than Palestinians. It’s shocking to see how much strange thinking exists out there, how much anti-Semitism or near-anti-Semitism there seems to exist in purportedly open-minded people. I know the tendency in my tribe is to support the little guy, the underdog, the mom-and-pop, and all things indie. And I know it seems like Hamas are the freedom fighting rebels like in Star Wars. But they’re not, and even if they were the end doesn’t justify the means. The ultimate irony is to say Israel has created an Apartheid state in Gaza and thus Hamas can do no wrong, as Nelson Mandela himself tried fighting oppression with violence first, failed at it, then tried peaceful, thoughtful, non-violent tactics like sanctions and divestiture and succeeded.