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Frank Zappa Explains the Decline of Music
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 11:08 am    Post subject: Frank Zappa Explains the Decline of Music Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Good animation - especially the second half.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Not youtube but I like this video;
http://kotaku.com/gaming/video/shadow-monsters-gameplay-is-a-bit-amazing-297555.php

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Frank's comments about the hot young execs apply to a lot of so-called industries, not just music, at least in the U.S. Seems to be a pretty general corporate drift towards sucking.

We listened to Hot Rats on the drive home from Canada last week. It was my pick-me-up to keep me awake during the last long leg of the journey. Excellent Rats! I smell a rat

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Acoustic Interloper wrote:
Frank's comments about the hot young execs apply to a lot of so-called industries, not just music, at least in the U.S. Seems to be a pretty general corporate drift towards sucking.

We listened to Hot Rats on the drive home from Canada last week. It was my pick-me-up to keep me awake during the last long leg of the journey. Excellent Rats! I smell a rat


Hot Rats was my first ever Zappa album, which I got at 12. I was easily corrupted. Very Happy

Re: MBAs (go ahead, say it) there is a reason I never got one of those. When the revolution comes, the MBAs will be the first up against the wall.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

EdisonRex wrote:

Hot Rats was my first ever Zappa album, which I got at 12. I was easily corrupted. Very Happy

I think mine was "Grand Wazoo", many others followed: Hot Rats, Freak Out, Uncle Meat, 200 Motels, Waka/Jawaka etc.

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Politics is the entertainment division of the military industrial complex - Frank Zappa

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Mohoyoho



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Freakout was mine. I saw him live in Boston around 1967 or 68 at the Pyschedelic Supermarket. My mother and father drove me and my friend to the show because we weren't yet 16. He was very influential to me.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Mohoyoho wrote:
Freakout was mine.

Yeah, mine too. Opened up a whole new world of music appreciation.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

As far as his theory on the decline of music; I think that is a very simplistic view. I think some of what he said is true, but I think as the pop music industry started to grow at an incredible rate, money became the main factor for the decline. It's not unlike the stock market mentality. Investors demand a certain rate of return. Just as stock analysts put their spin on the businesses on Wall Street, the same happened to the music industry. The way to get a consistent rate of return is to formulate and create an assembly line that mass produces and clones performers. And then came music videos. . . The look, which was often influencial in an act's success, became even more important than the music. The price of marketing and promotion started to skyrocket. If successful, their efforts paid off big. If unsuccessful, people lost their jobs. To take chances on artists on the edge might end a career, so safe mediocre acts became the norm. I think producers have become even more powerful than ever, and that also is keeping the edges of music dull.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Mohoyoho wrote:
To take chances on artists on the edge might end a career, so safe mediocre acts became the norm. I think producers have become even more powerful than ever, and that also is keeping the edges of music dull.

The effects of videos & costs etc. are all true, but I think the cultural drift coming with those MBAs is a big factor. Companies are trying to *optimize* returns, and part of doing that is reducing variability. In the old days there was more of a tendency to *gamble* on a return. The transistor was a risk in its day: just a shitty, low power tube.

They've gotta teach those MBAs something, and it's not going to be creative thinking or risk taking, because the people teaching those courses don't do those things. I remember in the old days of the Bell System, some people used to bitch about the managers being former engineers who got themselves promoted. According to this camp, the former engineers didn't have business or people skills. Along came a generation of these 'soft-skilled' managers who didn't understand shit about what was being created -- recalls Bush Sr's comment "I don't care whether it's computer chips or potato chips" that we make & sell -- and, at least for the tech company that used my work for 1/4 century, they managed the business right into the ground. Also recalls when the Pepsi guy ousted Jobs from Apple. Sugar Water Man.

Intellectual inbreeding leads in time to extinction.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 8:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:

Also recalls when the Pepsi guy ousted Jobs from Apple. Sugar Water Man.


Ah yes, Gil Amelio. Beige Apple boxes. Completely without style or performance. I had one of those. It sucked. I cursed him every day I used it.

The music industry is run by worse than MBAs, it is run by lawyers. I work with lots of lawyers and they are not generally known in corporate circles, for risk taking. It's all about the revenue flow.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Acoustic Interloper wrote:
Frank's comments about the hot young execs apply to a lot of so-called industries, not just music, at least in the U.S. Seems to be a pretty general corporate drift towards sucking.


Ya got that right. The trend is toward a corporate world run by effing pea brained bean counters promoting the values of a dung beetle and who suck up the swill of short-term self interest while effing everyone and everything else.

JM2C

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Couldn't'a said it better myself, and we all got plenty of anecdotes to back it up. One thing maybe worth adding is that, in both the physical and cultural universes there is *always* entropy to deal with, be it copyright-infringing MP3 downloads, music video production costs, whatever. How we react to entropy is what matters. The trick is to have thoughts more profound than the formula in a spreadsheet cell, and the chutzpah to act on them from time to time. There was plenty of bad commercial music and a pointless war back in the 60's, same as now, but there were also mainstream avenues for creative artists to travel, and there were even people walking briefly on the moon. You'd be hard pressed to put a bottom line value on walking on the moon, and yet there was plenty of technology invented in support of that in mainstream use today.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:

yet there was plenty of technology invented in support of that in mainstream use today.


You couldn't pay me to allow Tang into my body nowadays. Laughing

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 12:15 am    Post subject: Re: Frank Zappa Explains the Decline of Music Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:


i love zappa (in fact i loved him so much, i used to play Francesco Zappa trios with my brother and sister...) but i think that he's been proven wrong over time.

sigur ros, arcade fire, autechre, aphex twin, broadcast, vincent oliver, the musical releases of the label Border Community, electro-music.com as a community... i just don't see this decline in creativity or creative work being stifled.

in fact, the major labels are suffering, not from decline in sales, but in terms of them becoming less profitable administrative behemoths. many indie labels are thriving and that's having a positive impact on artists who might not be getting the stellar advances they recieved in the 70s and 80s but are making a (more than) decent living and have more creative control over their work.

to paraphrase Zappa, "all the good music was written in the 60s by a man with an imperial moustache..." so if you have nostalgia for that type of music, go listen to it. the recordings are still available!

i've never understood why Zappa was so nostalgic over this issue in particular.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

If you call electro-music.com a success, you'd be right. But if you compare it by the same standards used for the record companies, it's a complete failure. That standard is financial. Nevertheless, you make a good point.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I think Zappa´s thoughts on this should be understood based on where he was coming from and what was going on in the industry at the time. With that in mind, this is getting more interesting.
Consider this guy was signed on Verve because the label wanted diversity. Shocked Laughing
He later saw how the industry transformed into a runaway business monster. Seemingly the major labels tried to reinvent themselves into oil companies.
Also keep in mind how significant say the K-TEL compilations were. At the time this was very controversial. You guys remember K-TEL? Laughing

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 10:27 am    Post subject: Re: Frank Zappa Explains the Decline of Music Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:



excellent video..

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
you guys remember K-TEL?


Do I ever. At least I remember the endless commercials. I never ever bought a k-tel compilation. But I knew about what the motown scene did to its own artists by the 80s. I was already sour on the biz by then, although I was still playing a lot back then. I think the guys who used to produce K-Tel commercials started doing religious infomercials once cable got big. It seems that way, I could never prove it.

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