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Re: videos and music and music sales

In advance I have to say that, I suppose there are a large variety of 
approaches to Content and Performance, and assume in advance that this is 
one zone in which we will tend to not agree with each other.  Exchange of 
ideas continues to change ourselves nonetheless...

One bit of memory knocked loose by this discussion: When rock acts started 
dressing up, and then went beyond that to light shows, video backdrops, 
auxiliary performers running round the audience like circus clowns, etc - 
least in the 70s I recall that many of the pundits of the time derided 
visual enhancements, often pointing to same as some kind of 'evidence' 
the music itself must be lacking somehow, or otherwise below some 
line dividing Art from Crap.  I have the feeling that such faux 
discrimination has been going on as long as there have been Art, and Art 
Pundits ("Too many notes" comes to mind).

I am sure that there are acts that nearly require a light show due to the 
relative paucity of musical content, just as I am sure that there are acts 
that present themselves as a complete package of audio and video 
production/performance.  I started using the good old Psychedelic Screen 
Saver as a visual enhancement waaay back in 1996, when playing houses in 
LA area, because it reacted to the sound I was making in a manner I could 
control.  I suppose if some enterprising soul had come forward to offer to 
make interactive video effects or an otherwise-termed light show, it would 
have been easier to implement; but I wouldn't have wanted the video to be 
more important than the music, while not wanting the video to appear 
piddlingly simple or something less than I thought it should be.  I have 
never had anyone tell me that I should use a certain number of brushes, 
or pencils when producing visual art, and so how different (if not 
is it to try to do the same to music or music-video, or multimedia etc.?

I find the current situation with video streaming to be exciting, as the 
natural, not-by-design constraints of the medium are still a major factor; 
working with them brings out the creative in us, and leads to all sorts of 
outgrowth and innovations.  Me, I would just like a webcam edit-patch that 
overlays a pre-existing video with a degree of transparency (to 
from the already-available 'green screen' type methods used well for 
instance by Jeff Duke.  One effect I hadn't planned on is that, having 
scheduled a daily show from 5-6pm gmt, a complete, undisturbed block of 
now exists here into which even a phone call doesn't intrude.  In the 
absence of a proper working studio and during the Christmas holidays, it 
been an unplanned-for and nice surprise to me.  Go ahead, say "Duh!".

Labels continue to be used by big music companies to deride us 
remember "bedroom musician"?  It implied that we all still lived with our 
parents, ensconced away in our corner with a computer and a few 
like some sort of ineffectual geeks.  I await the Big Five's new 
to describe those of us who are composing, performing and publishing our 
work, as well as using streaming video to do so.  I wonder about the 
addressing of the Art we create, and whether we can keep listening to Les 
Paul's warning about not letting the technology control what you create, 
while still working with constraints that can potentially do just that.  I 
look forward to much better than we have presently, especially considering 
what personal video/audio streaming WASN'T just a few years ago, and fully 
intend to investigate the role of a multimedia (for lack of a better term) 
artist in the future.

Stephen Goodman
"Twelve Days of Christmas Plus 1" at ustream:

From: "Matt Davignon" <mattdavignon@gmail.com>

> I don't think there's any single concrete element one can add to any
> type of music to make people accept it more. By concrete elements, I'm
> talking about things like video, audience participation, unusual
> instruments, cowbell, synth washes, drum machines, etc.
> Video in particular is often a distraction from the music, except in
> cases where the two were purposefully created together as a single
> work.
> My theory for musical success in any genre (myself being a relatively
> unsuccessful musician) goes something like this:
> --Develop a unique and clear musical persona.
> --Think about which elements of your performance highlight your
> musical persona, and which elements detract from it.
> --Consider that you have an audience, or at least a potential
> audience. When you play in public or create an album, it should be for
> your audience, rather than for yourself.
> --The audience wants to hear you, as you can best represent yourself.
> They don't necessarily want you to play things they've heard before or
> would expect from other musicians.
> --Lastly, dumb luck. The people who have the most success in any kind
> of music not only follow the above 3 steps, but their musical personas
> happen to be something that a lot of people want to listen to.
> And if you make "challenging" music, never describe it to people that
> way. Telling people, "Hey, let's listen to some challenging music" is
> like saying "Hey, let's do some calculus for fun!" You may get some
> takers, but they'll be the musical equivalent of math nerds. (And
> about as common as math nerds.) There are lots of people who liked
> Frank Zappa, Philip Glass, John Cage, John Zorn, Einsturzende
> Neubauten, The Residents, Nurse With Wound, etc long before they found
> out the music was supposed to be "challenging".
> -- 
> Matt Davignon
> www.ribosomemusic.com
> Rigs! www.youtube.com/user/ribosomematt