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music: "Good" vs. "Valuable"


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#1 Edward Powell

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 09:50 AM

because of course you must be 'good' if people are paying to fly you all over the world

you don't have to be necessarily 'good' but most of the times you have to have a 'value' (commercially or artistically or what-not) for people spending money on you... unless you have a rich patron who can afford you... like in the good ole times...


...are those of us out there who are deeply concerned with making quality music committing commercial suicide?
What is the criteria for getting musical exposure? Does it matter how well one plays, or how beautiful one's compositions are?

What does it mean to be VALUABLE in the eyes of the World, especially in the eyes of the Music Market on which we depend for our appreciation and our livelihood?
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#2 jahloon

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 11:55 AM

Like Paul said, it is simple economics, you have a value (and it may just be a perceived value) that people will pay for.

Same for any job.

Exposure - its not what you know, its who you know.

Then there is promotion, persuading people your value is higher than presently perceived.
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#3 Paul Shigihara

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 12:30 PM

...are those of us out there who are deeply concerned with making quality music committing commercial suicide?
What is the criteria for getting musical exposure?


if you're really deeply concerned about making 'quality music' you can't be concerned about if it is commercial or not.
you're just gonna do it... no matter what...

there are no set rules/norms/criteria... it's all karma... why is one musician more successful/famous
than the other even when they both meet the same criteria ?

Does it matter how well one plays, or how beautiful one's compositions are?


no, i think it's a given that you have to play well if you're professional and if you can write music as well
even better... but it won't give you a guarantee or a safe spot in the 'marketplace.
there are just too many people out there trying to make a living in 'music'... this life is not for everyone !

What does it mean to be VALUABLE in the eyes of the World, especially in the eyes of the Music Market
on which we depend for our appreciation and our livelihood?


my respect goes out to anyone who can make ends meet with playing music...
which is easier said than done. how many musicians have to teach, drive cabs, copy music
or what-not to survive ? and why should it be any different than in other jobs ?
principle of supply and demand...

#4 Edward Powell

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 12:34 PM

Like Paul said, it is simple economics, you have a value (and it may just be a perceived value) that people will pay for.

Same for any job.

Exposure - its not what you know, its who you know.

Then there is promotion, persuading people your value is higher than presently perceived.


Ok, let's forget about REAL value, and talk about PERCEIVED value, cuz in terms of the Music Market, it is PERCEIVED value that is important. In terms of music, the REAL value part is only something that we do for ourselves and our peers - ...right?

So what are examples of PERCEIVED VALUE and how does this work?

- - -

"Exposure - its not what you know, its who you know." ...is this really all there is to it? ...what about spending 8 hours a day pumping your music thru myspace? i know Cats that do that and it in fact works well for them.... but, for me, if this is what it takes--- thanks, but no thanks!

---

"Then there is promotion, persuading people your value is higher than presently perceived." ...i guess a lot of people have figured this one out, hense the avalanche of artists pretending to be famous on myspace.

But there it is again, this word VALUE! What does it mean??
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#5 Paul Shigihara

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 12:38 PM

Exposure - its not what you know, its who you know.


and i might add... it's who you play with and with whom you're musically associated...

like it or not.... a musical cv and a discography do have a meaning like in any other job...

#6 Paul Shigihara

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 12:54 PM

But there it is again, this word VALUE! What does it mean??


you brought up the term 'value'... so why don't you answer this ?

real, perceived... i don't care...

simple value example.... you want to play a gig. the promoter offers you a fee according
to his perceived value of you as a concert artist... you can say yes or no...
hopefully your name is gonna sell enough tickets that he can pay you and make a profit...
if you have a booking agent he will place a 'value' on your musical services and take his cut
when he sells you to a venue... just a basic principle at work for everyone from madonna to yo-yo ma
or you and me...

#7 Kai

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 02:38 PM

"I don't care who likes it or buys it. Because if you use that criterion, Mozart would never have written Don Giovanni, Charlie Parker would never have played anything but swing music. There comes a point at which you have to stand up and say, this is what I have to do."
- Branford Marsalis

Another question is "valuable to whom?" This is going to vary all over the place, and you need to find a large enough group of people who roughly agree on your perceived value - I don't see that the actual vs. perceived debate has much, um, value, in the larger social context - if you're going to make a living at it. And does that large enough group of fans have to be millions? Our fame-oriented culture certainly seems to think so, but you don't have to accept that benchmark of success. Is it really sustainable to have that as the criterion? My little brother once remarked that I (like most musicians) would either be rich or (relatively) poor, not somewhere in between. The same can be said of most actors, or painters, or whatever. It's the distortion created by a capitalist value system that tends to consolidate and concentrate when not ameliorated by social pressures of values absent from it. A few Madonnas and hundreds of thousands of just-scraping-by others.

And first of all, it has to be "valuable" to you; if you're just faking its worth to you, you may be able to fool folks for a while, but eventually...
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#8 jahloon

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 02:40 PM

"Exposure - its not what you know, its who you know." ...is this really all there is to it? ...what about spending 8 hours a day pumping your music thru myspace? i know Cats that do that and it in fact works well for them.... but, for me, if this is what it takes--- thanks, but no thanks!

Spending 8 hours a day is promotion
Play the blues guitar with your soul, but play the fretless guitar with your spirit.
Author of the book "Fretless Guitar The Definitive Guide" fretlessguitar.co.uk

#9 Edward Powell

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 03:40 PM

Sometimes it really seems to depend on where the money is. Personally I do try to make my music as appealing as possible, but certainly not commercial - however, I have become to be of the opinion that artistic music is best off not counting completely on the basic market principle (as Paul described). Generally the best gigs that I get are gigs which are sponsored by cultural organisations. Culture is sometimes perceived to be valuable and often sponsored.

Also, again personally, my own 'value' sometimes comes from being a Western musician who is obviously extremely sympathetic to Eastern music - therefore I am sometimes valued as a 'symbol of incultural harmony'.
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#10 Newbie Brad

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 04:08 PM

Value's in your pocket. Don't leave out the red/black of it, the profit/loss business sheet. Major labels have PR/advertising and manufacturing/distribution tools that are to your advantage if you're associated with them. But the guy with a major label monkey on his back may be more publicly "known" than the smaller act without the major label but the smaller act acting as their own production company/record label may have instant profits from cd unit one forward (if you use the new press on demand manufacturer/distributors like Kunacki) because the bigger your overhead, the longer you wait for profitablility in your little business. If you are a major label act, they'll recoup practically every cost of doing their business from your side of the income stream before you see the first dollar, as well as trying to horn in on your publishing and merchandising revenue streams. Classically, when the small guy doesn't have access to the PR/advertising and manufacturing tools of the guy with the major label, the bigger act may see far bigger profit once the manufacturing and PR costs are finally recouped, still even classically the little guy has been in profit for much longer and may make a proportionately bigger profit since the business is smaller and there are less mouths to feed. And, though it will still cost something, today's technology may put the small guy in reach of many of the same PR/advertising and manufacturing tools as the guy with the major label.
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#11 Kai

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 04:28 PM

And, though it will still cost something, today's technology may put the small guy in reach of many of the same PR/advertising and manufacturing tools as the guy with the major label.


Yeah, this is something that helps work against the consolidation/concentration of promo resources around only those who the major labels project as profitable and thus worth signing to contracts. And if your goal is not to sell a milliion CDs or pack big venues (necessary to sustain the big infrastructure of big labels), but something more middle or even low range, it may be feasible. All too new to really tell yet. There's still a finite pool of eyeballs/ears that everyone's competing for. But at least the possibility of narrowcasting & micromarkets is there where it didn't used to be. What works for (some) blogs vs. mainstream media may work for music too. There's a lot of frustration among "consumers" re the limited choices they get from the majors which leads them to search elsewhere, hence MySpace isn't totally irrelevant. There's also a large chunk (a majority?) of the public that seems perfectly happy being spoonfed, not least because music really isn't that important to that segment. (it's background or whatever.) We can't forget that or waste time fulminating against it. ( :unsure: - "Damn ignorant masses! Why can't they love good music the way I do!" :D )

It'd be nice to see some truly scientific surveys of the alternate promo landscape.
"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench - a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side..." - Hunter S. Thompson
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#12 Edward Powell

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 05:56 PM

Ok, value is MEASURED in terms of money - this is obvious. But that still doesn't shed light on the original question: What IS value?

Yes, people need money to buy CDs and concert tickets, but what are musicians giving them (the 'value') that motivates them to spend that money. What motivates a sponsor to fund an otherwise unprofitable music festival... what is the 'value' that motivates this sponsor.
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#13 Newbie Brad

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 07:00 PM

Webster's Dictionary

"


Main Entry: 1val∑ue
Pronunciation: \ˈval-(ˌ)yŁ\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, worth, high quality, from Anglo-French, from Vulgar Latin *valuta, from feminine of *valutus, past participle of Latin valēre to be of worth, be strong ó more at wield
Date: 14th century
1: a fair return or equivalent in goods, services, or money for something exchanged
2: the monetary worth of something : market price
3: relative worth, utility, or importance <a good value at the price> <the value of base stealing in baseball> <had nothing of value to say>
4: a numerical quantity that is assigned or is determined by calculation or measurement <let x take on positive values> <a value for the age of the earth>
5: the relative duration of a musical note
6 a: relative lightness or darkness of a color : luminosity b: the relation of one part in a picture to another with respect to lightness and darkness
7: something (as a principle or quality) intrinsically valuable or desirable <sought material values instead of human valuesó W. H. Jones>
8: denomination 2
ó val∑ue∑less \-(ˌ)yŁ-ləs, -yə-\ adjective
ó val∑ue∑less∑ness noun

"
So how do we extend the "Value's in your pocket" business-oriented koan to the idea of "intrinsic" worth? Perhaps the music "had value" to the performer if in retrospect he measures that it was "worth performing", or maybe it has value to the listener if in retrospect he measures that it was "worth listening to"? And further, either or both performer or listener may have had value from the music in some unconscious, immeasurable way. Perhaps this belongs more to philosophy than art. Does art have to have a value? Why do elephants paint?
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#14 jahloon

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 08:51 PM

What motivates a sponsor to fund an otherwise unprofitable music festival... what is the 'value' that motivates this sponsor?

Jeez, I must be really dumb.
Play the blues guitar with your soul, but play the fretless guitar with your spirit.
Author of the book "Fretless Guitar The Definitive Guide" fretlessguitar.co.uk

#15 Paul Shigihara

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 06:55 AM

What motivates a sponsor to fund an otherwise unprofitable music festival...
what is the 'value' that motivates this sponsor.


as 'bad' as it sounds... often sponsors have money to spend for tax and promotional reasons...
in the case of organizations giving out grants and such you will be evaluated if you meet the given criteria...
i don't know how it works in northamerica but the system of government funding of culture/arts is still functioning
on a high level in germany...

Webster's Dictionary....So how do we extend the "Value's in your pocket" business-oriented koan to the idea of "intrinsic" worth? Perhaps the music "had value" to the performer if in retrospect he measures that it was "worth performing", or maybe it has value to the listener if in retrospect he measures that it was "worth listening to"? And further, either or both performer or listener may have had value from the music in some unconscious, immeasurable way.
Perhaps this belongs more to philosophy than art.
Does art have to have a value? Why do elephants paint?


and why do some people play fretless guitars ? :unsure:




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