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Yung's Music Industry Blog

Archive for May, 2010


Eurovision Song Contest 2010

This year’s Eurovision Song Contest had a few surprising turns. Ending today, the winner of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest was a singer from Germany by the name of Lena Landrut with her song, “Satellite”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esTVVjpTzIY

The Eurovision song contest has been a very popular creative competition which takes place in Europe. Countries get to battle it out by getting their famous song writers from all over Europe to write specially-written songs for the chosen artist to compete.

Last year, the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest was a Norwegian classically trained violinist, Alexander Rybak. Because of the victory, Norway got to host this year’s contest. Since Germany won this year, the next Eurovision song contest will be held in Germany.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiH4BFTELME

The Eurovision Song Contest originally began in Lugano, Switzerland in 1956. The voting for the contest was determined by telephone votes from viewers as well as judges from each nation. It was reported that this year, Norway had spent a total of 32 million (USD) and claimed that they could not afford to host another one again due to financial struggles. The unstable economy has contributed to the participation of certain countries. For example this year, countries like Hungary, Andorra, The Czech Republic and Montenegro had to pull out this year because their budgets were cut severely. However, Hungary stated that the cost was not the issue but would be interested to participate in the contest again in the future.

Alot of bias is also present in the election of the winner of the Eurovision song contest. Countries that had a grudge against each other would give each other 0 points, majorly effecting the genuine outcome of the winner, whereas countries that were allies give each other full points.

Placement for Eurovision Song Contest 2010:

1. Germany
2. Turkey
3. Romania
4. Denmark
5. Azerbaijan

Journal Entry #6: The Industry

The music industry as a business have really grown to be a more complicated than before, especially now a days with all the copyright battles and lawsuits. Donald S. Passman’s book “All you need to know about the music business” was very helpful for me because it really broken down all the numbers for this business. I never knew much about it but now I definitely have a good understanding for it. But one problem that all these things run into is the fact that alot of people leak songs on youtube and also leak digital album copies online for download. From the numbers of the artist royalties I see, it can definitely hurt them. It is already hard as it is to be a songwriter, especially if you are constantly finding inspiration to write songs that will appeal to the public. Which brings up my next topic of composition. When I took my composition classes in the Aaron Copland school of music, alot of things were actually very theoretical and had some skill and meaning behind every note we write down on staff paper. Other than that, we also had to make the music appealing, not in a sense of beat or rhythm but by the way the notes relate to each other melodically and harmonically. However, composition with modern pop songs seem to be quite different. It’s not that it doesn’t take any “skill” but the fact that there is only so much you can do with the same 3 or 4 chords that after a while, you start to realize that all music sound the same – but not. The only varying element is/are the rhythm of notes and its repetition.  Some do it well, in that the rhythm and repetition creates a strong composition, some don’t do so well and rely solely on repetition to drill the music into our brains.

Another issue I see is the budget and funding problem. The artists are given a set amount of funding, and new artists are usually given less. After seeing the possible numbers for creating an album I can see why most people use programs like Pro Tools and make it digitally themselves. Although technology does greatly benefit our society, I feel at the same time that most people have gotten more lazier and forget of their musical history and origins. I feel as a musician that we need to know what we want to use in a song, but how will we know what to use if we don’t even know whats the difference between how a bassoon or a clarinet sounds like? But I guess that is why we have Pro tools to thank, most of the sounds don’t even exist as a physical instrument yet we use it in our music. At the same time, musical instruments such as the ones I’ve mentioned seem to be out-of-date in today’s society. It is good to have cool sounds created by technology, however I feel that organic sounds are just as important in composition. Technology is not only replacing old media but also all of our instruments.

The Illuminati Craze

“Illuminati want my mind, soul and body
Secret society, tryin’ to keep they eye on me” – Illuminati Prodigy

“Make me King, as we move forward to a,
new world order” – Lose Yourself Eminem

The subject of the Illuminati is so dense that the presentation I’ve made on friday was barely just a gloss over this controversial issue, therefore, I will mention some of the things that wasn’t mentioned in this blog for those of you who were really interested in my presentation.
All of these conspiracy theories really started with Robert Johnson, a blues musician back in the 30s who believed to have sold his soul to the Devil in order to become a famous star. Since then some people started believeing that there was some kind of evil deity involved in the music industry.

Taken from Wikipedia

According to a legend known to modern blues fans, Robert Johnson was a young black man living on a plantation in rural Mississippi. Branded with a burning desire to become a great blues musician, he was instructed to take his guitar to a crossroad near Dockery Plantation at midnight. There he was met by a large black man (the Devil) who took the guitar and tuned it. After tuning the guitar, the Devil played a few songs and then returned it to Johnson, giving him mastery of the guitar. This was, in effect, a deal with the Devil mirroring the legend of Faust; in exchange Robert Johnson was able to create the blues for which he became famous.

For those of you who don’t know who “rainman” is according to theorists, you can watch the following YouTube Clip:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_1JGuLK8MM

Basically put, whenever artists sing about letting it “rain” or the “rainman” they say that they are singing about the devil. They believe that the devil gives fame and glory to the artists as long as they subject to him and sing about things that the whole cult (music industry figures) want them to. They also analyze the messages of lyrics, but alot of artists have sang about the illuminati and the new world order. You can watch the following youtube clip to hear some of these songs:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DikoLMfnEgE&feature=related

And of course, there are also incidents where artists publicly admit that they’ve sold their soul to the devil:

Katy Perry, Kanye West, Eminem, Snoop Dogg – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8MTaltXEuQ

Jay-Z’s public address on the radio to people accusing him of being apart of the illuminati – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFDVW2xhWco (Start at 25 seconds)

Alot of people these days (especially those who are concerned about theories of an upcoming apocalypse such as 2012, etc.) are really concerned with the “evil” or immoral matters that are brought to our attention today. There was always a great problem with parents and music that was exposed to their children. In a way, some artists do cater to that concern and do write more “clean” and acceptable music (example: The Jonas Brothers). But it is only a matter of time before kids turn on the radio and listen to a song like “Rude Boy” by Rihanna – a song which is obviously talking about a girl’s sexual agression towards a boy.

Due to alot of “tasteless” songs that are being put on the radio, people turn to the fact that everyone in the music industry are the devil’s minions, trying to take control of people by sending subliminal messages of immorality (such as sex, violence and lyrics that absolutely makes no sense and has no value in them). In all, I do believe that this is only a way for people to understand why our society has “dumbed-down” and almost like a critique on our musical culture today.

The conspiracy theory of the illuminati has sparked a very interesting thing, which is that alot of believers address this issue and they search for answers or clues in the lyrics and music videos. In a way I feel that alot of people DO pay attention to the lyrics of a song or the music video now a days, so why is it that the producers are still feeding us alot of “garbage” songs with lyrics that absolutely makes no sense?

The way we listen to music now is alot different from the way people listen to music before. Back in the time periods before the invention of instruments, the only type of music that was available were Gregorian Chants (vocal chanting) where monks would chant everyday -and literally all day long- in the church.  If you wanted to hear music back then, it was in the form of vocal music such as a mass with sacred text that belongs to the church, or if you wanted to hear Bach’s works you had to literally walk miles and miles to a church to hear him perform on the organ. Music back then was heavily associated with the church and even back then the church banned the use of diminished chords, tritones and ending a piece in a minor chord because they believed that it was the chord of the devil. Major chords was associated with the chord of God, representing good and triumph (hence why many people associate major chords today as “happy” or “good” and minor chords as “sad” or “evil”).

Today, we listen to music for alot of reasons other than for church. We listen to it because it is a form of entertainment (like a song with a good beat that makes us want to dance), we listen to it for pleasure (it makes us feel happy), we listen to it for inspiration (because it gets us through the day or it’s “relaxing”; so we can inspire ourselves to write our own). Therefore, I feel that the whole illuminati craze is overly exaggerated. Yes, I agree there are a bunch of music out there that’s not even worth my time listening to, however, they forget that there are also alot of music out there that really helps people by the ways I’ve mentioned above. Like Anda has said, these theorists are so quick to judge music and claim that they are the work of the devil, but how about the songs that sing about love and unity? Shouldn’t they say that songs such as those are really inspired by God (or Goodness)?

I also agree with a good point that Roland has made in class, that the answer to why such “distasteful” music is made today is because alot of people aren’t educated enough about music. We listen to a song and we are attracted to it and if we were given the proper understanding of why it is so appealing to us (musically) we can learn to appreciate the music more. At the same time, the music that is being produced is made because producers or song writers believe that this is the type of music people will like to listen to, but I think they are underestiminating some of us in that we DO know what’s bad and those that have some sort of value in them.

Journal Entry #5: MTV and Technology

In order to understand Music Television, we must understand the uses of the Television as a medium at home. Television, unlike going to a theatre and watching a movie, was about glancing compared to where movies were about gazing into a big screen in a dark room. Music Television, back when I remembered it, was a way for me to be able to listen to music at home with the TV on while I was doing something else. The idea of glancing is that MTV provided a way of background music around the house while people were doing chores or whatever it is. And because music videos don’t require a massive amount of focus like watching a movie, we are able to glance over and catch bits of images while the song was playing. It was also a way for artists to create visual elements to accompany their music and it was always part of social culture where people would ask me “Hey did you see so-and-so’s music video?”

Through music television, people were able to identify artists through their musical creations and also visual creations. An example of this would be some of Evanescence’s videos, where some of it regarded more “dark/gothic” subject matters. Sometimes the music video would show a visual story while the music took over as a type of narration – but that was how Amy Lee was able to project the image she wanted people to associate with her. She was not the typical pop singer but rather a more dark and more rock-like female singer that touched on subject matters such as depression and loneliness. For most artists, MTV provided a way for artists to create visual art that was based on their music. The idea of incorporating music and visual narratives were all made possible by the creation of music television and it also made artist promotions possible.

Millard touched upon many new technologies that significantly changed our culture and way of watching and listening. An example would be how Television has changed since the 50s where television was a way of uniting a nuclear family in the living room to TV stoves for stay-at-home housewives, to plasma, hi-definition and now using the itouch or iphone as a portable handheld TV. New technologies would surpass older ones and old mediums needed to re-invent themselves. And now, digital technology has made it possible for people to download or stream songs and videos via the internet. This, however, has brought different types of media that isolated to the individual in my opinion. Music, back in the earliest days of western art music, was heard in a community setting where individuals came together for it in order to hear a performance. Now, music has come to the individual where we are able to simply turn on our ipods, plug in our earphones and we are already in our own world. I believe this type of technological advancement has caused people to isolate themselves where music and movies is about an individual experience rather than a group experience. In my opinion, I appreciate live performances more because we are able to experience it with a group of people where we can offer feedback and have some kind of interaction. Recorded music on the other hand becomes less authentic as we are able to play it back the same way, over and over, through a new technology / medium. However, there are also most positive aspects of new technology in that we are able to take it anywhere with us because it is convenient and portable. Therefore, new technologies make it easily available (to some extent) to more people and music becomes more intimate and involved in our daily lives.


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