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ghost of miles

Does it matter whether we own music?

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Interesting video opinion piece from Ted Gioia (even though I’m a 20th-century curmudgeon and dislike no-print-version-option things like this):

 

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I found myself staring at his hands - especially his frequent reverse-paddlewheel.

Overall, yes, I do agree with his point.  But he's looking at it from a music preservation point of view.  I think it's important to support the industry in order to make sure the music creation ecosystem is continued.  If people don't foresee a career where they can make money writing and performing music, they're going to go into other lines of work.

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So this is Ted Gioia in person ... nice to be able to put a face to a name.
I am glad I OWN the music to be able to play the soundtrack to his Swing to Bop and West Coast Jazz books - to me, two of the bestest jazz books I have in my collection.

 

37 minutes ago, mjzee said:

I found myself staring at his hands - especially his frequent reverse-paddlewheel.

Overall, yes, I do agree with his point.  But he's looking at it from a music preservation point of view.  I think it's important to support the industry in order to make sure the music creation ecosystem is continued.  If people don't foresee a career where they can make money writing and performing music, they're going to go into other lines of work.

I LISTENED to his talk while editing some Word file. So no paddlewheeling here.:P

As for what he said - spot on IMO , and I think others said it before in some other thread here re-ongoing availability of items you want via streaming and downloading. Aside from all desires to own the PHYSICAL product, market forces about focusing on the big and most profitable sellers being what they are, relying on online availability might very much slim the offering down eventually and destroy awareness of what there is and was out there - both for collecting/preserving and for creating exposure to newer artists.

 

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With respect to Mr. Gioia constantly moving his hands, that's generally a means of pacing a presentation.  Think of it like a conductor leading an orchestra.  

As to the content, I think he makes some good points.  Music today is a disposable commodity and a reflection of both its quality as well as the needs of an audience that's really only interested in keeping up with what's current and considered "cool".  Folks like us who have massive collections of not just jazz, but all different kinds of music are throwbacks.  The day may come when we or our collections fill the role of the preservationists who kept early blues and regional music alive so the rest of us could enjoy it 60-70 years down the road.  Then, there's the question of audio quality which Ted chooses not to address.  Most people just want to listen and many times it's nothing more than background...like the soundtrack to your life...heard but not really heard.  Bottom line, who really cares anymore about high-end sound reproduction? 

I think what's happening now is as much a function of the environment and what need music is fulfilling as it is the quality of the music itself.  Relatively few people sit down with the sole purpose of listening and, I'm sorry to say a lot of those people are us.  I know it's me.  

Oh, more thing.  I don't know about you but i'm glad I no longer have to guess about how to pronounce Gioia.  

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51 minutes ago, Dave James said:

Oh, more thing.  I don't know about you but i'm glad I no longer have to guess about how to pronounce Gioia.  

Yes, I had been wondering too ("Chi-oya" as in "Chi-nese" was my guess as I think this would be the ITALIAN pronounciation). Now I know it is "Joya", as in "Sherrill". ^_^

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I don't stream very much, but I have downloaded a lot of music.  I appreciate great music, and maybe it was greater in the past because of the care and attention it received.  Years back I never really collected Lee Morgan and Hank Mobley, but now I have through downloading.  But maybe I would have left them pretty neglected had I not earlier been a collector of tangible Blue Note classics.

The stuff on the hard drive of my computer...I wonder if it's really there, I wonder it if it will mysteriously vanish.  I know I forget about a lot of the albums/tracks I have downloaded.

 

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Good talk though I don't  entirely agree with everything he says.  He's right about collectors but in the old days collectors tended to guard their holdings jealously-- if you wanted to hear something you had to be a friend of the collector.  That attitude seems to have changed: now music and films that were once very difficult to find are being posted on YouTube.  And even if YouTube goes down I think collectors will find other ways to make their findings public. 

 

I used to pose the question  that if everything was available on line do I really need to own books, cds or DVDs?  (And I own way too many.)  I thought that this was a hypothetical  question but now it may happen in my lifetime (I never thought driverless cars would happen in my life time either but if I manage to stay alive a few more years.....).  

 

And speaking of such things there  was a time when Steven Lasker would probably have kept his discovery of the earliest known Duke Ellington broadcast to himself and his friends but now...:

 

 

 

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My wife thinks I "own" way too much music.

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He says he's unscripted, but maybe not completely? Sure sounds like a prepared talk to me.

I get some red flags when he talks about publishing giving musicians a good source of income. And then how he talks about collectors as owners. So what ownership is he tralking about, the ownership of the intellectual property or the ownership of the physical reproductions of that property. Maybe those are two sides of the same coin, but if I call heads and it lands tails, I don't kinda win the coin-toss because, oh well, it's still the same coin.

At some point....Public Domain laws have to come into this. I'm no fan of generically written laws that paint all aged property as worthy of the same color on the same brush, but I still can't tell if he's arguing to save the business or save the music. Again, two sides of the same coin, but only perhaps. We're still pretty embryonic about artists owning product as well as the means of distribution, and the old school gonna hold on to whatever turnips have even a drop of blood left in them, because that's all they know. None of this current-state is sustainable, but I guess the dinosaurs died slowly as well as surely.

One more thing - how sure are we the indefinite "preservation" is a desirable thing, as the mode of preservation continues to move from transmission of idea to force-feeding literal reproduction? It seems like the longer we go with wanting reproduction, the less of an appetite we develop for interpretation (or re-interpretation). Movies mostly suck, music mostly sucks, everything mostly sucks, it's either a tantrum of disaffection or some kind of tribute in the form of reference, not culture, but mass hypnosis/brainwashing about what it "means to be____". Enough of that, please!

Oral traditions is not really encouraged as things unto themselves, they've at best viewed as fodder for more literal statements. At some point, if a hard drive gets two full, it slows down, and, at some point, just stops working altogether. I'm thinking that "culture" is doing that today. Yes, it would be a terrible thing to lose all of that history, but it would be even more terrible, imo, if we became incapable of looking forward without being able to only see backward.

Sure, no sense in reinventing the wheel, but - what if we get so hung up on the wheel that it blinds us to the possibility of something even better? And also, is it possible that the energy from inventing something and then refining it is a lot more...wholesome/energizing/positive than is the process of then controlling it and seeking to "own" it long after that thrill is gone?

The only real "problem" with "ownership" is the concept itself. A noble owner, imo, sees their function to be as much steward/shepherd as asset holder/controller. Always fluid, not fixed forever.

Joya-head08.jpg

ernie-kovacs-theres-a-standard-formula-f

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4 hours ago, medjuck said:

Good talk though I don't  entirely agree with everything he says.  He's right about collectors but in the old days collectors tended to guard their holdings jealously-- if you wanted to hear something you had to be a friend of the collector.  That attitude seems to have changed: now music and films that were once very difficult to find are being posted on YouTube.  And even if YouTube goes down I think collectors will find other ways to make their findings public. 

 

I used to pose the question  that if everything was available on line do I really need to own books, cds or DVDs?  (And I own way too many.)  I thought that this was a hypothetical  question but now it may happen in my lifetime (I never thought driverless cars would happen in my life time either but if I manage to stay alive a few more years.....).  

 

And speaking of such things there  was a time when Steven Lasker would probably have kept his discovery of the earliest known Duke Ellington broadcast to himself and his friends but now...:

 

 

 

Sadly I've discovered many times I really need to check something out it is not readily available for me. Sure you can find your Kind of Blues and A Love Supremes on youtube but what if you need to hear this rare Japanese or Finnish release from yesteryear? And stuff that's on youtube today might not be there tomorrow, maybe because it violated the copyrights, maybe because the guy who uploaded in the first place deleted their account.

Just can't rely on online sources; you can only make sure you got the music if you got the disc, file, whatever.

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Pretty much unless and until a new system of power type happens that renders current (no pun intended) electricity unusable, it's pretty much on us to find what we find and to keep it in some kind of playable form, so that if your kids don't want to just junk it all when you die, it can maybe find a new appreciative home. And don't worry about finding/preserving "everything", nothing will "be around" forever, nor should it be, that is not natural and it is really kind of perverse to try to make it be.

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I would say that a physical book will last longer in terms of being readable over any kind of musical recording being listenable.

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I just got around to watching the whole video.  Interesting stuff on Netflix, as well as some many other things.  Good final line: "If we are just going to borrow music, music itself may be on borrowed time." 

But in a sense I think we are in a good state in terms of preservation.  Go to YouTube Music and see what's available in Jelly Roll Morton or Fats Waller or early Roy Eldridge. I submit you will find much more of this music that you could find back in the day browsing through even the most specialized record shops. 

 

 

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9 hours ago, JSngry said:

519x3QR9CsL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

 

 

Sh.t .. you're right .. and serves me right for having fluffed that one by not looking closer. Credit to whom credit is due. I bow my head in shame ... smilie_verl_027.gif

6 hours ago, JSngry said:

Pretty much unless and until a new system of power type happens that renders current (no pun intended) electricity unusable, it's pretty much on us to find what we find and to keep it in some kind of playable form, so that if your kids don't want to just junk it all when you die, it can maybe find a new appreciative home. And don't worry about finding/preserving "everything", nothing will "be around" forever, nor should it be, that is not natural and it is really kind of perverse to try to make it be.

People being what they are, I'd guess that as soon as there is a discernible trend that might render "current electricity unusable" there will be enterprising individuals or businesses out there to occupy that niche market of coming up with "adaptations" that make all this work again.

I like the idea of preserving physical copies of the music not so much as owners but as "guardians" in the long run. No doubt many diehard collectors (even in many other fields of collecting) see themselves in that role. Besides, if you look closer (at whatever is collectible), a lot is passed on from one collector/guardian generation to the next. Not everything gets thrown out by the heirs, and not all of those collectors sit on what they got just like setting hens.

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The website of a German weekly has a talk between a prominent German rock musician and Bear Family founder Richard Weize on exactly this topic of online availability of "all" music at your fingertips today.

Unfortunately it is behind a paywall so for now I cannot comment further but the title of it all sums it up IMO: "Spotify has no soul".

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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15 hours ago, Milestones said:

Wives in general have that attitude!

As do extended family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and almost everyone else in the other 99.999% of the population.  And we will think all of them have/do too much of something.   I'm thankful to have a wife who is accepting and even somewhat encouraging of my music collection.

Edited by felser

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19 hours ago, jlhoots said:

My wife thinks I "own" way too much music.

You're not alone. "Why do you need to have 12 take of Charlie Parker playing Star Eyes?" 

I think music needs to be own by collectors. Large corporations only push what they feel will make money. The rest in put in faults. This reminds me of the last scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark when the Ark is put in storage in some warehouse. For me, I've personally created a cloud to store all my music. My only vice in this world is I collect jazz and blues music, and a lot of it. Why so much? Because it may not be around next year. I watch the YouYube video. He mentioned about films and outlets like Netflix pushing what is recent. Around this time last year there were a number of Abbott and Costello films on Netflix. Today none. There is a category called vintage films on Netflix. 6 films pre-1970. Wow. Music is the same. Then there's a question then arises for collectors. What will become of your collection when you are gone? 

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My wife's response is often "Why haven't you placed this CD for me?" My music library is in a separate basement room and I don't usually leave many CDs on the other two levels of our house.

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It sounds like Netflix really sucks.  I don't really use it, but my wife does (there's wives again).  I would have to think there are several other services out there that provide classic movies.  I know I've been meaning to watch All My Sons (with Edward G. Robinson) for some now on YouTube.

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4 hours ago, felser said:

I'm thankful to have a wife who is accepting and even somewhat encouraging of my music collection.

Me too. I'm lucky that way.

 

Regarding the video: I was a bit surprised that Gioia focused exclusively monetary/economic angle when it comes to ownership.  I think there's another type of ownership that's less tangible, but perhaps just as important.  Gioia focuses on the music-makers -- the musicians, publishers, and music-business people.  What about the people at the other end of the economic equation: the music listeners/consumers? 

When I make a (literal) investment in a something, I'm more likely to ascribe personal value to it, more likely to make a (figurative) psychological investment in it.  In other words, one of the reasons that our culture values music less is simply because individuals don't have to pay for it.  Think of it this way: If I plop down $18 for a new CD, I'm MUCH more likely to listen to it carefully with my full attention.  As a result -- in the end -- I'm more likely to integrate the music into my life, making it part of my everyday "psychological furniture."  I also think this is one of the (many!) reasons why music has become much less central in the lives of young people than it was up until the beginnings of music being ubiquitous and free via the Web. It seems like the idea of music being central to a person's identity is far less common now. When I started collecting -- and even up to today -- the music that's in my collection is somehow (figuratively) a reflection of who I am and (literally) what I value. But I don't think young people look at music that way any more.

Last thought: Even if I'm more likely to see things this way (because I'm a collector and because I like the idea of a music library), the economic principle still applies. Amazon.com knows that I'm more likely to rate a CD or book higher AFTER I've purchased it. So, if the music is free, there's an economic loss taking place on the part of the musician and record companies -- but there's also a corresponding (less tangible) loss on the part of the people who are (or aren't) listening to it.

I guess what I'm saying is that this is the psychology behind the economic principle of scarcity.  If gold were ubiquitous, it wouldn't be gold.

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All well said.

But I have to say I greatly value much stuff that I've downloaded, though precisely because it used to be rare.  For example, almost everything I have by the Great Jazz Trio is in download digital format, and I have quite a few of John Abercrombie's records (especially earlier ones) as downloads.  There were hard-to-impossible to find as records/CD's, and even if found they were cost prohibitive.  Now such material is easily available for downloading, and at remarkably low cost.

 

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19 minutes ago, Milestones said:

It sounds like Netflix really sucks.

No, not at all. They get a lot of my viewing time. But they're not really "doing" movies as much as they are original programming. And htey're doing a lot of it. Some of it is pretty good.

fwiw, Amazon Prime has a fun group of public domain B movies (some of which are quite entertaining and well done, actually) that are free with Prime membership. There's also some that aren't free. I'd not consider this a repository or anything, god knows, it could be gone in a flash, but it is an option. I've been going through 3-5 a week now and still have over 75 in my watch list. Prime also has some older stuff that is not public domain, and you can watch it for 2.99 and up.

At some point, though, stuff will be discarded, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Not everything that gets lost is a "forgotten gem". Some of it is just not particularly worthy of keeping becuase it's not really good. All those blogs that were around a few years ago, they would have all these old records that everybody had forgotten about and I'd download them and then listen and a LOT of times my response would be, well hell, no wonder nobody remembers this, it's nothing to remember.

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5 minutes ago, JSngry said:

All those blogs that were around a few years ago, they would have all these old records that everybody had forgotten about and I'd download them and then listen and a LOT of times my response would be, well hell, no wonder nobody remembers this, it's nothing to remember.

Very, very true. Most of the stuff gets made at any time is going to be mediocre or worse. 

But, every so often, you hit on something that the "culture at large" (however fuzzy that may be) has forgotten (or never really picked up on in the first place) -- and there's no good reason for it, other than extra-musical factors. In those cases, the music can be good. Maybe even DAMN good.

That's fun.

 

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Oh, I've got gajilliboogle bytes of it, I know it's fun.

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