Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

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Michael Willis
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Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

Postby Michael Willis » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:26 pm

Here's an interesting article about how instrumental intros in modern pop music tend to be much shorter than those of just a few decades ago:

Has music streaming killed the instrumental intro?

I'm not making pop music, but it makes me consider how I think of intros in my own music.

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Re: Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

Postby CrocoDuck » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:14 pm

From the article:

“Artists and producers are shifting from having their songs as cultural products to having their songs as advertisements for themselves. Your product isn’t necessarily your song, it’s your personal brand,” Léveillé Gauvin said.

“We’re operating in an ‘attention economy,’ and attention is scarce and valuable.”


Maybe it's me being old fashioned, or an over-thinker, or naive... but for me the seemingly unstoppable trend in which every single thing in this world has to be dragged down to the mere state of "good to sell" is depressing and creepy at the same time, especially when it comes to art, as well as human behavior. It's like nothing (and nobody) have a value if it cannot be used to get some slice of a "saturated market pie".
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Re: Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

Postby Michael Willis » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:39 pm

CrocoDuck wrote:Maybe it's me being old fashioned, or an over-thinker, or naive... but for me the seemingly unstoppable trend in which every single thing in this world has to be dragged down to the mere state of "good to sell" is depressing and creepy at the same time, especially when it comes to art, as well as human behavior. It's like nothing (and nobody) have a value if it cannot be used to get some slice of a "saturated market pie".


Right, this is part of why I don't try to make money from music, even though I've had some people suggest I should do it. Also, it's the reason why I frequent smaller musical communities like this with more of a focus on the creation and sharing of music rather than the monetizing of it all. I want music to be something that we share as human beings, not some kind of zero-sum commodity used as a means of competition.

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Re: Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

Postby asbak » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:38 am

Most of the commoditised musictrash being pushed by Corps nowadays is awful.

The reason why is because they figured out that the general public are:

- largely tonedeaf
- are consumerist brand slaves
- react to visual and audio stimulation (no matter what it is or how ridiculous it is) piped through the corporate channels incl. Interwebz like a cat reacts to a laser pointer.

The corporations thus realised that spending tons of money (as was done until early 2000's) trying to whip an average band of hopefuls into marketable shape where they can actually more or less play their instruments and sing in tune (and this is not an easy process) wasn't worth the effort when instead they could get a couple of folks with marginal computer operator skills to crank out beats on the cheap and combine this with the usual plethora of singing underwear starlets or "studio gangster hard men."

The formula works, it sells. The logic cannot be faulted and neither can the business model. The end product is rubbish but that is how the industry works. It caters to lowest common denominator consumers with expendable income. Like it or not, it is much easier and profitable to drag a society down and turn them into drooling morons than it is to build them up into something worthy. Guess which side of this argument the Mega-Corporations are on........

So for people who like and enjoy (real) music, do it because you love it. Not because you expect to make money from it. If you play your cards right there is a (slim) chance that you could actually achieve something (yes it can be done, there are folks out there who pull this off but it's difficult.) Just don't expect to pay the bills with music unless you really know what you're doing.

Get a real day job, do the music on the side and give it your best shot.

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Re: Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

Postby CrocoDuck » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:56 am

The fact that attention span is becoming lower and lower is pretty worrisome to me, especially if inserted in such a commercial loop.

I met a bass teacher who was surprised that young students, increasingly in number, don't know about a nice bass solo in their favorite song (for example). They never listened to it for a longer time than 30s before skipping to something else. This on their favorite song... It is like the only thing they can focus on is the most attention capturing part of it, just the main beat of it, the part that carries whatever turns their brain on from autopilot. This means that they are totally passive listeners.

I have bad feelings about it really. What kind of society is the society in which people are unable to go deep into things, understand them and research them individually, independently? More and more people sort of behave as they have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder even though they are completely neuro-typical. The thing is: if the corporate world can make profit out of this, and keeps proposing products intended to capitalize on attention deficit (for the sake of growing business in turn) this behavior will be artificially selected and saturated, as this is clearly a feedback loop. We could say the same thing about movies. They are more and more just spectacle, no challenging themes, no exploration of points around which one has to think, wrap his head around.

I feel like I am the old grumpy person screaming "back in my days!!!" but really, I have the feeling that reduced attention span and the unwilling to understand things properly, in any field of knowledge, are also the root cause beneath the widespread of weird and dogmatic conspiracy beliefs we are seeing. It is like society is going back to passive acceptance of unproven dogma rather than investing time and efforts understanding things properly.
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Re: Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

Postby sadko4u » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:24 am

I would call it a "Theory of a Crap".
When something is hard to produce, the producer takes an effort to do it better than others. But when technology evolves and there are many ways to do something faster and easier, the final product becomes crappy because... it becomes generalized.

For example, years ago cars were reliable. Their engines could run 500-1000 thounsands of kilometers without huge problems. Yes, they were not cheap and not accessible to everyone but they worked. What's now? Now we get cars that can not run even 150 thousands without complete restoration of the engine. So we are forced to sell the previous & buy new car every 3-4 years. Maybe expensive cars will be more reliable? In fact, not. Moreover, some cars in our country can get serious engine problems even on 5-15 thousands of kilometers. So most of new cars are crap, and this is independent from the cost.

The same things could be said about sound industry. There were too few studios and not everyone could do a recoring of the album. So the audio consumer market felt the deficit. Now everyone can do a recording, even without a studio. So studios are forced to do the product for fast and for cheap. And the most of all problem is... evolved internet technologies. Now you don't need to buy a tape or a CD to listen for a song. Once published the track is accessible to everyone. The consumer market is crowded.

Even in software development... When the consumer market was limited, programs were small, fast and resource-inexpensive. Nowadays we see huge, slow and resource-greedy software.

Now let's see why it's so. Do you remember about three sides of development? I'll call them: "cheap", "quick" and "good". The common experience says, that we can do something quick and good but it will cost a lot. When we do something good and cheap, then, probably, it won't be quick. And, again, if we do something quick and cheap, then probably it won't be good.

Now let's look at the consumer market. It it's crowded and technologies allow to do something quick, then all vendors will use a "quick" method. The crowded consumer market forces the competition between vendors, so vendors are forced to do things "cheap". Here we get the next problem: there is a reasonable low limit of the cheapness but the product should be cheaper than the competitor's one. What will be lowered first? Right, "quality" or "goodness". Also, if a vendor will produce expensive or good things - the product will lay on a market shelf for a long time. In first case because there are cheap ones that "do the same thing", in second case - because "all people already have this thing and don't need new one".

So, cheap, quickly made and non-quality things are good for the producer because there is a stable flow of sells. For consumers it's not true. Yes, there can be quickly made and quality things but they cost more than two previous ones. So we get a market of crap.

Finally,
Market of crap - is the current state of pop music.
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Re: Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

Postby falkTX » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:38 pm

sadko4u wrote:For example, years ago cars were reliable. Their engines could run 500-1000 thounsands of kilometers without huge problems. Yes, they were not cheap and not accessible to everyone but they worked. What's now? Now we get cars that can not run even 150 thousands without complete restoration of the engine. So we are forced to sell the previous & buy new car every 3-4 years. Maybe expensive cars will be more reliable? In fact, not. Moreover, some cars in our country can get serious engine problems even on 5-15 thousands of kilometers. So most of new cars are crap, and this is independent from the cost.


Not to take away anything you said, I agree with you completely, but this about cars is planned obsolescence.
Making physical goods just good enough to last enough, but not too long, so you have to keep buying more shit.

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Re: Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

Postby ssj71 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:53 pm

fwew. Good thing I don't really care about popular music. ;)

I know it affects music in general, but I think there will always be somebody willing to live poor and make great music. Just like there will always be devs willing to write open source software even though there is virtually no monetary gain. Sure I wish more people appreciated it, but there have been many albums released in the last year that I have loved (and they have no sign of shortened intros, most are instrumental :) ). I think eventually the musical pendulum will swing back to more complex music. At least I hope so.
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Re: Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

Postby Gps » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:45 pm

I think this recording is a nice example.

I love that song, but it does not sound good at all. :mrgreen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hce74cEAAaE

I also love house and hip hop. Allot of the modern dance music however, sounds beyond dead to me.

House has to me this funk element, which modern dance music like trance, lags.

House music is a nice example of something nice, that then got commercial.

I would love to make money with my music, I am how ever worried, that if I would get a record deal, they will force me to make pop music.

I feel old typing this, but will we ever get hits like this again ? I am afraid we won't.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OorZcOzNcgE

Now why does every version of child in time, sound a bit different ?
John Lord did not like to play the same thing twice. :P

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfAWReBmxEs ( studio version ? )

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Re: Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

Postby asbak » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:35 pm

What kind of society is the society in which people are unable to go deep into things, understand them and research them individually, independently?


It's called a superficial society and yes, it is breeding and multiplying at an astounding rate.

I too have noticed that every year, people seem to be getting dumber and increasingly dumbed down. Not because they lack intelligence but because they are increasingly being absorbed into a Borg-like common unconsciousness piped to them from their I-Devices, Farcebook and so on.

Tabloid format is taking over in News media. News has moved from old print format to an Instagram-type experience. "News" items and topics ... well, you know what those are going to be already. Even the supposedly "serious" players have their shows and slots filled with subtle and not so subtle product placement advertisements where they constantly push and cross promote certain products on their un-knowing consumer base.

None of this is just randomly happening either. There are hidden agendas being pushed by tycoons, governments and corporations & very clever human behaviour specialists & psychologists to encourage and coerce more and more people into this "life". After all, what could be better for the Overlords than hordes of obedient brand slaves who consume and who don't question.

That's how the game works, and "mobile" is the new Church of the 21'st Century to keep the masses in line and distracted from what is really going on around them.

Their Media shows you everything, yet in reality it shows you nothing except dishonest and deliberate misinterpretations as well as cunning distractions from what is really going on. It is done on purpose to keep people's senses overloaded, in order to keep them in line and to keep them con-su-ming and o-bey-ing.

John Carpenter's classic film "They Live" should really be compulsory education for all students.
Last edited by asbak on Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

Postby Gps » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:46 pm

I am afraid I have to agree.

I always advice people to watch zeit geist.

Money out of thin air.

At least the first 15 min, was very interesting to me.

But most don't seem to care about that either.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EewGMBOB4Gg

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Re: Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

Postby asbak » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:52 pm

Zeitgeist makes some good points initially (the part about money that you mentioned) but later on it becomes downright bizarre.
Unfortunately even a lot of supposed "cautionary documentaries" can be laced with crazy stuff, inaccuracies and deliberate deceptions.

This may sound cynical but there is very little out there worth believing or putting too much trust & faith in. Rely upon yourself and remain very skeptical about messengers & messiahs bringing solutions and "the truth".

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Re: Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

Postby Gps » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:09 pm

We always need to be critical with any documentary.

I have found many more sources about the money part though.

A lot started to make sense to me when I learned, that the people who own the banks also own the news.

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Re: Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

Postby asbak » Fri Dec 01, 2017 7:55 am

Yeah the money part was fairly good. It essentially boils down to "money" (which is usually counterfeit) being magically conjured up by powerful forces who have armies & courts at their disposal and can force the average person to use their counterfeit money.

(Real) money originated as an exchange medium. The money itself was never the actual wealth. The real wealth were things like crops, labour, land, some kind natural resource, manufactured goods or a service that could be traded.

Over time, money was abstracted by banksters to take the place of real wealth and the moneychangers took control of and manipulated this system to benefit them. Today that paper / fiat / electronic money system is increasingly being manipulated by those who control the issuing mechanisms.

And here we are......

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Re: Decline of the instrumental intro in pop music

Postby Lyberta » Fri Dec 01, 2017 9:03 am

sadko4u wrote:Market of crap - is the current state of pop music.


The current state of everything "consumer"-oriented.


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