You Can Drive My Car
I'm surprised that none of Robert Porembski's students tried toextend his analogy to its illogical conclusion (October 2001“Feedback”). If he'd asked for my keys (MP3s of songs I'vewritten), I'd have said, “No need for the keys, I've got anunlimited supply of cars just like it sitting right here, motorrunning; it's all yours. Take it. Let me know how you like it. It tookme about two hours to make it on a garden-variety PC and a fewperipherals in my bedroom. I borrowed a lot of the parts from otherpeople, but it clones just like the luxury models. It's not a Mercedes,but I guarantee it will get you from point A to point B just like theexpensive models do.
“If you like the car, keep it. I figure, if you like drivingmy car, you like me. Send me whatever you think is fair. Now, I knowsome folks won't drive just any old car: They want a car that tookmonths to make it into an exotic manufacturing laboratory. But I'm hereto tell you that I can make just as good a car at one-thousandth theprice.”
It seems to me that the same artists who are screaming“intellectual property theft” the loudest are the same oneswith the biggest PR budgets to ensure that their songs are in heavyrotation on the hot FM stations and music TV. In other words, they'regiving you a free sample, and the difference in fidelity between youraverage, urban FM/TV audio and your average Napster MP3 is not thatsignificant.
I'm not saying that artists aren't entitled to compensation fortheir efforts, but assigning a monetary value to a lossy copy ofsomething that can be obtained freely is not the way to do it, andNapster replacements are already up and running anyway. Regardless ofwhether they're giving away freebies or not, if Big Music wants to stopthis “theft” of music over the Internet, then they willhave to admit that the value of the music is determined primarily bythe whims of the listener, and not some accountant, or even the artist.What is a song worth? What makes one copy more valuable than another?Is there some algorithm or formula to nail it all down? No, thelisteners decide. If you get too nickel-and-dimey about it, thelistener will definitely take his money elsewhere.
Those Were the Days
What has happened to the music today is a crime! A couple of yearsago, I visited my former record producer Bob Crewe at his home in L.A.We talked about the music that is being recorded today, and he said,“I am very worried about what has happened to the music industry,and what the music that is being created today has turnedinto.”
At that time, he told me that Lauren Hill just did a hip hop versionof his song “Can't Take My Eyes Off of You,” which heoriginally produced for Frankie Valli. Just yesterday, while havingdinner in a restaurant with my husband, who is a professional guitarplayer as well as an inventor, we heard the Lauren Hill remake.
Let me say this: The lady has her own style of singing, she is verypretty, but she killed the song. Hip hop just doesn't cut themustard.
I hope that the school systems will bring back the music and startto teach the children of today how to really play an instrument, how toreally sing in the school choir, without wavering and whining their waythrough each note that they attempt to sing.
When I was active as a recording artist and I was in the studiocutting a record, Bob Crewe made sure that I hit every note on thehead, and sang the songs that he wrote for me so that people would hearand remember both the melodies and the lyrics, long after they stoppedplaying on the radio. This was the way it was for me and other artistsat that time.
Although some of the new female artists have good, strong voices,such as Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, etc., if they didn't yodel andwhine their way up and down the scale of notes, I wonder if they couldsing a song straightforward, without cheating to hit the notes righton, one at a time.
Thanks for your honest article. Let's hope that by some miracle, theyounger generations will one day start to make real music again.
I would like to thank you for the heartfelt tribute you gave to BillNisselson (“Current,” August 2001). I've worked as afreelance systems installer for Sound One on and off since 1988. I canhonestly say that Bill always had a wonderful attitude, disposition anda kind word when helping people, whether they were clients or staffmembers. The last time I saw Bill Nisselson was in January 2001 on theelevator while we were going to our jobs on our respective floors. Thepicture you published is exactly how I remember him — smiling,saying, “How ya doin'?” to whoever was on the elevator atthe time. If you have already received letters from the Sound Onestaff, please add mine to the list. He will always be missed and alwaysbe in our hearts.
New York City
Some Folks Do Go Both Ways
I'm wondering if anyone else noticed the two totally oppositeopinions expressed in different sections of the September 2001 issue ofMix?
First, I read Paul D. Lehrman's “Insider Audio” column,which I always enjoy and feel a connection with. He wrote,“Today's underground musical heroes are notsinger/songwriters…they're remixers, rappers and DJs who buildfame by taking other people's creations, slicing and dicing them,ranting and chanting on top of them, or stringing themtogether…Yes, there is craft in this kind of composition, but itpales when compared to the true act of making music.”
Then, flip over to the interview with Dave Pensado. “The ideaof taking a record, putting it on a turntable and creating somethingnew out of that was captivating to me. I truly see no difference in theskill in doing that and the skill in sitting at a piano and playingMozart…in terms of the talent and creativity, I see nodifference.”
I'm not sure why I point it out exactly. Just something fun thatcaught my eye.
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