|Originally posted by AlphaStarred |
That still happens nowadays, even more frequently than in the last decade, with the relatively recent resurgence of vinyl.
I don't think any classics were made with the artist's aim of making a classic. It just happens sometimes. Most artists, I think, make tracks for themselves, ultimately - having fun and just doing what they want. Some people will like the outcome, some won't - you can't please everybody.
On the contrary, I think the internet and SC actually contributed to the resurgence of vinyl, various old and new styles of electronica, and a host of new artists coming onto the scene. Many of the old record labels' demise had to do with artists no longer producing, or simply taking a new direction in their work, where they would get signed to other labels putting out that sort of style. Therefore I don't think the internet contributed to the demise of such record labels.
As for putting 'good' DJs and artists out of business - there are still plenty of oldschool artists/DJs doing their thing, so if anything, I think the internet contributed to their popularity, rather than the opposite. Of course, there were some pop and rock bands and such that blamed Napster, etc. for their lack of revenue - and this is understandable - but we're talking more about the EDM scene, in which case I don't think it applies as much, especially nowadays.
This is a much bigger conversation.
Firstly, I'll have to disagree in that artists used to make so much more back in the oldschool days from single/EP sales as if you had a hit it was being sold at 6-10quid or $10-$15 a hit and the split with the label was 50-50 and they covered the pressing and distribution costs.
So take a big record like Gamemaster which sold over 10,000 copies on vinyl in the UK (more than it takes to get a no1 on the UK pop chart now) and you realize that Matt darey probably made 20-30k off that track just on it's initial release.
While vinyl may have made a bit of a resurgence it's bonkers to think that the Dance Music numbers are anywhere close to what they were in the 90's. These figures that get thrown about as the resurgence of vinyl are things like Urban Outfitters and HMV selling reissues and current pop/mainstream artists on vinyl like Adele and Lana Del Rey etc.
The internet did change all of it in two major ways. Firstly, the price points of vinyl got destroyed deleting many record stores and making it both much easier to find (due to access) and much harder to find (due to sheer volume) tracks.
The other part was that it permanently lowered the price of music, even through legit outlets such as beatport or Juno. instead of $10 for a ep it's now $2.
That in turn charged the model of record labels. and unless you had a big track, you're not getting paid anything.
People like and as diverse as Tony Humphries, Signum, Rhythm Masters, Timo Maas, Mauro Picottoc used to make a decent living off churning out their signature remixes for a couple of grand a pop, or releasing their own and again making a couple of grand for each release.
Now, you can have a pretty well received digital "hit" and you'll basically never see a penny.
Another thing (and I know I've banged on about this in other threads) was with the rise of the digital only label, a "hard filter" for quality of the music was instantly bypassed:
With it costing nothing to put out a track, any old shit got release, becuase there was no loss if it didn't sell.
With Vinyl, you either had to pay to get it pressed or a label was paying, and if the track was crap, no one in their right mind was going to pony up $1000 for even the lowest pressing amount of 500 copies. It stopped a lot of shit from getting released.
That barrier disappeared and right as this was happening, thing else had been going on (slowly but it started to peak) which was the ease of making music.
At the time of peak vinyl sales in the mid/late 90's, it was virtually unheard of to be able to make a releasable track just on a computer - you needed expensive outboard/midi gear/synths/fx etc.
However, as time went on, it switched from that, to most people making tracks entirely in the box, and in some cases just a crack of Fruity Loops or ableton.
Again, another barrier to quality was removed, so now you have labels with no inhibition of putting out shit content, with people with virtually no musical talent could conceivably make a "track".
Prior to this, you had to spend at least 10K on music equipment, know how to use it or hire an engineer and chances are , you weren't going to do that unless you had musical talent in the first place.
So really what you had was talented people, who had made a long term and expensive commitment putting out music that was filtered by simple cost of distribution factors. It meant great music was getting made and anything less never really saw the light of day.
Why am I going on about this? Because this is why there were so many classics;
There was an actual payout for being a working producer, and those had been heavily invested both in terms of talent, equipment and investment, and then it would only get a release once it made the grade to justify the expense of getting it pressed.
The other factor was that producers spent far longer making a great tack. These days you hear of stories like Laid back luke knocking out tracks in 4 hours straight to release, but people like Chicane and BT have admitted to working on a single track for 4-6 months before it even went to mastering.
I think in the grand scheme of things, that's really what's missing these days. Every so often, someone puts out a labor of love EP or album but on the whole I doubt many producers spend more than a few days on a single track.
The money today is in producing a big gimmicky track that gets instant recognition, that leads to overpaid DJ gigs to the uneducated ADHD masses or maybe licensing for TV, but it's intrinsically disposable and short lived, unlike the music that came before.