Maybe this is off topic but have a look at this cover of a Gaga track some Swedish music students made for fun:
Now, how much better is this on all levels than the original? Does it matter that the sound is not professional master quality?
I love one of the comments for this clip: "Lady Gaga just made an awful cover of this song..."
And here, embarrassing Justin Bieber:
Showing up Adele:
I'm sure the industry will eventually turn also this into a money-making mainstream machine. But so far I'm enjoying the complete reversal of the formula "Crap-Artist-Making-Terrible-Cover-Of-Great-Song". These guys operate according to the formula "Great-Musicians-Making-Great-Cover-Of-Crap-Song". Who the hell wants to listen to the original?
And here's what Steve Lukather had to say about Dirty Loops:
"This destroyed me. I LOVE it! THESE guys should be #1 across the world. Music would be a better place with cats at THIS level. I would LOVE to contact them just to say thanks for SOMEONE raising the bar as opposed to falling underneath it! haha"
Steve Lukather about Dirty Loops on his Facebook wall.
Last edited by Serpentarius; 06-15-2012 at 03:03 AM.
Whenever one agrees with the majority it's time to stop and think. Mark Twain
Before you counter that by saying "supply & demand", think about it: did the public really demand CDs in place of LPs? As far as I remember people were satisfied with LPs. The industry wasn't satisfied with LPs because they wanted to sell the same product all over again. (Check out the concept of Planned Obsolescence.) So they supplied the CD and made sure people believed it to be better than the LP, by spending millions in propaganda, i.e. "public relations". Once again, those sticking to LPs were in the absolute minority, but they were right.
CDs are also cheaper to manufacture and distribute than LPs. Selling new players was also a good business. The industry isn't quality driven, but money driven. Mp3 has won over SACD or any other high definition format. Because physical media are becoming obsolete, there is a place for high definition digital delivery. I hope so.
People don't really sit and listen to music anymore. They use it as a wall paper for their lives. Here in a college town I see students walking down the sidewalks with an ear bud in one ear, a cell phone glued to the other ear and talking to their friends at the same time. Talk about multitasking. When I was growing up music was something you made time for. You listened to it on your stereo and you listened to the whole sides of records. Today people listen to a couple of bars of music on their IPODs and then go to the next song. In many cases music has become the background noise source for what else they are doing. It has also gotten so cheap (read free) it has lost all value. I have one friend that has about 200 gigs of MP3s on his hard drive. Even if he did nothing but listen to music for the rest of his life he probably would not be able to listen to all he has downloaded. When Albums cost $6.00 and you were making $.90 an hour you treasured that album and played it until it almost wore out. You knew every lick and every chord by heart. Today young people say they don't care how music sounds. They listen to "their" music for the emotions it brings them or the words or both. Listening to MP3 is like eating half cooked food or food that is beyond its prime but many young people living today don't really know what good sound is all about. They don't have a stereo system they listen on ear buds or their computer speakers to MP3s with the bass on the sub-woofer turned up to 11 and think they are listening to music.
My 18 year old niece listens to "her" music at earsplitting levels on her computer speaker or ear buds and with the bass and treble controls all the way to the right and she says that it sounds good to her. I have mentioned more than once the idea of hearing loss before she is 21 but she really doesn't seem to care what will happen to her down the road. A lot of kids live for the moment and music is only there to support what else they are doing.
Some of the stuff she listens to is so distorted and messed up me ears get tired with in 20 seconds of the start of the song. She doesn't seem to mind.
Oh well maybe I am showing my age and my bias towards badly played and recorded music.
Last edited by Thomas W. Bethel; 06-15-2012 at 04:52 AM.
Thomas W. Bethel
Acoustik Musik, Ltd.
Room with a View Productions
Oberlin, OH 44074
Celebrating 18 years in the mastering business in 2013
Well, if age and quality goes together then I'm happy going old!
Funny how this has gotten so far off topic... but not a surprise...
Lets get a few facts straight, then maybe we can get back on topic...
The CD wasn't created just to sell the same content over again, it was created as an off shoot of technology advancements and to compete with declining sales due to the advent of cassette tape. You couldn't copy a CD as it was a play only format when it was originally released, and there were no plans to release any systems that would allow a direct digital replication. You could make copies via analog only, and the expectation from within the industry was since it was digital, there would soon be copy protection in place that would be of lesser quality enough to make copies not worth listening to.
Soon after the release of CD's, the computer industry saw a very nice, and CHEAP, storage medium in optical storage and quickly adopted it... as well as companies such as Kodak who adopted the medium as another "proprietary" medium for the imaging industry.
But on the whole, CD's ended up replacing cassettes and eventually, the majority of LP's. The primary reason was not because they were cheaper... they weren't, remember? It was because the general public saw the advantage of portability. You could carry 20 CD's in far less space than even a single album. When writable CD's hit the market, people could easily create personalized music selections with them to listen to at any given time.
On whole, the general public is easily fooled and led like sheep. If you tell them long enough, and loud enough that XXX is better than YYY... guess what??? XXX becomes the truth in a society... even when it isn't. Goebles proved it, and modern advertising is absolute proof. (If it wasn't true, then we wouldn't have the likes of McDonald's, Demopublicans, Republicrats or Berhringer)
The loudness wars aren't the result of mastering engineers not caring. They are the result of a pretty sharp bunch of engineering minds teaming up with advertising types, who fully understand the limitations of FM and television broadcast bandwidth. They figured out that if audio is louder, ads gained more attention for the advertisers... and thus, if you compress the dynamic range of music, it garners the same attention as a hyper compressed advertisement.
If you are in business, your goal MUST be to create a profit. There is NOTHING wrong with that. Without profit, you cannot continue to invest in your business or put anything away for your retirement. So, the average ME (and by default; tracking AE, mixing AE / studio owner ) must, at times, satisfy the client with the checkbook... and at least attempt to comply with the demand to make a client's product as loud as possible... not just for radio and television... but to also be compatible with the same unfortunate situation of the majority of music consumers who are listening to poor quality playback systems... earbuds, empty3 players, computer speakers, and the like.
It used to be that people had limited access to music... you could only experience it if it was performed. Then it was discovered that through technology, there was a means to document that performance, whereby, it could be experienced in another time and place other than the performance venue. The quality was marginal at best, but it was a new and unique experience and strides were made to improve the quality of the recording to make it more believable. From there, we got stereo as an extension of attempting to improve the sonic reality/experience.
Once it was discovered that technology was available for mass communication, AM radio brought music and entertainment to many more people who could not afford to experience live performances, or quality recordings. Strides were taken to improve that technology... and FM was born. From there, technology brought us television, 8 track and cassette... then CD's, and now we have the advent of digital content in the "lossless" formats.
The latter formats being touted as cheaper, smaller and "just as good" as what used to be non-audiophile quality. I remember when it was the norm to anguish over every component in a stereo system to get as good quality gear as one could afford, so as to get as pristine reproduction of the recording as possible.
Now, we (collectively) have succumed to the "cheaper is better" Wal-Mart mentality... because the sheeple have come to believe it through the constant bombardment of the message.
The situation that the DIY musicians are facing, is the reality that quality really doesn't matter to the vast majority... but they are not facing up to the other half of this new paradigm also dictates that not only does the quality matter less, but the support of their music is by definition of "cheaper is better... namely free", that they should not expect to be respected for their creations... as anyone can do it.
So, how does one compensate for this new reality?? By all indications that I'm seeing, is to narrow your market to exposure to appeal to those who will appreciate the creation, and fairly compensate them for it. That little bit of insight should very quickly manifest itself in improving the quality of your finished product, to enhance the value of it... to make it as enjoyable and worthwhile to your supporters.
Just as most profitable businesses are not one man operations, the business of delivering musical products are subject to the same reality. Toyota, Ford, Panasonic or Shure rely upon a team of folks to create their products. Musicians should take the same approach to bringing their product to market, if they intend to be profitable or any type of commercial success.
Sure, minimize your expenses, and attempt to maximize profits and you have a better chance at remaining viable. However, if you consistently deliver a poor live performance, poor quality recordings, etc... your profits will not exist, and just like any other business... you close your doors.
DIY mastering is the same as DIY mixing and tracking.
Until your skills meet the quality standards as set forth by such insignificant things as maximum voltages of a playback system, IM distortion, bandwidth and dynamic headroom, your are unfairly delivering sub par quality product to your clients.
There used to be (and still is for many artists) the reality that the labels didn't like to see the tracking engineer be the mixing engineer, or the mastering engineer or the cutting engineer... they were all different folks. This wasn't to run the cost up... this was to maximize the profits on the investment in the recording - as each new set of ears would have a better chance of keeping the goal of quality at the forefront... and deliver a product that the client would appreciate and support, by giving up some hard earned cash to own.
I recently took a project on, where I had to track, mix and master the project. The client had so little funding, that this was just the way it worked out. It ended up as a decent project and while I'm extremely pleased with the end result, I had to insist that the entire process was to take a much longer time to complete. I had to get away from it long enough between processes to "unlearn" the music... and even then, there was a situation that neither the artist nor I realized that was a problem, until an outside professional listened to the "final" product, and pointed it out to me... which HAD to be corrected before it went to market... all because the same poor SOD (me) ended up doing all of the processes and because of excessive exposure, just blindly overlooked.
So, yes...to get back on topic, IMHO, mastering your own work is the single biggest mistake you can make. That doesn't mean that in the low/no budget DIY world that you must send your work to one of the major ME's in the industry... it just means you'd be smart to not handle every single step of delivering finished product yourself.
In my view if the mix is right then - in terms of improved audio - I don't see what mastering can bring to the table, in fact, for me, when the mix is finished, my expectation of the mastering process is to affect the recording in the least ways possible.
So, you pull the summation sentence of my post, which states that while you can do every single step (of recording, mixing and mastering) yourself, but that it's usually a wise OPTION not to - to draw an entirely opposite meaning of my statement.I recently took a project on, where I had to track, mix and master the project. The client had so little funding, that this was just the way it worked out. It ended up as a decent project and while I'm extremely pleased with the end result, I had to insist that the entire process was to take a much longer time to complete. I had to get away from it long enough between processes to "unlearn" the music... and even then, there was a situation that neither the artist nor I realized that was a problem, until an outside professional listened to the "final" product, and pointed it out to me... which HAD to be corrected before it went to market... all because the same poor SOD (me) ended up doing all of the processes and because of excessive exposure, just blindly overlooked.
Now, it's MY turn to play... so... in your opinion, mastering is a needless step, and isn't anything to be concerned with... If that's the case, then why do software plug ins, and external hardware units even exist to perform this one task... and additionally, why are there mastering engineers and mastering shops... and why have they existed in the production chain since the virtual beginning of the recording industry, if it's some useless step?