Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Before The Music Dies

Here at Fack Youk, we take a special pride in melding music with sports. Way back before the season started, I used to label music posts as [Non-Sports] but almost immediately after April rolled around I began dropping musical YouTube clips to help express the anxiousness of waiting for meaningful baseball to be played and by the third game had come up with our signature style of previews which attempt to pair a song with a theme leading into each game. It can be a struggle sometimes, so not every combo is like peanut butter and jelly, but we do our best.

Perhaps out musical tastes don't exactly jive with yours, but one thing that you can count on (especially when Matt writes the previews) is that the song and band choices will be a little off the beaten path. Perhaps it's something old, or fairly new, or something so obscure that we couldn't even find it on YouTube, but it's almost never mainstream. By definition, that means that fewer of you are going to know the songs, but it also means that it's more likely that we are opening you up to something you've never heard before.

Matt and I are clearly both hardcore music enthusiasts and a big reason for that level of appreciation is that, at a certain point, we realized that there was more to music than MTV and the radio.

As such, we would like to extend our highest level of recommendation to the documentary below called "Before the Music Dies". It's a fascinating exploration into how the corporatization of the music business and the search for hit singles has made it almost impossible for unique new artists to come into their own through the traditional channels of record labels and radio airplay. In short, it helps to explain why radio is so redundant regardless of where you go and contemporary popular music is generally so shitty.

At the same time, it looks at the advent of the internet and file sharing and how those things have undermined the way consumers are force-fed popular music through a limited number of mediums. In the post-Napster landscape, consumers are free to explore what they like through YouTube, MySpace, BitTorrent and countless other alternatives to Clear Channel radio stations and MTV. The only problem is that the revenue streams have yet to catch up and while this is bad for the labels, it's worse for the artists.

The film features musicians and bands that we have talked about on this blog such as Les Paul, Eric Clapton, The North Mississippi All Stars, Widespread Panic, Doyle Bramhall II along with many others. If you've got an hour and a half to kill tonight or some other time when the Yanks aren't on, this is a great way to spend it. Either way, we'll be back tomorrow.

*I first saw this movie via the blog Pigeons and Planes which provides a steady stream of downloadable new music from a whole bunch of genres. Highly recommended as well.

1 comment:

  1. I actually saw a screening of this film at NYU way back in 2006 and thought it was pretty awesome. Two things they don't really touch on are the fact that more bands (jam bands in particular) build up a following and make money by touring than ever before. The other one which you mentioned but they didn't is BitTorrent. These sites are so much more sophisticated and complete than Napster or Kazaa ever were. It cuts both ways because they make bands far more popular but aren't generating any money for them. All very interesting stuff and I would second the recommendation wholeheartedly.