Music in 2011 PT1 -The Internet-


Whats up everybody? Aries here. I’m gonna take a crack at the blog thing. First off, for any of you all that don’t know me or aren’t familiar with my work, I’m a Beat Maker, Musician/ Producer, Engineer of Music. I’m also an avid poet/emcee that doesn’t choose to make “Rap Album’s”. I’m more of a freestyle/write when i need to, type artist, when it comes to lyric’s and poetry. I’m currently residing in Regina, Saskatchewan. That’s in Canada, and yes i like Canadian Bacon, Maple Syrup and wear a Touque in the winter and say Ehhh a lot. But for the record, A Hoody is a Hoody..NOT a “Bunnyhug”, and us Canadians do not live in igloo’s or none of that. In fact our country is beautiful through all 4 seasons, and we are all blessed as Canadian’s to have such a diverse country of different landscapes from oceans and mountains to field’s and Prairie’s.

Anyway, enough about me, and Canada…Lets talk about MUSIC.

I’ve been having a lot of great conversations with a lot of great people over the years about music. Not just music as a art form, but music as a business. And I will start by saying that Ive never really been very fond of the business side of it. I’m certainly an Artist before a Business Man. I started making music in a different day and age compared to how music and the business are today. When i started making music there was no internet. There was no Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, and so on. Artists that were then considered “underground” or local to their city or town, and often couldn’t break outside of that local stigma unless they toured. That same stigma still exists for millions of artist’s today as well, but the main game changer was obviously the Internet.

The Internet didn’t only change the game for artists. But it changed the game for Music in general. Remember when you used to wait for new albums to come out on Tape or Cd and were so excited to open them up and read the linear notes and see the artwork/track list? I do. Then all of the sudden the death of music forms as we know them started to change and evolve into what we have now. The wonderful yet wonderfully horrible sounding MP3 file. I’m not a huge fan of an mp3 that’s compressed lower than 320 kbps. These days most Radio stations play 320 kbps Mp3’s on Air. Most normal sets of ears will find it hard to determine the sound quality loss between a 24 bit .Wav file and the then downgraded .Mp3. Mp3’s are made by Compressing Standard audio. A studio quality song will be exported from studio’s in 24 bit .Wav format. In the case of Cd’s, the downgrade wasn’t as bad as Mp3’s as it was only taken from 24bit to 16 bit .Wav format. All Cd’s are 16 Bit .Wav quality audio. To sum it up without getting all nerdy and technical on you all, There is a lot of quality lost during the Compressing of that .wav file as it gets tuned into a mp3. A lot of rappers/emcee’s make the mistake of buying beats off people in .Mp3 format and then trying to record on them. You cant expect your song to sound good if you recording vocals on top of an already mixed piece of audio. Ive had to explain this too many many clients of mine that show up to record at my studio with their disk full of .mp3’s that they got off sound click, Or from their buddy or beat maker that doesn’t understand everything I’m about to explain in simplest terms.
For people that don’t understand how recording audio works, a song can be anywhere from 10 to 50 to 100 tracks or more depending on your studio capability. I’d say my average session is around 15 to 30 tracks for hip hop sessions. The beat will usually take up 8 to 10 on it’s own (individual tracks for Kick/Snare/hats/cymbals/Toms/instruments etc) and then Vocals and Aux tracks for bus’s/sends. In the Bigger Hd studio’s a lot of tracks are used for layering and aux tracks for sending instruments and vocals and drums to mix bus’s. This just means that, say you have 20 vocal tracks and you want 5 out of 20 of them to have the same Reverb applied. You would then send the 5 tracks you want effected to an Aux track witch you created called “Reverb”. An Aux track is just a blank track where you can add whatever you like. Sending just means that those 5 tracks are now running through another track before running through the Master Stereo Bus and out of your speakers. So to make yet another long story short. Music is in a completely different form in the studio and sounds a lot better there than in any form that has been created to sell it. All of those studio tracks mixed together as one, come out your speakers through a Stereo Master Bus. We can all bounce songs in 24 bit 44100 .Wav , but the only way to actually sell it in that original form is on the internet through a few different digital music sites. .Mp3’s are smaller files than .Wav by excessive numbers. Which is why .Mp3 are the most widely used file type in uploading/downloading. Mp3 upload and download fast because there’s nothing to them. Wav file’s are huge files and take a lot longer to upload/download. Anyway for most people that aren’t up on audio, you might be scratching your head right now asking “what does this all mean”. It means that there’s certain good ways to download music and then there’s not so good ways. Stay away from 96 and 128 kbps Mp3’s. Most places you download from will tell you or ask you witch file type you would prefer to download in. If .Wav is an option, always choose that. If your going Mp3, always choose 256 kbps or higher. Like i said earlier, 320kbps is the best sounding Mp3.

So now that you know about some of that audio stuff, how did the Internet and Computers change the Music game for Artists???

Well its been good for millions and equally bad for millions. Lets start with the good things.
1. Artists are no longer limited as to their listening audience. The Internet has opened up the door for all of us to spread our music to all corners of the earth, without actually going there or being there. There’s many sites out there for aspiring artists like Myspace, Reverbnation, Soundcloud etc. These are all sites that are free to join free to upload and share your music with the world. You can also sell you music digitally through most of them, and all of them work great for networking and building fan bases online.
2. Artists can communicate a lot better now as well. Not only with social networks, but working with artists in other cities and countries has become very easy with the internet. Some sites have built in multi track recording screens so artists in all different places can take the session, add to it and send it back with their tracks added. And of course there’s just uploading sessions and files and being able to send them digitally through email or upload client’s such as You send it, Hulk share, Z-share, Drop box etc…

3. Everyone can Record and Produce Studio quality music right in their bedroom with the right equipment. You can get yourself into a decent recording setup for your house for under $3000 these days. Some people do it with way less than that…some people (like myself) spend way more than that. But i mean for a decent D.A.W (Digital Audio Work Station) like Avid’s Pro Tools or Apple’s Logic your gonna spend a $400 to $800 depending what you buy…you also need a half decent computer and sound interface to go along with it (in some cases). Then, basically just a microphone.

Now a few not so good things…

1. Downloading FREE music. We’ve all done it, and if you really haven’t, i commend you. It’s so easy to download music these days. This is the reason we are seeing long time record companies going out of business. Programs like lime-wire and Soul Seek are out there making it harder and harder for artists to sell music. All it takes is for one person to buy a copy of a album, rip it to their computer, store it in their “Shared” music folder witch they use on these sites. And BOOM, anyone using Lime Wire can then go in their folder and take your music for free. There’s also the whole world of BLOGS. A good example would be someone with a blog buying my album. Deciding they want to feature it on their blog and make it a free download. All they have to do is upload it to a sharing server and post the link. They bought that 1 copy but then in turn give away many free copies of something that isn’t their. Jon Lennon said it best when he said “Nobody Owns Music” His meaning of that went way deeper than what I’m talking about, but it was along the same Idea. 1 year ago after releasing my newest Album, i encountered these problems first hand and couldn’t really do anything about it unless i wanted to pay to have the internet police go around and shut down all the blog posts and stuff. Most artists don’t bother with doing that because its kind of like fighting a losing battle. The internet is huge and it would be hard to keep up to all the blogs, torrents etc. Were slowly starting to see Tv and Movies get as bad as music. You can basically go watch most cable Tv shows and movies for free now by streaming them. (watching online for free). Anyway, Music being offered in digital files changed everything for record sales and music in general.

2.Bigger Recording studio’s have also seen better days due to my comments above about the “basement/bedroom” studio’s. Even Professional famous artists are setting up their own home studio’s and saying no to paying the high prices of studio time in a huge facility…

Anyway, I’m gonna leave this post at that for now. I know there’s probably some grammar errors in here left and right but if its spelled wrong its meant to be that way!!!(This is what the internet has done to me)haha. And i make music, i just type blog posts for fun…Anyway if you have any questions or want to add to anything I’ve mentioned here feel free to comment or message me.

I will be back again soon with Part 2 of “Music in 2011” where i will get into the genre’s…Pop Music vs the world and what i think the differences are between Rap and Hip Hop…You wont want to miss that one…

thanks for reading!!
Til Next time…
Bless!
Aries


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