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  #1  
Old January 22nd, 2011, 04:03 AM
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Default Something else that's wrong with the internet...

...other than piracy.

And this is with respect to music but could also apply to video and I'm talking on-demand streaming, not iRadio (which I'll explain in a minute).

I call it the "20 second rule" (very arbitrary, just made up the term, in fact, but it will suffice for the sake of argument). I've realized this for a while but it just crystallized in my mind a couple days ago.

We can compare and contrast today with the ages of "art media" before the internet. Way back then, people heard music for the first time either on the radio, or if they took a chance and went to a show put on by unfamiliar artistes, or if they heard it in the background at a bar or at a friend's house.

In all cases, they had a sustained experience usually. If they went to a show they were going to stay at least for the first set unless it was just too godawful to bear (since they paid for it).

If they heard it on the radio, they were most likely going to hear most or all of it before they bothered to get up and change the station, and often they would hear it all because it was just on in the background. What's more, the DJ was likely going to spin it a few times before deciding, based on requests or whatever other incentives, to shelve it or keep playing it.

As a result, radio listeners were likely to hear the track several times as they slowly decided whether or not they liked it enough to buy it.

Nowadays there is a very weak link in the chain forged between the internet and potential music buyers, and it is called the left-click button. Unless someone hears the track while they have streaming radio going, they are probably "checking it out" on a home page or on YouTube or MySpace. But they do their checking-out with their hand on the mouse, ready to fire off a fatal bullet at a second's notice, and then move on to the next thing, etc.

My hypothesis is this, though, and here is where the "20 second rule" comes into play: people have incredibly short attention spans while surfing the net (I'm surmising). That means that each new piece of checked-out tunage is hanging by the thread which consists solely of that attention span. The only exception would be if the artist is well known to them already and they are a well established fan.

They aren't going to sit back and let the track play while they wash the dishes or file papers or serve espresso, they are going to wait 20 seconds, let the neurons fire a little (saying either "hey, kinda cool" or "booooring") and then they are going to get an itchy left-clicker finger.

So, if it is accepted that this premise is accurate, one wonders what chance new music, even if "discovered", has of ever passing this first audition with the majority of listeners.

Can any piece of music be that impressive right out of the gate? I think in most cases, this is very hard. In fact, I honestly think most of the music I've ever liked took two or three complete listenings to sink in, and in many cases, once the tune got past that first trial period, I ended up liking it for years and years afterward.

I can't see that happening nearly as much when new music only gets a 20 second hearing.
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Old January 22nd, 2011, 04:24 AM
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Default Re: Something else that's wrong with the internet...

It isn't necessarily the internet's fault.

A&R people wouldn't listen to the whole song. It had better start popping in 15-30 sec.

If a song doesn't grab ya right away, sayonara. Personally, I feel that life is short, and I don't want to be checking my watch waiting for a tedious, too long intro to end.

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Old January 22nd, 2011, 04:35 AM
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Default Re: Something else that's wrong with the internet...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Perry View Post
...but could also apply to video...
Certainly does apply to tv shows.

I've been lucky enough to have worked on a few Childrens tv series...proper budgets...international distribution...the whole shebang...


The producers are aware that kids have a short attention span, so they need something happening on screen or in the soundtrack to keep the kids interested...otherwise the kids will hit the remote and find something else to watch.

























They work on 3 seconds.



Nothing new/interesting for 3 seconds?

Quick...shove in a sound effect or something!



It's brutal out there.

Cheers,
Tim
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Old January 22nd, 2011, 04:59 AM
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Default Re: Something else that's wrong with the internet...

I'm not really talking about tedious intros, though, as those are a compositional mistake anyway, IMHO.

I'm talking about sink-in time. I just don't recall often being really moved by a piece of music the very first time I listened to it. Liked it, yea, but it was often a bit later that I realized---hey, this song is great!.

I'm probably slow, though. No, actually, I'm definitely slow.

But even in the case of loving a piece of music on first listening, you often have to listen to most of it because the first verse/chorus cycle may not even be done by the end of 30 seconds.
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Old January 22nd, 2011, 06:11 PM
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Default Re: Something else that's wrong with the internet...

A lot of the greatest pop records of the '60s were under two minutes and almost everything was under three because a 45's cutting level dropped like a rock as soon as you went past three minutes.

It required great discipline to compose something that was compelling within that amount of time. It had to pop and it needed to inspire people to play it over and over.
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Old January 22nd, 2011, 08:45 PM
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Default Re: Something else that's wrong with the internet...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
A lot of the greatest pop records of the '60s were under two minutes and almost everything was under three because a 45's cutting level dropped like a rock as soon as you went past three minutes.

It required great discipline to compose something that was compelling within that amount of time. It had to pop and it needed to inspire people to play it over and over.
Not to mention those songs that just start with the chorus hook( Like the Beatles "she loves you ")
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  #7  
Old January 23rd, 2011, 12:39 AM
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Default Re: Something else that's wrong with the internet...

^ Yea, that's one way to do it.
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Old January 23rd, 2011, 01:49 AM
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Default Re: Something else that's wrong with the internet...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
A lot of the greatest pop records of the '60s were under two minutes and almost everything was under three because a 45's cutting level dropped like a rock as soon as you went past three minutes.

It required great discipline to compose something that was compelling within that amount of time. It had to pop and it needed to inspire people to play it over and over.
Still the one good rule. A pop song has to grab you immediately, captivate you like a kiss you wont forget. Otherwise it's not a pop song. It might be interesting but it's something else.
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Old January 23rd, 2011, 03:34 PM
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Default Re: Something else that's wrong with the internet...

It'd be awesome to get one of one's teeuuuunnes on some hot opening-credits TV series; one of the few last bastions of captive, (and often, first-time-exposure for said artist/performer, I reckon), audience-ness.

I miss Mad Men.

; J
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Old February 3rd, 2011, 10:21 PM
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Default Re: Something else that's wrong with the internet...

Everybody seems to be missing the point the OP was making. You could have the best hook in the world that comes in right on the first downbeat of the song, and it still might take a few listens for some people to start loving it. I know I'm that way.

There are albums that I flat-out didn't like that I started to love a week later. There are albums that seemed fatally "neither good nor bad" on the first 3 listens that turned out to be spectacular on listens 4 through 5,000.
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Old February 3rd, 2011, 11:52 PM
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Default Re: Something else that's wrong with the internet...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheebs View Post
Everybody seems to be missing the point the OP was making. You could have the best hook in the world that comes in right on the first downbeat of the song, and it still might take a few listens for some people to start loving it.
Gotta be great straight outta the gate. There isn't enough time for me to listen to a song that has to grow on me. If it had the best hook in the world on the first downbeat I'd be hooked by the end of the second bar.
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Old February 4th, 2011, 01:18 AM
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Default Re: Something else that's wrong with the internet...

Just out of curiosity, Nobby, can you give a couple examples of songs that fit your criterion?
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Old February 4th, 2011, 01:21 AM
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Default Re: Something else that's wrong with the internet...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheebs View Post
Everybody seems to be missing the point the OP was making. You could have the best hook in the world that comes in right on the first downbeat of the song, and it still might take a few listens for some people to start loving it. I know I'm that way.

There are albums that I flat-out didn't like that I started to love a week later. There are albums that seemed fatally "neither good nor bad" on the first 3 listens that turned out to be spectacular on listens 4 through 5,000.
I think one thing we have to consider is that people are very anxious to keep scrolling through stuff on the internet. It's probably even worse than the channel surfing mentality that came in with bloated cable TV packages.

And it doesn't have to be listen #4 that gets you---it could be listen #2 or even anything beyond listen #0.25.
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Old February 4th, 2011, 04:33 AM
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Default Re: Something else that's wrong with the internet...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Perry View Post
Just out of curiosity, Nobby, can you give a couple examples of songs that fit your criterion?
Any Motown or Beatles hit would be a great example.

Jumping Jack Flash - Stones

Tocatta & fugue in Dm - J. S. Bach

Sunshine of Your Love - Cream

Rhapsody in Blue - George Gershwin

Come As You Are - Nirvana

5th Symphony - Beethoven

Time After Time - Cyndi Lauper

Time Is Running Out - Muse

Big Bang Baby - STP


I could go on and on. Basically, I can't think of a song offhand that I think is outstanding that doesn't grab me right away.



I'll probably roast in hell for eternity for lumping the above artists together :0
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Old February 4th, 2011, 04:49 AM
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Default Re: Something else that's wrong with the internet...

Ah, ok, those are some good ones. I think the common factor is that they have strong, clearly defined opening "riffs". I could name some others that have that same thing going:

Stones---Start Me Up

Zep---Whole Lotta Love

The Who---Who Are You

CS&N---Suite: Judy Blue Eyes

Kiss (don't laugh)---Rock and Roll All Night

Beatles---Revolution 2

SRV---Pride & Joy

Skynyrd---Sweet Home Alabama
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Old February 4th, 2011, 06:58 AM
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Default Re: Something else that's wrong with the internet...

You get the idea.
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Old February 4th, 2011, 07:18 AM
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Default Re: Something else that's wrong with the internet...

Actually, I'm glad this came up because it's motivating me to put some of my best material first in my music.

Also helps to draw the attention of A&R and managers listening to demos.
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Old February 4th, 2011, 07:35 PM
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Default Re: Something else that's wrong with the internet...

I think the bigger and simpler point is being missed, although Dave kind of touched it for a second.

I don't think this stuff is something wrong with the internet. It's more basic. It is, in simplest terms, about attention problems.

I know that at least once in the past around here, there has been some talk about something that Pat Metheny talked about once upon a time in an interview, that I thought was just brilliant. He hit something on the head.

He called the phenomenon "option anxiety". He was talking about people dealing with musical situations where there were a large set of options available in one way or another. Maybe it's some digital uber wonder synth with 1000 patches (and another stack of extra patch libraries ready to load in). Maybe signal processors. Et Cetera.

The point was that he thought it was a real attention and focus problem in the sense that you could find yourself getting just plain distracted from the stuff at hand, a piece of music, with players in a room, because a person is getting derailed going off punching through a bazillion presets and giving each one just a few seconds of attention before jumping to the next one. The "option anxiety" being all about having some nagging, compulsive urge to keep checking out the next one, and the next one, and the next one, because of some anxiety that if you settle on something and really dig into it, you might miss some other really cool thing in the million possibilities you haven't checked out yet.

It's the same stuff here.

It's really not about the internet (the web, specifically, really), it's about a kind of neurosis.


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Old February 4th, 2011, 07:52 PM
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Default Re: Something else that's wrong with the internet...

Quote:
Originally Posted by eagan View Post
I think the bigger and simpler point is being missed, although Dave kind of touched it for a second.

I don't think this stuff is something wrong with the internet. It's more basic. It is, in simplest terms, about attention problems.

I know that at least once in the past around here, there has been some talk about something that Pat Metheny talked about once upon a time in an interview, that I thought was just brilliant. He hit something on the head.

He called the phenomenon "option anxiety". He was talking about people dealing with musical situations where there were a large set of options available in one way or another. Maybe it's some digital uber wonder synth with 1000 patches (and another stack of extra patch libraries ready to load in). Maybe signal processors. Et Cetera.

The point was that he thought it was a real attention and focus problem in the sense that you could find yourself getting just plain distracted from the stuff at hand, a piece of music, with players in a room, because a person is getting derailed going off punching through a bazillion presets and giving each one just a few seconds of attention before jumping to the next one. The "option anxiety" being all about having some nagging, compulsive urge to keep checking out the next one, and the next one, and the next one, because of some anxiety that if you settle on something and really dig into it, you might miss some other really cool thing in the million possibilities you haven't checked out yet.

It's the same stuff here.

It's really not about the internet (the web, specifically, really), it's about a kind of neurosis.


JLE

Egan ,

I'm somewhere between 70% or 80% sure that was a great post !!

But since I was unable to completely maintain full and complete focus when reading it ( A.D.D)!!!

I can only say . +1 ( I Think ; mostly , probably..... )


Dennis Miller once said that the average American has the attention span of a ferret on a double cappuccino !!


.
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Old February 5th, 2011, 08:16 AM
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Let it Be Still My Broken Heart
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Default Re: Something else that's wrong with the internet...

I agree with Eagan. The internet is just the vehicle for human neurosis, but it's a quantum leap beyond even bloated cable TV, and in that sense, it is a fearsome enabler.

I also think there is a kind of weird legacy left over from the early years of the internet when all content was inherently free. No one seems to have quite gotten over those seminal years yet in terms of their attitude in approaching content on the internet.

When everything is free, it is at risk of seeming smaller and less significant, somehow. It's true, something like love is technically "free", but you have to work for love. You don't have to work when you "check out" free streaming music or free articles, photos, videos, etc., on the internet. The whole experience becomes very fluffy and passive and requires no commitment whatsoever on the part of the consumer.

I think that has led to a tendency for people to want even more instant gratification than they have in the past (e.g. nobby's examples of great music "right out of the gate"). People want the continuity of their total lack of effort to be unbroken, and what that translates into is extreme impatience, to the point that even good music or other quality media can fail to get through fast enough.

That, and they continue to want to pay absolutely nothing to be hugely and quickly entertained.
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