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Say That Again

by Mike Masnick

Beatles Producer George Martin Upset That Apple Let The Riff Raff In

from the missing-the-point,-again dept

It never fails. When the tools of content creation become more accessible, some who were raised under the old ways start whining and complaining about how it's "too easy" these days. The latest to fall into that trap is famed Beatles producer George Martin (thanks to John for the link) who is upset that technology has made it easier for anyone to create music these days. "With iPods, mini-recorders and all the new technology, people can lie in their bath and make a rock record." Of course, many people think that's a good thing -- but the article implies Martin is of the other opinion. This same debate has gone on covering journalism, music, photography and plenty of other content creation industries before. The usual complaint is that by making it so easy, it increases the level of bad content out there. That's absolutely true, but since we've also created the tools to better filter (whether human or technology-based) it can turn out to be much better. The "bad" content can be ignored, and people get to experience new and different content that never would have existed before. Besides, it also allows for more niche markets to thrive. Since not everyone agrees on what's "good" and what's "bad," cheaper tools of production make it easier for less mainstream creative efforts to thrive within their own communities. The only people that's really troublesome for are (oh, look at that...) those who made their living by being the "one true chooser" of what was good and what was bad.

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  • identicon
    alaric, 28 Jul 2005 @ 2:19pm

    Wait a Minute

    A clarification might be valuable before we bash George Martin. He may very well be referring to endless supply of rehased music via samples and looping that modern hip hop, rap and a lot of pop has become.

    It does not take a lot of talent to sample other peoples hits and then talk over them, which is what a lot of "artists" do these days. There used to be a lot more creatively in hip top/rap/pop then we see today and its pretty hard to hold snoop doggy dog up to motown or hendrix, martin's contemporaries.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Bill Ray, 28 Jul 2005 @ 4:54pm

      Re: Wait a Minute

      I wholeheartedly agree but it doesn't really start at the composer/sampler/wannabe musician but rather at the people who pimp said "rock records", Sir George's "GarageBand.com" not exempt from this rule.

      I am an organic drummer (meaning I specialize in hitting membranes stretched over a shell) that plays drumset. I'm not an electronics guy by any stretch of the imagination nor do I ever choose to be. They don't feel the same......

      In another paradigm, I do create "electronic" drawings, vis-a-vis Adobe Illustrator which, in comparison would be akin to sampling music. Doesn't make me bad people nor does the sampling of music make the creators of the frankensteined piece bad people. It's just creativity, and having the tools to extend your vision isn't a bad thing.

      It's just when a freekin' Cellphone ringtone makes the charts in the UK as the #1 hit that my faith in music gets a little daunted.

      So go hear my band www.tubbyfunk.com and see if we're worthy....


      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    nonuser, 28 Jul 2005 @ 6:03pm

    when Martin talks...

    I think what he's saying is that creating decent sounding pop music used to require many years of very hard work, getting the craft down. That's what the Beatles did, and then he (Martin) helped turn them into the juggernaut that conquered America.

    That kind of apprenticeship produces a mindset and level of personal commitment that's vastly different from the hordes of bored suburban teenagers messing with PowerBooks. It's like the difference between a professional athlete and someone who plays fantasy football or Microsoft Links golf.

    BTW Martin's contribution to the Beatles' success is probably underrated. The melodic flair and manic quality came from the four kids. But the professional sounding harmonies and instrumental touches, especially in the early records - those came from Martin.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 28 Jul 2005 @ 6:50pm

      Re: when Martin talks...

      Hmm. No one is denying that it takes a lot of work to create a good record. But he seems to be complaining that the tools have made it so that anyone can try to make their own record -- bad or good. That's not a problem, it just is the way things are changing.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    TDavid, 29 Jul 2005 @ 7:14am

    odd, considering garageband

    I'm not sure I believe the cited article, Mike. After all, Martin is chair for the site garageband.com which has embraced Creative Commons, podcasting, etc. If he was anti-new technology why would he have any affiliation with a site like that?

    Something smells funny here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    alaric, 29 Jul 2005 @ 7:56am

    Yes But

    It is also worth mentioning that martin is a classcially trained musician. That background alone is enough to make people cringe when they hear sampled nonesense and bands who can't play guitar etc. (not that the beatles were great musicians but you get the idea).

    But......times have changed. Record industry and radio consolidation have taken the life from modern music. Home recording and self distribution may be the last avenue for fresh and unique talent to cut through. Record labels do not sign fresh or unique talent. they sign whatever sounds the most like something else that is already successful.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Makin' music in the bathtub, 30 Jul 2005 @ 9:12pm

    I gotta have more iPod, baby!

    Guess what? I got a fever and the only prescription is more iPod!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    abuscemi, 1 Aug 2005 @ 10:07am


    That is the most insane f'in thing I've heard - this guy is an idiot (besides him producing the best pop music ever - heheh). Yes there are a lot of people that are ingnorant at producing there home-brew music with traditional production techniques - SO WHAT? There are way more that are learing those prodcution techniques from sites such as studio-central.com and many others that are producing top-notch material that other-wise wouldn't be there. GIve me a break with your elitist attitude George.

    Check out my home-brew music that wouldnt be there without todays technology here: http://www.andybuscemi.com

    By the way George, you wouldn't have a beatles record if the technology wasn't around to record when you did - think before you speak please George.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    JohnThumbsup, 3 Sep 2006 @ 1:41pm

    Sir Martin

    Maybe he's just scared shitless that the home songwriter-producer concept might make better music than he did! Strawberry fields don't last forever.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    barry shaw, 6 Apr 2008 @ 7:49am

    george martin

    how do i find out the techniques george martin used.. i am writing a piece and have been struggling to find info..? thankyou for any reply..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ndnickyk, 28 Dec 2010 @ 2:31pm

    Music 101

    The fact that any fool can now have a recording studio in his bedroom does not make him a recording artist any more than my owning a ball and bat makes me a major league slugger, nor does it change the fact that there is good music and that of little or no value, and "no it is not" a mater of opinion, has never been and never will be. Just because someone in the recycling business thinks that trash is a good thing it does not make trash a good thing nor does it adhere to it some esoteric intrinsic virtue . . .
    “IT’s T R A S H !!!”
    I learned to play the various instruments I play the easy way by listening and imitating what I heard. I’ve managed to record four records and been a guest on many others. Some have sold pretty well and I love what I do. Many people would refer to me as a musician and I would proudly agree with them, however I would never stand myself next to a Julliard or Berklee graduate and claim to be his or her equal, even if they were in a quartet backing me up.
    To drive the point home a friend of mine who graduated from Berklee College of Music has a poster in his studio that reads as follows:
    Music 101
    1. DJ’s are not musicians they are DJ’s
    2. Lip-Synchers are not vocalists they are wanabe’s worshiping at the altar of pitch correction software.
    3. A musical instrument is a piece of hardware made exclusively to produce musical notes.
    4. A musician is one that plays a musical instrument or precision controls a voice.
    5. Computers are not musical instruments they are machines.
    6. Machines can not make music, they can only replicate it.
    7. “Sampling” is a euphemism for “Stealing”.
    8. “Rap Music” is an Oxymoron.
    Any questions?
    If you need to ask what either a euphemism or an oxymoron are continue being deceived, you’re not worth saving anyhow.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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