Views on pop culture through my eyes

Posts tagged ‘iTunes’

Complete Collections

As a music fan, I have noticed something with a lot of my favorite artists: they seem to be releasing more versions of songs that I already own. What I mean by this is: another greatest hits collection, or another live album. How about some new stuff?2371339

I am a creative person, I get it. It is not always easy to be creative and come up with new material. Maybe, you have writer’s block and don’t feel you can come up with something as good as you did in your heyday. But as someone who likes to have complete collections for an artist, it can be frustrating to keep up with these re-issues and re-packagings and such.

Another factor is the fact that artists make their money from live performances these days and not their records. So a new collection can serve as a reminder of an artist’s legacy as well as be an overview for those new to their career.

Another factor for me is having music on a bunch of different formats still and in different locations in my house. I have vinyl albums, 45s, cassettes, CDs, and then MP3s too. I converted a bunch of my vinyl albums and cassettes to MP3, but then my record player stopped working. And the speakers for the stereo gave out also. And then I don’t have enough space on my computer to store all the MP3s now. I will need a few back-up drives just to store everything.

So where do you draw the line? Do you buy the “new” release or just stick with what you already have? For me, I am looking at the situation a few different ways. For example, I will look at the outputs of the B-52’s, Pat Benatar, Blondie, and Olivia Newton-John — artists I have loved since the late 70’s, early 80’s.

I just got the B-52’s anthology “Nude on the Moon: The B-52’s Anthology.” It is their most comprehensive collection. I have all of their studio albums, and a previous greatest hits set too. But it is nice to have all the songs together in one collection. It has a few extras: alternate takes or live versions of some songs. Now I see they have 3 live albums, do they need 3? I am probably going to buy one since I am going to their show in September. I’ll pass on the other 2.

Pat Benatar has a new collection called “35th Anniversary Tour (Live)”. Now she includes her husband and guitarist Neil Giraldo in all the credits. I have 3 live albums from her already. Not sure I need this one too. Still love her.

Blondie celebrated 40 years last year with the release of “Blondie 4(0)Ever/Ghosts of Download.” One album was a CD of remixed and re-recorded greatest hits along with one disc of new material. I already have 4 previous collections from them, and if I had my way I would pass on the “new” greatest hits collection. But it is bundled with the new album, so I have to get both! Oh well!

Olivia Newton-John had a great run in the 70’s and 80’s. Now she still records but most of it is sort of mellow and boring to me. So I have passed on some of her recent studio albums. But now I see she has a 2-CD collection from her Las Vegas show. Yeah, yet another live album. But I am considering getting it, as it looks to be a good souvenir of a veteran artist.

Another thing I have noticed is the ability to release one-off songs at will — with songs being put on ITunes when they are released. They may be soundtrack songs, songs where the artist is featured on another person’s song, or just random songs that don’t fit on an album. An artist doesn’t have to put out a full album anymore… just release songs when they are finished. Do you get all of these songs too? You probably didn’t know they existed in most cases! I love Wynonna Judd, she has about 5 of these songs… Lady Antebellum: 5; Kelly Clarkson: 2; Rihanna: 8… and so on.

So now you can see what I am talking about. And don’t forget when an artist dies, or when they change labels either. The record company will release new collections whenever they want to. I realize I can’t keep up with everything, and I am not going to try. And then don’t forget Christmas albums or cover albums either, all artists seem to do those too sometime in their careers.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for birthdays, anniversaries and more.

Music Consumption 2014

As I was driving listening to some CDs the other day, I started to think about all the changes to the music industry I have seen in my lifetime. Albums, cassettes, eight tracks, 45s, cassettes, cassette singles, CDs, CD singles, music videos, YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, internet radio, satellite radio, MP3s, iTunes, Spotify and more. The way we consume music has changed forever that is for sure. And there is no going back.Music Energy (+clipping path, XXL)

Here are some of the things I was wondering as I was listening: Does anyone care about albums anymore? I love the fact that I can buy just one song from an album these days. I remember singles used to be on 45, then cassette single or CD single. Then the record companies didn’t make them available at all, and forced you to buy the whole album for one song. This is one of many issues I think where people really felt ripped off by the record companies.

But by buying one song are we missing out on listening to an album the way the artist put it together? In the old days, you had to listen to one side of an album, then flip it over to hear the other side. Sure, you could put the needle down on the one song you wanted to listen to, but more often that not you didn’t get the position of the needle right, and it would be too early or too late for the song. Cassettes also didn’t make it easy for us to listen to just one song.

When CDs came along, besides the great sound quality, we finally had an easy way to listen to our favorite tracks. You could just go to that track # or push skip to get to the song. Great albums have hits for sure, but often the non-hits are often worthy songs too. They may work in the context of the other songs, or be something a little quirky or edgy that wouldn’t work as a single. But in these days of “hit single” mentality, does anyone really listen to the rest of the songs?

Once upon a time, an album told a story — It carried the listener on a journey of highs and lows. It was meant to be consumed in its entirety. You would peruse the album cover, and look over the lyric sheets too. That’s not to say you wouldn’t have your favorite songs on it, but to me I feel it gave you a better insight into the artist themselves than just hearing the hit songs. For example, Donna Summer has a great live album called “Live and More”… yes the hits are there, but her cover song choices showed me the real Donna. I was able to get a better sense of her as a singer.

Back to my drive-time listening, I was listening to Mariah Carey’s “Rainbow” and Duran Duran’s “Pop Trash.” “Rainbow” has some hits on it, but it was good to hear the album tracks too. Duran Duran’s album to me, was one of their more experimental albums with a grungier sound. It is not a bad album at all, but it is not one of my favorites either. I remember seeing them on this tour and enjoyed the songs they performed from the “Pop Trash” album in the show.

Once upon a time, musicians were encouraged to experiment and push themselves. But do labels even want that from their artists anymore? You could make a flop album, and the label wouldn’t fire you because of it. This was because they valued you as a multi-dimensional artist who was in it for the long haul. Now, I don’t know that a record company views their artists in the same way as they did back in the 60’s and 70’s. They are more concerned for the bottom line and how many singles you can produce now. Not if you are a career artist who wants to be in the business 10-20 years from now.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

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