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Ask Slashdot: Can Digital Music Replace Most Instrumental Musicians? 328

Posted by Soulskill
from the why-buy-the-cow-when-you-can-get-the-moosic-for-free dept.
deviated_prevert writes "Most instrumental music used today in television commercials, background sounds and themes even on the majority of produced shows comes from completely digital composers who produce the product through digitized instrument samples. This has almost eliminated the need for real human instrumental musicians. For many listeners this makes no difference, as such music is essentially background in nature and does not need to have a true musical interaction with a listening audience at all. The same thing applies to the waves of digital music produced for things like raves. To quote one observer at the Globe and Mail 'So now we know why Deadmau5 and Daft Punk wear helmets when they perform. Everybody is digging the music, but no one is dancing. It is a sad development; the headgear of the maestros is there to mask their tears.' Will the live performance of instrumental musicians also become a thing of the past, or will there continue to be a real need for it? Purely instrumental groups like Booker T and the MGs, as well as solo performers like Herbie Hancock or John McLaughlin, seem not to take the spotlight as they once did. It is apparent that unless someone with a young fresh face is singing, today's producers will not attempt to seriously promote them. Regardless of how great today's instrumentalists are musically, there no longer seems to be a market for real musicianship. Even great performing classical musicians and ensembles are becoming scarcer due to faster and cheaper digital music production."
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Ask Slashdot: Can Digital Music Replace Most Instrumental Musicians?

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  • Rodrigo y Gabriela (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @01:11AM (#45722835)

    ... would like to disagree.

    Instrumental groups have a hard time up against bands with singers; they always have. As a species, we like singing. But there _are_ instrumental bands out there still.

    • by torsmo (1301691)
      I don't think John Coltrane would have a hard time finding an appreciative audience.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TranquilVoid (2444228)

      Read the fine title :) That's why the it refers to most music. People like singing because it's an extension of talking, our primary mode of communication. We can differentiate between 1000s of voices in the same accent and therefore singing has more 'personality' than a guitar or piano tone.

      Rodrigo y Gabriela belong to the sphere of virtuostic rock music where the personality of the instrument (and playing) is much more pronounced. This makes them an exception. Most of the songs on X-Factor/Idol could

    • by flyneye (84093)

      You play the music you like, if you play, they will come. You figure out your audience and book your gigs accordingly.
      Live music is alive and well, instrumental or not. Like the story posting says, no one could care what is played at them during a commercial, BECAUSE WE ARE TUNING THE WHOLE THING OUT. So go ahead and use canned music.
      Author of story posting lives in his own fantasy world and should broaden himself before entering the world of music journalism. Sensational garbage.

    • by Matheus (586080) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @11:45AM (#45726301) Homepage

      I would like to *emphatically disagree... matter 'o fact I'd just shove this into the usual /. reactionary article category. Whomever thought this was a valid premise spends their time no where near the vibrant music community. There is no decline... As a direct hit to the reference in the summary: Daft punk wears helmets to hide their tears because no one is dancing? Are you f$%^ing kidding me? As a specific point their most recent album was significantly *less digital than their previous and there are no shortage of people dancing their asses off to it.

      I spend my life in the music biz and this article really angers me not because it has any grain of truth but because there are people out there who really think it is! The only links in the article are fairly laughable... sorry a soul band from the 70's can't come back and see the same draw they had before. There's a saying I like which applies heavily to the music biz "So what have you done for me lately?" people are very forgetful and extremely ADD when it comes to music. Keeping the audience's eye for year after year requires constant attention and you still might lose 'em.

      As for the no one dancing? BS. Crowds at any show that gets packed have to figure out how to move with limited space... that's logistics not music or some change in the landscape. the people who really want more room to move you'll find at the edges and you'll see *plenty of movement in the middle it just takes a different form.

      Anyway... dunno why I'm arguing this logically... it really wasn't worth the energy I put into it... I'm going away now.

  • No dancing? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fwipp (1473271) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @01:15AM (#45722857)

    "So now we know why Deadmau5 and Daft Punk wear helmets when they perform. Everybody is digging the music, but no one is dancing."
    Have you seen those concerts? Maybe it ain't the Charleston, but those kids are certainly groovin to the beat.

    "It is a sad development; the headgear of the maestros is there to mask their tears."
    Somehow, I think they have no trouble sleeping on their large piles of money each night.

  • by urbanriot (924981) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @01:16AM (#45722865)
    I'm guessing he's never been to one of the aforementioned performer's party since he's talking out of his ass.
  • Laugh tracks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tony Isaac (1301187) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @01:22AM (#45722891) Homepage

    Comedy shows on TV have used canned laughter for decades, but nobody would say that it beats the experience of sitting in an auditorium live, with a great comedian on stage. The better TV shows will continue to have real music played by real musicians, and we'll all continue to get a better musical experience by going to the local concert hall, church, or bar.

    This is really about Big Music losing its stranglehold on deciding who the big stars will be.

    • Re:Laugh tracks (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sumdumass (711423) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @02:00AM (#45723107) Journal

      This.....

      There are few musicians/bands i will pay to see in concert any more. But i love going to festivals and watching performers. I love hitting bars to watch local talent. I don't even care if the sound is imperfect or the acustics reminds you of dogs barking at cats having screaming loud sex. Its the ecperience of seeing people give it their best and having a hell of a good time in the process.

      The last major concert i went to, it seemed like my $80 for tickets bothered the band or something. It was almost like they had something better to do. I know i have something better to do. Long live the garage bands and festivals. Even the has been headliners stuck doing county fairs are better then most headliners in my opinion.

      • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

        by Pubstar (2525396)
        I paid $20 to see Dick Dale at some bar a few years back. Best show I've ever been too. It was seriously just like having some local band up on the small stage, but, you know, Dick fucking Dale. It was a bit weird though - I was the only one under 25 there.
  • Shaping notes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @01:29AM (#45722929) Homepage Journal

    An article by a digital musician I read recently claimed that although digital synthesis can approach the quality of a real orchestra, it's extremely time-consuming to shape every note to fit the mood and context of that note.

    If you factor in the time and effort to "carve" the note to sufficient quality, it's not economical compared to a smaller orchestra, because experienced musicians do the same in real time, with 1 practice and 2 takes on average. The performing group gets it done in about an hour, while diddling a synth rendering can take weeks. Even though it's one dude or so, it's a LOT of one dude.

    Plus, you risk "ear burn-out" from so many replays such that you cannot recognize quality anymore. One has to switch between projects and styles to keep their ears fresh, delaying the finished product.

    Maybe the editing software eventually will get better and the computer can assist with more natural "guesses" to get closer to expectations to reduce customization, but at this stage if you want quality performances, synthesis is not fully competitive.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by quax (19371)

      Only a real orchestra offers massive parallel musicality, and they scale pretty well under a competent conductor.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by KNicolson (147698)
        Imagine a Beowulf <strike>Cluster</strike> Symphony [youtube.com] of orchestras!
      • I was going to say something slightly different. A real orchestra's players have years of hard work getting the individual notes just right, and getting the experience of playing in groupts etc. So for electronic musicians to complain that a piece of music takes weeks to get right using software tools is pathetic, really. It's still orders of magnitude less than the work that was required to get an orchestra to the point where they play an equivalent (or even superior) piece.
    • I'm a hobby musician (ie can string a few notes together) and I can't tell the difference most of the time, what chance do regular folk have? My wife can't even tell the difference between a bass and a guitar, do you really think people like her will notice it an individual note on an individual instrument has been hammered instead of bent? The one intangible thing that regular folk do grasp is the energy of live music, but as the Daft Punk example shows, even that means nothing anymore.
      • by gl4ss (559668)

        what chance? why would they care.

        if you need to care about an individual note then the song sucks. sorry.

        I'm spending the winter in thailand and every 4th bar has live music every day. it's not very good most of the time, maybe it would be better if listening to it while drunk though... but a good dj would be better most of the time.

    • Do you have a link to that article? It sounds fascinating to me.
    • by spongman (182339)

      but why would you bother trying to emulate the sounds of an orchestra or of any real instrument?

      why, when those sounds are so limited in their expressiveness? the electronic music producer has a far wider tableau to play with than wobbling tubes and strings.

      • but why would you bother trying to emulate the sounds of an orchestra or of any real instrument?

        why, when those sounds are so limited in their expressiveness? the electronic music producer has a far wider tableau to play with than wobbling tubes and strings.

        When I was much younger, my preferences ran to synthesizers and pipe organs because of their incredible range of timbres and didn't have much use for the piano. Gradually I learned to appreciate the nuances that a good piano performance can deliver.

        Music is a discipline that covers an immense amount of territory. Sometimes it's good to be unsubtle, sometimes not. Sometimes you even blend the two, as Beethoven demonstrated so well. And, incidentally, Beethoven also composed one of the first works for "synthe

  • Oh, please... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @01:31AM (#45722949) Journal
    1. They said the same thing when the Mellotron was built back in the 1960s. In fact, members of the Musicians Union would picket Moody Blues concerts because they felt the Mellotron was taking away jobs from hard working union member musicians.

    2. No recording of an orchestra is going to sound like sitting in the same room with an orchestra playing. Period. End of discussion.

    3. There are PLENTY of instrumental bands that are doing just fine. Examples:
    Animals as Leaders: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCsWlOo9qgw [youtube.com]
    Explosions in the Sky: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mqBMmhgsjM [youtube.com]
    And boodles of electronic music bands that have no interest in whether or not you dance to them, for example:
    Boards of Canada: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vp8ZBT-VHrA&list=PLZqsyBiYZFQ1SDoE-ulm6Qlpt7jetkEMH [youtube.com]
    among many others.

    Then this howler:

    Purely instrumental groups like Booker T and the MGs, as well as solo performers like Herbie Hancock or John McLaughlin, seem not to take the spotlight as they once did.

    WTF? Booker T's bass player died last year. HE WAS 70 YEARS OLD. How many pop bands of any stripe are in the spotlight at age 70? Herbie Hancock is 73. John McLaughlin is 71. They Are Old People. What do you expect from them? Then this bit of cluelessness:

    It is apparent that unless someone with a young fresh face is singing, today's producers will not attempt to seriously promote them.

    It's not their producer's job to promote them. It is their PROMOTER'S job to promote them. That's why they're called PROMOTERS. The producer helps direct and manage the PRODUCTION of the record. Believe me - I know these things.

    This article is basically flamebait.

    • by mbstone (457308)

      No recording of an orchestra is going to sound like sitting in the same room with an orchestra playing. Period. End of discussion.

      Depends on the quality of the recording and of the playback equipment. You can get pretty close.

      • by xfade551 (2627499)
        By "close" you mean seated in the nosebleed seats of a good amphitheatre. One thing you miss even in a good recording is the directional quality of sound from the different instruments and sections. Stereo recording helps, and surround sound has an interesting quality of its own, but it's still not quite the same as being there!
        • by rmstar (114746)

          One thing you miss even in a good recording is the directional quality of sound from the different instruments and sections.

          You also miss out on the experience. On having been there. You miss out on the champagne and everybody dressed up. The feeling of belonging to the exclusive club that will be there at this time, an experience which will never repeat.

          What I mean is that music really is way, way more than airwaves. It makes a difference if it's "just a synth" prgrammed by Nameless, or if it's mister Weir

        • Not everywhere. San Francsico's theaters (Orpheum, Curran, etc.) are set up so even people in the middle of the first row** hear the instruments as coming from all around us & slightly ahead rather than distinct directions. I don't know whether it's because they have the speakers' volume up, or the relatively small orchestra pits, but the end-effect is no different from listening to a band from 10-15 rows back in a medium-small venue.

          **company tix that my father gets to use 1-2x/year

      • by ApplePy (2703131)

        Depends on the quality of the recording and of the playback equipment. You can get pretty close.

        Those words could only be said by someone who:

        * has either never been in a concert hall with a real live orchestra, or

        * is tone deaf.

        If you're the latter, gods bless you, you'll never be disappointed.

        • Those words could only be said by someone who's not very good at distinguishing in his mind the purely auditory experience from the full experience.

    • by xfade551 (2627499)
      Instrumental (progressive) metal has been gaining more popularity of late, but still has not attracted the interest of the major record labels, yet, so most of the bands are unsigned, DIY, or only signed to minor record labels. A few bands off the top of my head worth checking out (mostly local to my area - greater Seattle): Steelscape (fully instrumental; Seattle area) Isthmusia (fully instrumental; Seattle area) Lo' There Do I See My Brother (a couple songs with lyrics; Seattle area) Summer Finn (a coupl
    • You might be surprised -- my town has a nice small-venue theater, benefit concert, and a medium-small venue up the road, and we quite frequently get older successful acts with "old" band members that still kick ass. For example, a few I've seen in recent years: Lester Chambers [wikipedia.org] (age 73), Leo Kottke [wikipedia.org] (age 68), The Family Stone [thefamilystonemusic.com] (at least a couple over 65), Jefferson Starship [wikipedia.org] (multiple 70+) and Big Brother & The Holding Company [wikipedia.org]/Quicksilver Messenger Service [wikipedia.org] (multiple 70+).

      Bands/musicians like that are stil

  • The world would be a poorer place if it didn't have Carlos Santana and his legacy in it.
  • The same thing applies to the waves of digital music produced for things like raves. To quote one observer at the Globe and Mail 'So now we know why Deadmau5 and Daft Punk wear helmets when they perform. Everybody is digging the music, but no one is dancing. It is a sad development; the headgear of the maestros is there to mask their tears.'
    No, it doesn't apply to "the waves of digital music produced for raves". Firstly, the rave scene died in the 90's, but it appears that you're not actually referring t
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by Tough Love (215404)

      if you're trying to insinuate that a DJ isn't an 'instrumental' artist, you're wrong. A pair of turntables is an instrument just as a guitar is, and a performance using one requires just as much 'musicianship' as with any other instrument.

      No, sorry, a pair of turntables is not an instrument like a guitar is, it is more an instrument like a mixing board is, and a DJ is more like a sound guy or a producer than a musician. Put it another way: some DJs may be performers but not all performers are musicians. Otherwise agreed with your post.

      • by spongman (182339)

        wait, so these guys [youtube.com] aren't playing instruments?

        manipulating objects that make sounds. hmmm. looks like it to me.

        • You raised the question of whether these guys are musicians or not, not me. I said "a pair of turntables is not an instrument like a guitar is", which is patently obvious. A turntable is more an instrument like a kazoo is, and as an art form, has a future roughly as bright.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ApplePy (2703131)

      A pair of turntables is an instrument just as a guitar is, and a performance using one requires just as much 'musicianship' as with any other instrument.

      Hm... Tell that to Christopher Parkening, or Wilhelm Kempff, or... ... hell with it. No. Just... no. OMG no. Holy shit.

      • by u38cg (607297)
        Depends. Martyn Bennet didn't play or sing a single note that went into GRIT, yet the entire record is him. And he had the musical skills to do so if he chose.
    • by spongman (182339)

      You can get a crowd moving with a Macintosh

      You can get a crowd moving with a SNES!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Jeeeezus how many times have I heard this. Go and listen to a piano-violin duo playing Souvenir d'un Lieu Cher then come back and tell me someone with a pair of turntables messing around with SOMEONE ELSE'S MUSIC is a musician. I'm sure they'd like to think they are but until they pick up an instrument, electronic or otherwise, that is actually capable of creating notes they are not.

      The stuff you are talking about is fine for people who don't really want musicianship. And good luck to them. Each to his own.

  • Well (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @01:36AM (#45722985) Journal

    You can either sit at a computer pasting together sound samples and massaging them into some semblance of emotion,
      or you can hire a musician to play it for you and give you the sound you're looking for.

    Some of the most famous musical acts in the USA recorded their albums using the studio's house band.
    Which is why it's so funny that the submitter brings up Booker T. & the M.G.'s: they started out as a house band.

    • You can either sit at a computer pasting together sound samples and massaging them into some semblance of emotion,
          or you can hire a musician to play it for you and give you the sound you're looking for.

      Stop it, I'm dying from snobbery overdose!!

  • The cost savings realized by eliminating live musicians is generally due to using one recording of said live musicians and playing it back multiple times (for example in many stage plays). There's not much extra savings to be realized by using, say, MIDI controlled synths for the original recording.

  • Replace? Yes. Sound the same? Definitely not. Just consider the range of effects possible with an electric guitar. The only way to do that with a digital workstation is to use a guitar for input, then it isn't purely digital. Another example: synthesized piano is getting very good, but it still cannot be mistaken for the real thing.

    Sound different but just as good? Maybe, sometimes. There is no question that digital has already invaded the territory of traditional instruments. In applications where top qual

    • synthesized piano is getting very good, but it still cannot be mistaken for the real thing.

      Citation needed. When a physical piano is of a brand that goes for an intensely clean and standardized sound (e.g Yamaha grand pianos), it often sounds more "synthetic" than an actual piano synth.

      Go here [pianoteq.com] and listen to one of the examples of "chamber recording" or "concert recording". IMO, it's very, very easy to mistake that for the real thing.

  • by cold fjord (826450) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @02:07AM (#45723137)

    Depends on the purpose. For just listening to background music, or the radio, probably. Session musicians? Maybe, but live is better. For events in which live musicians add to the prestige, no. And in between?

    If I'm gong to pay money to see the The Typewriter [youtube.com], Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet [youtube.com], or Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture [youtube.com], I want a real symphony orchestra (and preferably real canons for the 1812). No digital music will replace someone like Victor Borge [youtube.com] (RIP).

    Marching bands [youtube.com] can't really be replaced with digital music. Certainly the British [youtube.com] and Russians [youtube.com] would never do it for their parades. (Are bagpipes even compatible with digital music? ;) . )

    There is no replacing a cappella music, such as this [youtube.com], or a barbershop quartets [youtube.com]. Many other forms of music would suffer, maybe even be pointless, if they were done without live performers. They are often much of the fun.

    Digital is handy for composing though even if you will perform live later.

    • by spongman (182339) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @04:03AM (#45723647)

      i think you're missing the point. digital musicians aren't attempting to reproduce what's been done before. they're creating new stuff - called music - digitally.

    • It's not just about earning money. Don't underestimate the desire of people to perform. There's a well-organised programme of community music where I live and there are many hundreds of people participating in live music - choirs, small jazz and folk groups, community orchestras etc - and they're paying to take part (to cover professional teachers/conductors/accompanists/venues...). Most of the live bands you find in pubs will not be covering their costs, but they do it because they enjoy it.

      Of course,
    • by u38cg (607297)

      Are bagpipes even compatible with digital music? ;)

      We've embraced digital recording just as much as anyone else, though the culture of perfection in the piping community tends to mean that we get less benefit from it. And yes, you can buy [redpipes.eu] an electronic bagpipe. Ugh.

    • by fatphil (181876)
      > Are bagpipes even compatible with digital music?

      Bagpipes are the equivalent of buffer overruns.
  • by ripler (19188) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @02:16AM (#45723179)

    Ironic that Herbie Hancock was used as an example. It wasn't so long ago that Mr Hancock would have been the poster's point made with synths vs real piano players. Musicians make the music. The instruments are just tools. There has always been, and will always be crappy mass produced pablum. Likewise, there will always be musicians who rise above the rest. The tools they use influence the sound, but the artist creates the experience.

    Now, get off my lawn!

  • Yes, actually (Score:5, Interesting)

    by the_other_chewey (1119125) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @02:26AM (#45723227)
    As TFA an incredible amount of orchestral music in movies, TV shows, ads etc.
    already is made from 100% samples, and nobody notices (or cares).

    An at the time seemingly crazy person over a decade ago started the
    Vienna Symphonic Library [vsl.co.at], a project to sample all possible
    sounds all instruments can make. A completely insane idea. Today, it's
    the undisputed market leader everyone uses...
    (make your own google analogy here)

    Will high-culture live-performance symphonic orchestras be replaced by
    sample computers any time soon? Most likely not. But that's a couple of
    thousand musicians in the world. Most on-staff "working class" instrumentalists
    are replaceable by a computer and a skilled person operating it today.

    The situation seems to be a bit like the animation revolution, when Pixar's
    Renderman (and others) turned hand-drawn animation into a bit of a niche thing.

    The big difference: The demand for animators probably has even increased
    over the last decade (admittedly, with in part a different skillset, but animators
    are animators first and not defined by the tools they use to animate) - but there
    were no "pencil operators" following an "animation conductor" in animation compared
    to "instrument operators" and... well... conductors in a traditional symphonic orchestra.

    Using the VSL samples, one person with a machine can indeed replace a whole
    orchestra for all but the most high-profile uses. And it is already happening.

    Also, the world will not end. "Nobody's dancing"? Have they seen the audience at a
    Daft Punk performance?
  • by bmajik (96670) <matt@mattevans.org> on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @02:27AM (#45723233) Homepage Journal

    Hi. Former guitar shredder here.

    I have news for you. The idea that the instrumental performers with "the most talent" will no longer get paid big bucks in the future isn't something you have to wait for.

    It has been going on for at least my entire life.

    After I had been playing guitar for about 2 years in high school, I could play nearly any guitar part of any popular song (I came of age in the 90s, the grunge time frame. So, admittedly, a low bar.)

    Most of it just wasn't very complicated. If what mattered was being able to play things note for note, capturing all of the "feeling" and what not, for most popular music that just isn't a tall order.

    I'm not being a braggart; I was nothing special. My point is that youtube is filled with kids who are _astounding_ guitarists.. and who will never make any money off of their guitar work. Technical proficiency isn't what gets you paid.

    I still love all of my Shrapnel Records artists that I dutifully bought albums from growing up. I am thrilled beyond belief that monumental talents like Tony MacAlpine are still able to record and perform after decades of being unknown outside of the guitar-nerd community. And I am escstatic that new younger talents are emerging and doing cool stuff (Seree Lee -- youtube him).

    But Katy Pery or whoever the next anonymous pretty face is will make more money off of one single than someone like a Tony Mac or Vic Wooten or Seree Lee or (take your pick) will make in their multi-decade careers. And that's not new, and digital music isn't going to fundamentally change that.

    • by ruir (2709173)
      IMO, the question is deeper than technical prowess vs artistic merit. It is a problem that goes deeper in the vein of society. Specialisation is not valued and not paid accordingly. Period. People also confuse "abundance" of offer, with professional offer. They are too very distinct things. Social media, TV, soaps like Glee where the kids become pro overnight without seemingly any effort, or even freak reality shows, dont help either.
    • by u38cg (607297)
      We are seeing a couple of trends. One is that the 20th century arc where music made you unspeakable rich - Beatles, Stones, etc - is coming to an end. The future is Amanda Palmer type artists, on the road, crowdfunding records and communicating with fans, not just talking at them.

      The other is the democratisation of music-making. There are more and more people making music, good, bad and indifferent, learning from Youtube, over Skype, everything else. Look at the number of guitars Yamaha pumps out, nev

    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @09:23AM (#45724999) Homepage

      But Katy Pery or whoever the next anonymous pretty face is will make more money off of one single than someone like a Tony Mac or Vic Wooten or Seree Lee or (take your pick) will make in their multi-decade careers.

      That's really simple to explain: Katy Perry's real product isn't music, it's holding forth the believe that women who hear her can be like her, and men who hear her can bang her, without actually fulfilling either one. That's pretty much the job of female pop stars between the ages of 16 and 35 or so, along with dancing and acting. (And this isn't specifically about Katy Perry: Madonna, Britney Spears, Beyonce, etc all did exactly the same thing at that stage in their careers.)

  • Everybody is digging the music, but no one is dancing.

    That's usually a "DJ trying to be too cool" problem.

    There are automated DJ programs, but so far, no one seems to have one that takes in video of the dance floor, tracks how many people are dancing, and adjusts the playlist accordingly. I thought of doing that 20 years ago, but now it would be both feasible and cost-effective. (Optional feature: also connects to the bar cash register system to optimize for revenue.)

  • I can play a few instruments and make my own music, as well as having played in a few bands, but over the years I've learned to accept that computers can help me out a bunch. I used to try to play everything and record it too, which was a lot of work and it made things a bear to change. These days, I just try to focus in on a thing at a time, rather than be engineer, instrumentalist, songwriter, etc. I hardly have been playing instruments much on recordings because I don't have the time to do it all and

  • Digital music isn't going to be replacing instrumental artists any time soon, quite possibly it may never be even capable of doing so. Folks like Yo Yo Ma or the various orchestras are going to be able to make a living for a long time yet.

    The problem is that digital music very much is replacing and will continue to replace commercial instrumental musicians, which are the vast majority of musicians actually able to earn a living from their craft. These folks are screwed. In the long term this may mean that t

  • Whining by buggy whip salesmen. That's all.

  • Digitized versions of actors and actresses will be substituted for the real-life things. Humphrey Bogart and Lana Turner will make huge comebacks in virtual form. And without all that pesky union BS that goes along with card carrying members of SAG. Audiences won't be able to tell the difference between virtual clones and the real thing. Eventually the fake replacements will garner perpetual fan bases of their own. First they came for the real musicians...

  • by rossdee (243626) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @05:27AM (#45723971)

    Can dead singers replace live singers?

    Many of the songs I hear at this time of year are sung by singers who are now dead.
    Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Elvis, Burl Ives, Karen Carpenter

  • by Zaatxe (939368) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @07:03AM (#45724321)
    "Ask Slashdot: Can mass production replace most atisanal handicrafters?"
  • Car analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by StripedCow (776465) on Wednesday December 18, 2013 @07:20AM (#45724405)

    Is a car ever going to replace a running athlete?

    There. That's how silly this question really is.

  • Plato pointed out that music and gymnastics are the foundation of education because they prepare the mind for grasping other subjects. One can see a place for digital composition in education, but using a traditional instrument in performance probably is more effective in what Plato meant to achieve.
  • IMHO, good music died a long time ago. Scratch that. I have to lower the bar. Listenable music died a long time ago. 15 years ago, I would buy some 40-50 albums ( whatever media ) a year and another ten of old stuff. Then it become individual songs. I don't think I bought anything this year. I can't even stand what they've done with the re-mastered greats.

    Sucky music, sucks, regardless if it is created by a musician or a digital hack.

  • Background music, perhaps, although my notion of background music is along the lines of chamber music. Foreground music, not any time soon.

    The last concert I went to was Haydn's Creation played by a good symphony orchestra and sung by a good choir (with exceptional soloists). Before that it was Mahler's 6th (Tragic) played by an outstanding symphony orchestra. I suspect that I'll be long dead and buried (burnt or composted) before anything like those sounds can be produced electronically, or even reprod

  • Musicians play because they enjoy it, and enjoy being creative. Art for the sake of an audience is not art. It's the difference between a fine sculpture and a plastic vase you buy at walmart. Are vases still made by hand despite the ease at which they can be extruded from an injection molding machine? Of course.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson

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