MeFi Music September 1, 2006 9:39 PM   Subscribe

What's the upshot of MeFi Music? Has anybody been offered a recording contract? Have people who have dumped their demos there gotten results? Who will be the first MeFi musician to give Matt a shout out in the liner notes?
posted by persona non grata to Bugs at 9:39 PM (37 comments total)

I'll answer your first question.

It entertains those of us who are not muscially talented and wish we were, and gives an outlet to those of us who are and wish to be heard.
posted by yhbc at 10:02 PM on September 1, 2006


I bought a Scarring Party CD that's pretty good. I wouldn't have ever heard of them without mefi music.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:38 PM on September 1, 2006


That Scarring Party album has been on seriously heavy rotation 'round these parts all summer. MeFi Music was worth it for that alone.
posted by Zozo at 10:40 PM on September 1, 2006


I'm not sure there's been any real publicity or exposure tied to Music, aside from incidental mentions on the familial mefisphere (waxy, etc). It's not exactly garageband.com—more of a community thing than a Vehicle To Success.
posted by cortex at 12:06 AM on September 2, 2006


To be honest, I am amazed that MeFi Music has not got more press. Matt could easily start a record label here, or some kind of musical juice, if he wants too. He's sitting on a gold mine. I'm not shitting you when I say MeFi Music would make a great NYT Sunday Magazine piece. The new stuff there is often quite astonishingly good.
posted by persona non grata at 12:23 AM on September 2, 2006


It's certainly got its influence out on 'da streets'. Why, just the other day I saw a bunch of kids doing the Churlish Pule.
posted by Serial Killer Slumber Party at 12:42 AM on September 2, 2006 [1 favorite]


It is mostly a community thing, I reckon. An awful lot of what's there isn't really much good -- seems bad to say so, but there it is. An awful lot of what people say is good seems to come from the "yes, that's a lovely picture, son" effect, where you're too close to evaluate it properly, or think it'd be rude to say what you really think. I doubt many people who aren't actual Mefi members ever go there -- correct me if I'm wrong, 'cos I'd be interested to know.
posted by reklaw at 2:25 AM on September 2, 2006


I doubt many people who aren't actual Mefi members ever go there

I bet many people who are actual Mefi members never go there
posted by matteo at 6:51 AM on September 2, 2006


I bet many people who are actual Mefi members never go there

PWNED
posted by dflemingdotorg at 7:09 AM on September 2, 2006


An awful lot of what's there isn't really much good...

it's not necessarily that the music sucks, just one's taste in it.
posted by carsonb at 7:38 AM on September 2, 2006


An awful lot of what people say is good seems to come from the "yes, that's a lovely picture, son" effect, where you're too close to evaluate it properly, or think it'd be rude to say what you really think.

I'm with carsonb: there is a matter of tastes here, and the relatively narrow band on which folks may or may not be operating. There is a lot of interesting, valuable stuff posted to Music—it's not a one-in-ten sort of situation. What it is is all over the board. It's been a genuinely eclectic experience so far, and I hope it remains so.

The quality of production varies, the genre varies, the basic sonic character varies. It's not a pop radio station, and if you come into it looking for something at all specific, you are bound to be disappointed. That's like reading the blue for, say, the well-researched historical-analysis posts: of course ninety-some percent of posts to the blue will be disappointing or not "really much good". But that's a statement about the collision between your preferences and preconceptions and what is an eclectic site. The same holds true for Music, as I've seen it, and I am genuinely pleased by the variations along so many different vectors that have characterized the feed so far.

There's a lot of good stuff. It's not a precious momma-loves-you thing, it's an appreciating-a-broad-milieu thing.
posted by cortex at 8:13 AM on September 2, 2006 [3 favorites]


That's a lovely comment, cortex.
posted by Plutor at 9:56 AM on September 2, 2006


I received a multi-album deal, with a 47 country world tour deal, but sadly, I burned too brightly and died too young.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:49 AM on September 2, 2006


i'd answer but i'm too busy having sex with 14 year old groupies.
posted by quonsar at 11:29 AM on September 2, 2006


Where'd you put the fish?
posted by gsteff at 12:04 PM on September 2, 2006


I bought a CD because I liked what I heard.
posted by onalark at 12:52 PM on September 2, 2006


Quonsar, why do you need 14 of 'em?
posted by slimepuppy at 2:47 PM on September 2, 2006 [1 favorite]


"Your tastes are too narrow! We've got everything on there from badly-produced dance music to badly-produced jazz!"

Guess that's me told, eh.
posted by reklaw at 3:43 PM on September 2, 2006


You want to strip it down that and take offense? Go for it. I'm not saying people are bad for having specific tastes, I'm saying that letting your own specific desires justify assholish "it's a bunch of crap" comments is lousy.

We've got everything from mediocre production to really solid production. We've had jazz and electronica and rock and country and blues, and a dozen other things inbetween and aside. There's people playing off each others ideas, people talking about making music and how they've learned and why they do what they do. It's good stuff and a good thing, and to march in here and snark to the disdainful contrary is very bug-up-ass anti-community bullshit, in my humble.
posted by cortex at 4:11 PM on September 2, 2006


Some of it is good, and some of it is not as good, for various definitions of good. But that's not really the question, is it?

I don't see it as meant to produce some kind of tangible result though; it's just another avenue of promotion, which any self-promoting musician can appreciate.
posted by ludwig_van at 5:29 PM on September 2, 2006


Some of it I enjoy, some of it not so much. There clearly is some talent there, and some collaboration between some folks has a potential for an awesome result.
posted by scottymac at 8:55 PM on September 2, 2006


Ferchrissakes, reklaw, what do you expect? You open the flood gates for tens of thousands of members to upload whatever song they want - every track isn't going to be Pet Sounds. Of course you are allowed not to like tracks. But why would you think you would like them all? Why would you think they would all be commercially-produced, radio ready hits? Of course they're not going to be. They're going to be recordings of people's bands from some gig in 1993, they're going to be cheesy demo tracks, they're going to be fucked up experimental noise. Like posts to the blue, there's going to be a lot of stuff that doesn't appeal to you, but that doesn't mean it's somehow not legitimate, or some cheesy thing for the amusement of hardcore mefies only. The contents of music.metafilter.com are, objectively, better than I hear from the "local demos" show on my local college radio station.

Fuck it, music.metafilter.com is objectively better than MTV as far as I'm concerned, and in sane world would be recognised as such.
posted by Jimbob at 12:40 AM on September 3, 2006


Reklaw's comment wasn't assholish, it was frank. And the frankness wasn't assholish because it was appropriate for the particular discussion.

I think mefi music is pretty cool. But this roasting of reklaw for criticizing it coupled with extensive praise is a sad example of mefi's lack of an ability to self-criticize, individually or collectively. If mefi's collective eyes were turned to some other site's similar music endeavor, then the criticism would be unrelenting and intense. Here, though, we get rah-rah-rah, aren't we all wonderful and talented.

Well, pshaw on that. I doubt most of the artists involved appreciate biased and false praise, either. If I'd put anything up there, I wouldn't.

There's a very, very few contributers who are creating stuff that deserves praise on a national (or international!) stage. Less than five. And that's with my own metafilter bias. I'd guess that the majority of people who know better than me without any connections to mefi would say "zero".

What I see looking at MeFi Music right now is like looking at a typical small NA city. Say, in the range of a few hundred thousand and not near or itself a nucleus of popular music. That means, to me, there's in any five-year period perhaps one performer/band deserving of larger than local success, but almost certainly not getting it. Then there's that second-level of performers, competent musicians (and, to a lesser degree, composers) who produce professional quality work that is enjoyable enough to be notable on the local stage, but not beyond that.

Given enough time, however, there's bound to someone who comes along who makes it big. This will be true here, if it's around long enough.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:53 AM on September 3, 2006


Just give me another year, EB.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:04 AM on September 3, 2006


I think people take me a little wrongly. I'm not saying that it's all complete crap (I've not listened to much, although the occasional random sampling doesn't give me much enthusiasm for returning). I'm just saying that it is entirely a community thing. EB gets it right that I'm just trying to be frank here, mainly because I think it's a bit grating to constantly read all this "so much talent, so amazing, pat our own backs" stuff about it.

Short version: I see precisely zero reason for non-members to ever go there, and I bet the stats would back me up.
posted by reklaw at 12:21 PM on September 3, 2006


I got blogged, but I only found out by absolute coinkidink.
posted by armoured-ant at 1:54 PM on September 3, 2006


persona non grata, you mention record contracts, record labels, newspaper articles.... allow me to welcome you to the internet, where things happen for their own reasons, not just as a plot to capture the attention of traditional media.

The internet is all about creating smaller, more statisfying pools of interaction between people. It's not just a way for a solitary individuals to somehow grab attention from mainstream media.

MeFi Music doesn't need an "upshot." I appreciate the fact that you totally dig it, but it doesn't need any kind of "nod" from print/radio/MTV to make it great. It's great already.
posted by scarabic at 3:59 PM on September 4, 2006


Yes, what scarabic said.
posted by ludwig_van at 4:11 PM on September 4, 2006


Music is still on the old [+fave] comment notation, and you have to manually type in the /favorited/### URL to see who faved what, FYI.
posted by Eideteker at 8:52 AM on September 5, 2006


I agree with what scarabic said, assuming I understand him and his point is that its utility to mefites justifies itself.

But that doesn't mean that it can't or shouldn't serve the interest of an individual artist who wants to be recognized beyond MetaFilter. The more's the better, in my opinion. And I think it will happen. Like I said, I think there's a handful of artists who deserve greater recognition. MeFi seems to get more mainstream notice, or at least mainstream media notice, than most of us realize. It would be pretty cool if because of this some mefite got signed to a label or something similar.

However, the majority is either not of sufficient quality or of such limited interest (and, honestly, I believe that two are positively related) that it's really just about making music (or making music available) for other mefites. But that still a Good Thing on its own terms.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:29 AM on September 5, 2006


But EB, you seem to be operating under the assumption that mainstream notice correlates with quality, when it doesn't. Something on MeFi could better than other music that is nationally distributed, and it still wouldn't necessarily attract any record labels or be heard by anyone outside of MeFi. And that'd be a shame in some sense, but it'd also be ok, because as scarabic correctly notes, MeFi music doesn't require validation from Warner Brothers or Sony or anyone else in order to be good and worthwhile.

I really doubt that metafilter music is going to get any interest from major labels anytime soon. But that doesn't say a thing about metafilter music.
posted by ludwig_van at 5:40 PM on September 5, 2006


"But EB, you seem to be operating under the assumption that mainstream notice correlates with quality, when it doesn't."

I am, but I'm only saying that it's a partial corelation, how independent upon chance this is and how widely distributed is the ability to appreciate quality. In many artistic media, both quantities are very small and thus this isn't true at all. The thing is, though, is that most of what is appearing on mefi music is popular music, strictly speaking, and in that case the correlation is strong. Sure, the most popular stuff is crappy. But that isn't a proof that good stuff is unpopular. I think that good stuff, given exposure, always crosses a threshold of popularity because in the context of popular music there's always a sufficient number of people who are able to correctly identify quality.

It's a harsh thing to say, but I think that the idea that there's lots of high quality art being produced by artists in the realm of popular art that is being ignored by the public is a self-serving lie artists tell themselves. If you're trying to play rock music and everyone is ignoring you, it's almost certain that what you're producing isn't very good.

I used to believe the opposite, but I belived the opposite because my perspective was too strongly within the context of being a musician myself. Musicians focus on technical ability, which is as common as dirt and about as interesting. Quality in the final product relies far less on technical competency than it does inspiration in both composition and performance. That inspiration, genius, is very rare. When you are focused on technical proficiency, you look around the world and see so many highly talented people not making a living and being ignored while so many untalented people are wealthy and lauded. The conclusion you reach, then, is what you're asserting.

However, I'm not saying that everything that is popular is inspired and high quality in some way. Certainly not in some aesthetic way. I suppose I am saying this if we expend "quality" beyond aesthetics to other sorts of utility. But I am saying that aesthetic quality is rare, but usually recognized at least minimally.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:02 PM on September 5, 2006


If you're trying to play rock music and everyone is ignoring you, it's almost certain that what you're producing isn't very good.

It's also possible that:
(a) It's very difficult to get people to hear your music on the radio or other broadcast media, particularly any format that large numbers of people listen to.
(b) It's very difficult to get a gig, let alone a gig at a good venue that lots of people happen to be at to see you. You can stick as many posters up as you want, it doesn't make a difference.
(c) Your band's website / MySpace page / whatever is just one of millions, and you can't just attract traffic out of nowhere.
(d) A massive, massive proportion of the general public who might actually like your music if they hear it, aren't even aware of the existence of minor bands.

All these things can be overcome if you have the money and the connections (or simply the rude audacity and self-promotion) behind you. And when you can overcome these issues, actual musical quality ceases to matter. I can tune into the "ROCK" channel on my cable and hear a rotation of a dozen bands that sound like various interpretations of Creed and Matchbox 20. Shit, that Eddie Vedder vocal style they use hasn't changed since about 1992. Or I can tune into the "POP" channel and hear song after song of formulaic, tuneless R'n'B. Or I can tune into an obscure volunteer radio station at 2am in the morning and hear some local band's demo that is pure, sweet, glorious pop.

Musicians focus on technical ability, which is as common as dirt and about as interesting.

Maybe if you're playing speed metal, circa 1988. Obviously punk rock didn't happen for Ethereal Bligh.
posted by Jimbob at 10:36 PM on September 5, 2006


i maintain a fairly prominent mp3blog. i haven't yet heard anything on MeFi Music that I wanted to blog about, but Tuwa, frinstance, definitely has. That's clearly exposure that those artists might not have otherwise had.
posted by Marquis at 5:02 AM on September 6, 2006


I think that good stuff, given exposure, always crosses a threshold of popularity because in the context of popular music there's always a sufficient number of people who are able to correctly identify quality.

But that's begging the question - being given the exposure is exactly what we're talking about here.

It's a harsh thing to say, but I think that the idea that there's lots of high quality art being produced by artists in the realm of popular art that is being ignored by the public is a self-serving lie artists tell themselves.

What do you mean by "ignored by the public?" Are you asserting that all of the good popular music these days gets mass exposure? That's false. There's probably someone out there listening to it, thanks in large part to the magic of the internet, which is what I'm saying here - but that doesn't mean that there are (relatively) many someones listening to it, and that fact doesn't mean it's not good.

When you are focused on technical proficiency, you look around the world and see so many highly talented people not making a living and being ignored while so many untalented people are wealthy and lauded. The conclusion you reach, then, is what you're asserting.

You're preaching to the choir; that isn't where I'm coming from at all.

Seriously, you can't think of an album that you consider a great artistic achievement that didn't achieve mass exposure and sales?
posted by ludwig_van at 6:13 AM on September 6, 2006


You and Jimbob think I mean major label and a lot of sales. I don't mean that at all. What I mean is a value for "popular" that is greater than being some band that has played for two years in their hometown and not gone any farther than that. If you're any good, producing music that has interesting and compelling things to say, you'll get noticed. Whether you break beyond that first tier or not, I agree is a matter of chance.

There just isn't that much good music, just as there isn't that much good art. There's lots of competent music and competent art. Mere competency is common as dirt. That's not to say it doesn't have value: dirt, after all, has value. But this idea many artists have that the world, or chance, is conspiring against them and if only people could hear them they'd be widely recognized for the geniuses they are? It's embarassingly narcissistic and self-deluding.

On the other hand, those who are in truth the greatest artists are most often narcissistic and self-deluding, too. In a way, that's the bargain artists make with the universe: they risk everything, sacrifice everything for something very close to impossible, a fool's goal, and almost without exception ultimately lose everything and produce little of worth. That's the very definition of true sacrifice and it's what the muses demand. They demand always but rarely answer. This utterly unjust bargain is why there's melancholy at the soul of all art. Maybe it's why there's art in the first place.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:40 AM on September 6, 2006


But this idea many artists have that the world, or chance, is conspiring against them and if only people could hear them they'd be widely recognized for the geniuses they are? It's embarassingly narcissistic and self-deluding.

Well, that sounds like a straw man to me. I don't know who here has expressed this idea besides you.

Anyway, I'm not sure what we're discussing anymore; the original point I agreed with, and still do, is that mefi music is its own endpoint, and doesn't require validation from outside in order to be valuable. The idea isn't to "get noticed" by some credibility-lending organization, it's to put music on the internet for people to enjoy.
posted by ludwig_van at 11:56 AM on September 6, 2006


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