Wednesday, February 9, 2011

It's not karaoke, morons! PLEASE READ!

Got this note the other day:

"My venue was recently approached to join a group for venue owners called Live Music Review.  I would encourage the SL music community to NOT join this group.  They have set down guidelines for what they feel is a quality venue.  After a heated discussion with one of the groups founders, I was still unable to determine what  the purpose of the group was – needless to say he no longer wanted my venues in the group (which is fine by me).

One of the standards of what makes a venue, “high quality” according to the group is “no karaoke acts." I own two live music venues with Porter Paquot; The Mill and Kasbah.  We do not book karaoke acts, we book high quality vocalists who use tracks, live musicians, and DJ’s.  We have original music night and do our best to support the live music scene and art community in Second Life.  I have worked for almost two years trying to bring people together and book quality music at my venues.  I feel that my venues can stand on the reputations they have made for themselves over the last year and half.  In my opinion, reputation is what a makes a good venue not an arbitrary checklist. It frustrates and angers me when someone makes blanket statements like this group is doing.  If a venue does not want to book vocalists who use tracks, that is their choice,  It DOES NOT make them a higher quality venue. This attitude is what is wrong with an otherwise amazing second life music scene.

It is time to put a stop to this.  This is a debate among musicians, managers, and venue owners.  The fans don’t care they just want to hear good music. Let’s stop creating divisions and work together.  If we as venue owners just book the best people out there and run our venues the way we want, then the people going to the shows will decide who runs a quality venue and who doesn’t.  It’s simple.  Groups like this that see things as black and white are what is wrong with the Second Life music scene. I also encourage musicians to not support venues with this attitude.  This debate is getting old.

I have attached an article I have written for Scruplz Magazine that is coming out this month about this issue.  I wrote it before I had this incident with Live Music Review. This is a hot button issue with me and it's about time that we as a community STOP making divisions and work together.  Good music is good music.

I hope you take the time to read the attached article*

Thank you for your time,
Loegan Magic

and please feel free to pass this notecard around.

Wow.  That anyone professing to be a professional in the SL music industry would refer to it as "karaoke" floors me.  Who are these morons?  I thought I would check this out, and discovered that Live Music Review is not an actual SL group.  Hmmmm.....  Time to do some more....stay tuned!

For those that have not yet experienced my inworld picks, here's my favorite since 2009.  Oddly NO-ONE has approached me with the K-word since I posted this  :)
"I just dont like karaoke"

Occasionally, when I explain how I perform in SL, certain morons will respond with this statement.

Luckily I am unable to physically punch them. 

This is an incredibly ignorant comment.  Yes, I perform live with a pre-recorded backing track.  So does Madonna.  So what?  Ultimately I plan to get my tracks laid down the way I want them, but I am unable to be an entire band.  So please do us all a favor,  keep your attempts at condescension to yourself and go back to playing in your mother's basement.

Oh and by the way, everyone likes karaoke.  They just don't all admit it.


by Loegan Magic

The Second Life music scene is an ever changing component to to an already complex virtual world, filled with it's own politics and unwritten rules.  It has become a thriving independent global music scene unaltered by the corporations that have pretty much gobbled up the airways and watered down the music being put out in the “real world”.  Sure some of it is pretty amateurish, but even that has it's charm.  What's better then then a kindergarten teacher by day who is a  SL rock star by night?  The musicians here are all on various levels, some are just having fun, some are trying to make it big, and some are just playing for a much needed outlet or release. Whatever the reason, second life is full of music and we the fan have tons of choices.

I have been involved in this scene on various levels for almost two years now and I've seen a lot (keep in mind SL years are like dog years). Most of what I've seen has been  good, some of it wondrous and amazing and yes some of it not so good.  I have met a lot of great people, venue owners, musicians, managers and fans. However, one aspect has troubled me, and that is the blatant disrespect, by some in the scene, for singers who use tracks.  For those of you who don't know, “track singers” use per-recorded music to sing live to.  This has labeled them by some as Karaoke singers or being dismissed as not live music.  I disagree.  Even the term track singer, I have an issue with; why don't we use the term vocalist?

First off karaoke is an activity.  You go to karaoke with your friends to drink and have a good time.  And getting up in front of your friends in a supportive environment and singing badly is just that - fun.  If you don't believe me ask yourself what happens when the one person in the room that can sing gets up and does it?  No one wants to follow them, its no longer fun. It is completely different then listening to a trained professional singer putting on a show and entertaining a crowd. 

Now, does that mean that their are people using tracks who can't sing and should not be labeled vocalists – yes it sure does and a lot of them.  Does that mean they shouldn't sing – no!  It means I might not book them at my venue or go see their next show but that is the great thing about Second Life music, someone else will.  The point is, I can think of countless people who strum guitars and sing that aren't any better.  Does that mean I dismiss everyone who strums a guitar – no.  So why are we dismissing everyone who uses tracks? 

The truth is some music can not be reproduced with just a guitar or a piano.  So why limit the music in second life to someone playing one instrument? Many track singers sing jazz, blues, soul, funk and more, giving a much needed kick to a music scene saturated with people strumming guitars.  I welcome the variety.

Now most fans don't care, they just want to hear good music and be entertained, it's mostly other musicians, venue owners, and managers, that have issue. It just seems sad to me to declare, that you only have 100% life music at your venue when what you are really saying is we don't let people sing with tracks here.  As a venue owner I want the best most talented people I can find, Personally, I don't care if you are banging on a bucket, scratching a record, or strumming a is art and good art should be seen and heard. 

Music is an art form and I can't think of another art form that I would dismiss due to the tools used. Singing is actually the most pure form of music I can think of and while we all do it, it doesn't mean we do it well (or should).   So if someone is using a prerecorded track it doesn't matter to me as long as they are singing well over it. I've heard some amazing vocalists in second life, trained professional singers with successful real life music careers that should not be missed. And to not book them because they don't strum a guitar seems absurd to me.

Second Life is an amazing place, it is literally what we make it. Just think how music will be experienced twenty or even ten years from now in whatever second life will evolve to. 
We are experiencing something that is in its infancy and we are the ones who will say remember when.

So if you are a musician, venue, owner, manager, or fan who dismisses vocalists who use tracks in second life, I urge you to reconsider.  We are all in this together, pioneers in a new world, but whatever world you are in, real or virtual, one thing that does not change is talent is talent.  So open your ears and mind to some amazing music, you might be surprised what you discover.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, I just found this via Nyt's blog. I am a professional musician; i make my living as one in RL. I also perform quite extensively in SL. I have a degree in music based on piano, but I studied voice and flute too. For someone to say that a voice is not an instrument is simply ignorant. This can be attested to again and again by the adequate musicians I hear RL and SL that are less then gifted vocally. I play piano and flute live in SL, I use Band in a box and yes, I use tracks. This allows me to 1.0 honor the arrangement..Sorry folks no one is going to top Nelson Riddles arrangement of "When you wish upon a star" for Linda Ronstadt, or Eva Cassidy’s arrangement of "Autumn Leaves". It cannot and will not be done. 2.) I can concentrate on my vocal instrument on the songs I use track for and I enjoy it. I am shocked by the blatant disrespect that track singers are given. A voice is every bit as much an instrument as a guitar or piano and it requires practice to use it well and maintain it. IMO those that make these generalizations are trying to elevate their own self worth at the expense of someone with perhaps fewer skills, but probably not. I think a good track singer can usually use his instrument every bit as well as someone who plays all their own tracks and IMO usually they sing better.