Pete: Day 3 ~ Who Studio Session

So as Rachel’s Animal Requiem storms the classical charts here in the UK, we labour to make sure the next Who album gets at least as much interest. They say now that most people only listen to the first two to five seconds of a track online before they move on. It has to connect very quickly. So one way to connect is to use an old sample of something everyone already knows. So every one of the tracks on the next album starts with the guitar from ‘Pinball Wizard’.

Seriously, trying to make a record that sounds the way a Who album should, and yet be sharp enough to catch the attention of someone surfing through a bunch of songs online, is a challenge. While this is happening, everything is changing. Apparently young people are starting to listen to radio again, and music podcasts as well. I think it might be because the algorithms online think they know what we like, so if we want to hear different stuff by accident we have to avoid the algorithms. So what we need to do today may not be what we need to do in a year’s time.

The vintage EMI mixing console

I remember when single record songs were two minutes long, and we are sort of back to that again. It means you have to squeeze a lot into a short space. It’s a discipline in a way, and not one to talk down – we can always do our rock operas if we wish, but people will only hear them properly if they come to a concert or watch them on TV.

Pino’s stomp boxes

Another story. When my daughter Emma was young she liked a band called Haircut 100. One track of theirs she played about 100 times. That’s what happens when young teenage girls like a song. They get together, learn every lyric, watch the video and learn the dances, and jive on the moments in the song for a week until they move on to what appeals to them next. Well guess what! The fans of artists like Ariana Grande, the young girls, still do that. They stream (play) her songs 100 to 500 times or even more. (!!!)  But every time they stream Ariana gets a stream-count. Alternative bands like – say – 1975, whose fans listen more intently, and less often, might even buy a few tracks, but Ariana might get several million (or even a billion) streams, while 1975 have to make do with many, many less.

Zak listening out for the word from Dave Sardy

The old “teenie-bopper” power that helped make The Beatles so huge, has come around again. Great music, but also the Mop-Tops were also beautiful boys back then. So today, good music, young fans, easy access, easy payment, and suddenly the world of pop is back and shining.

Each musician has a personal mixer

I always knew music streaming was coming, even back in the ‘80s I could see it was inevitable one day. What I didn’t know was that different styles of music would be listened to in entirely different ways, and in different contexts.

4 January 2019

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