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Vegan_Harvest t1_j2m243m wrote

Well they weren't wrong, I've never been to a movie with a live band.


bayesian13 t1_j2m7u76 wrote

so this is a thing now!

lots of orchestras are doing movie events. the audience watches the movie but instead of the regular movie soundtrack, the orchestra plays the soundtrack live! it's pretty neat.


I_play_trombone_AMA t1_j2mcc51 wrote

As someone who plays in an orchestra professionally, these concerts are getting very popular and most orchestras are doing several per year now.

The thing people don’t realize is that these scores were meant to be recorded over the course of a week or so, and done in small chunks at a time.

If you’re recording a Star Wars movie you don’t just play the soundtrack front to back with the movie. You record a few minutes, they take second to listen, you might go back and hit a few bars again, then move on to a new section. Then they piece everything together at the end with editing. Recording the score to a 2 hour movie takes dozens of hours of recording time spread over several days.

To actually sit and play the score to a Star Wars movie from beginning to end with no breaks is incredibly difficult. The music was not designed to be played all at once like that.

So the next time you attend one of these concerts you can maybe have a different perspective on what the musicians are doing up there.


bayesian13 t1_j2me6kv wrote

thank you. I had wondered about that... how many different movies have you done? are they all as challenging as star wars or are some of them easier? i attended one which was the Princess Bride. That was really fun.


I_play_trombone_AMA t1_j2mfciv wrote

I can’t remember every movie I’ve done, but I’ve done Star Wars IV, V, VI, Harry Potter 2, 3, 4, Home Alone, Amadeus, and some other random things like nature documentaries, etc. I might be forgetting a couple, but I’d say I’ve done 10-12 movies since they started getting popular as orchestra concerts.

As you can see, it skews heavily towards things like John Williams, probably because those are the most “involved” orchestra scores which will give the audience something to appreciate over just seeing a movie in a standard format.

You need the movie to have a largely orchestral score able to be reproduced by a standard orchestra. If a score relies a lot on electronic music, or rock music then it’s pointless to have the whole orchestra there if they barely play. So that already limits which movies will get done.

The Star Wars movies were definitely the hardest, both in terms of actually difficult notes, and also the endurance to make it through from start to finish.

Some are easier. Amadeus was easy because it’s all Mozart, which isn’t super heavy. The documentaries were mostly pretty easy, but not as fun or rewarding for the musicians because it’s more “background music” as opposed to something like John Williams where often the music feels like it’s an integral part of the story, or even a character in its own right.

If it’s by John Williams it’s probably pretty difficult.


Mr_Gaslight t1_j2osctf wrote

I finally got the chance to hear The Empire Strikes Back played live. I was there to watch the orchestra and not the film.

I was the only one applauding at the Battle in the Snow and Asteroid Field and other bits.

What a glorious score.

Unbelievably, near the end, people got up to leave before the end credits began playing.

Now, if only someone does Goldsmith’s Star Trek the Motion Picture.


I_play_trombone_AMA t1_j2ot15d wrote

I stay and watch the credits for any movie with a great score, even when I’m seeing it at the movie theater. It’s free. Why get up and leave if the music is good??? Glad you enjoyed Empire! That was one of my favorites to play, but also one of the most difficult.


yvrelna t1_j2mwpzf wrote

If the movie heavily relies on rock music, then they can just have a rock band play the live music instead of an orchestra. Or maybe it could be some members of the orchestra may also be rock players, if both types of music are in the movie.


I_play_trombone_AMA t1_j2n0iy9 wrote

> If the movie heavily relies on rock music, then they can just have a rock band play the live music instead of an orchestra.

Yes, they could do that, but then an orchestra wouldn’t put it on their own concert schedule and it wouldn’t be an orchestra event, which is fine. It would just change the type of event it is.

> Or maybe it could be some members of the orchestra may also be rock players, if both types of music are in the movie.

This is pretty rare in the orchestra world. Most members of professional orchestras have specialized degrees in orchestral performance, and have spent tens of thousands of hours practicing their instrument. The sheer amount of time required mostly precludes people from playing more than one instrument at a professional level (unless they’re very similar, like flute and piccolo, or clarinet and bass clarinet). There may be someone in the orchestra who plays guitar for fun, but the chances of that person actually being good enough at guitar to perform a movie score for paying audience members is vanishingly small. Everyone you see on stage at an orchestra concert has dedicated their life and career to mastering one instrument and learning as much as they possibly can about it.


Worried_Astronaut_41 t1_j2qtok9 wrote

Sometimes there's 2 soundtracks the score with just orchestra and the soundtrack with say rock pop or main songs 🎵.


Squrton_Cummings t1_j2ooqso wrote

I've been to Bugs Bunny at the Symphony, the frenetic pacing of Looney Tunes cartoons makes it a level beyond even doing a live movie score. It was absolutely amazing and a big part of that was just knowing it was basically the orchestra version of the decathlon.


I_play_trombone_AMA t1_j2oqufx wrote

Yes! I’d love to do the Bugs Bunny concerts. Haven’t had the chance yet. But I grew up on those old cartoons and would love to play all that. Glad you were aware what a challenge it was for the orchestra!


Squrton_Cummings t1_j2oy1c3 wrote

The conductor/show presenter does a really good job of educating the audience. Each break between cartoons is a little presentation on some aspect of the history of Warner Bros., the unique instruments they use or some other technical aspect of the show like the click track.


JacobDCRoss t1_j2pqfm8 wrote

Here in Portland they did at least one showing of some of the old Superman cartoons. The showing featured (IIRC) live music, and it also had some local personalities doing the voice work live.


peteroh9 t1_j2nbvvw wrote

I'll keep this in mind, but without further context, it's really just a bit of trivia to me. How is it different than symphonies or other pieces that were meant to be played straight through?


I_play_trombone_AMA t1_j2ncyhh wrote

In any art form there’s the art, but also the craft. You can have the best idea or theme for a painting, but if you don’t understand the craft of mixing paints to make the right shade, you probably won’t become a well regarded painter.

As a composer you can have an amazing idea or even an amazing melody, but if you don’t understand how to write it in a way that real musicians can play, it won’t be a successful musical work.

So practically that means things like having enough rests in the parts so players aren’t playing too much without a break. Writing parts not just in the high register which may be more physically taxing. Not having a melody in one clarinet that’s accompanied by the entire brass section, because it wouldn’t get heard without microphones and amplification.

There are plenty more examples I could come up, with but those are a few that don’t work well for live performance, but are easily overcome in the world of studio recording where you can adjust the balance any way you want, or stop and re record passages at will, or save the upcoming difficult passage to record tomorrow when everyone’s fresh again.

That doesn’t mean that film scores aren’t great art. It just means that they weren’t designed with the same “live performance” type requirements in mind. The craft of film scoring is a bit different than the craft of writing a symphony.


peteroh9 t1_j2nfphh wrote

That's really helpful, especially the part about having the entire brass section accompany a single clarinet. Were you thinking of a specific movie when you mentioned that or is it fairly common?


I_play_trombone_AMA t1_j2nj9eo wrote

No, nothing specific. But balancing the orchestra is one of the things we spend the most time on for live concerts, and it’s something that you don’t really have to worry about as much (but still should be considered) when doing studio work. So it was just an example I thought of that comes up from time to time.


SocialMediaMakesUSad t1_j2qerlm wrote

I can clearly understand how they weren't designed that way, but what makes it difficult to play? Don't they play regular concerts that are that long with no breaks or one break in the middle?


I_play_trombone_AMA t1_j2rpdes wrote

Check my other comments for more on this, but the biggest factor is not how long a concert is, but how much continuous playing is expected of people within the concert. Live music is designed with rests built into the parts to get a few seconds off here and there. Film scores are often written with more continuous playing because in the studio you wouldn’t play the whole thing start to finish. You’d do a few minutes, stop, listen, do a few more, etc.


CamelSpotting t1_j2q688t wrote

So that's why lord of the rings is so rare. That would be a serious marathon.


I_play_trombone_AMA t1_j2rp4wp wrote

Add to that fact that most movie concerts like this are contractually limited to 3 hours, or else the musicians need to be paid overtime. LOTR Fellowship of the Ring is 2 hours 58 minutes. Add in an intermission, and all of a sudden you’re over the 3 hour time limit and paying a lot extra for overtime.


baumpop t1_j2ooh1h wrote

Welcome to live music baby. Most bands play for hours at a time without the accompaniment or sheet music. All in the noggin.


I_play_trombone_AMA t1_j2oqmia wrote

> Welcome to live music baby.

Thanks? I’ve been doing this job for more than a decade at this point.

> Most bands play for hours at a time without the accompaniment or sheet music. All in the noggin.

The difference between “most bands” and a professional symphony orchestra is that most bands have a repertoire of a few dozen songs which they memorize and play again and again. It’s easy to memorize things when you play the same few repeatedly.

But professional orchestras learn 1-3 new concerts worth of music every week. If it’s a big masterworks week, we probably only learn one set of music. Like an overture, concerto, and a symphony. But in some weeks we might play a kids show, then a light classics concert, then a pops concert all in the same week.

So a masterworks schedule might look like 5 rehearsals and 3 concerts of all the same music in a week. Then we are done with that music and doing something else the next week.

A busier week might be one rehearsal and one concert of kids show music, then the next day two rehearsals of light classics, then the following day two light classics concerts, then the following day a pops rehearsal and concert, then the last day two more pops concerts. So that’s 3 sets of music we’ve learned all within one week.

So when you have only a few rehearsals to learn something, perform it, then show up next week and learn and perform an entirely new set of music, sheet music becomes really important, and it’s not feasible to memorize something you’re only going to play for one week.

I’m not saying one is better or worse. It’s just different. Musical acts that play the same music repeatedly can memorize it more easily. If you play new music every week, it’s not practical to memorize.


PubeSmoker69 t1_j2nivr7 wrote

This comment makes no sense. Professional musicians do long and complicated concerts all the time. Operas for example. Idk what your point even is.

They also take breaks for these orchestra screenings if the films are long. I went to a LOTR one and there were two breaks.


I_play_trombone_AMA t1_j2njvcs wrote

Hey, thanks, /u/PubeSmoker69 for explaining to me how I know nothing about the field that I work in! I mentioned in another comment about some of the differences between music written to be recorded in a studio and music written to be played live. But to reiterate: one of the biggest differences between a movie score and an opera is usually the amount of rests built in to each individual part. Composers writing for live orchestra know that players need rests from time to time, so they’ll have the violins sit out for 32 bars while the woodwinds play a bit.

Intermission is great for taking a break, and of course, movies and operas can both have them, but you still need the little “micro breaks” within the playing portion of a concert to let your body rest and get ready for the next big passage.

I’m not saying ALL movies are scored that way, but that sometimes movie composers don’t build in the same amount of small rests that a concert composer may, and it definitely makes our jobs more challenging.


PubeSmoker69 t1_j2nm1ho wrote

PS: i didnt mean to disrespect you or your profession. I’m a musician myself. Sorry if i offended you.


PubeSmoker69 t1_j2nlsdv wrote

Soundtracks like star wars, LOTR, harry potter (which are the only ones i’ve seen being played around my area) are very much like classical composed pieces of music. There is absolutely rests built into those soundtracks. Not every single instrument is playing 100% of the time.

I kinda see what your point is, but I dont feel like it’s somehow impossible or ruthless for professional musicians to pull something like that off. Sure, it’s challenging, but so are many other professions.


I_play_trombone_AMA t1_j2nohiy wrote

You’re right that every profession has its challenges. But every profession also has its give and take. Tax accountants might be really busy and not have a lot of rest from February-April (in the US), but the rest of the year may be a little calmer.

I’m not saying that every concert should be easy, but that as music has progressed through history, so have the demands placed on players. Mozart wrote some great music, but I wouldn’t call most of what he wrote “heavy” repertoire. It’s definitely difficult, and takes a lot of skill to play, but at least personally, I don’t have to rely on raw strength to play Mozart in the same way that I do when I play something like Mahler.

To give a specific example of how a movie might be different than a symphony or an opera: a few years ago we played the soundtrack to Home Alone. The beginning of the movie has some orchestral moments, but also plenty of rests. It’s not that difficult for most of the movie. As the movie progresses and gets into the finale where Kevin defends his home with all the booby traps the score gets more and more difficult, with less and less rest, and more constant playing. The end of Home Alone is basically 20-30 minutes of nonstop playing and barely a moment to catch your breath. This is the part of the movie that is really difficult for players.

In an opera or a symphony, composers could write the exact same amount of notes and rests for the orchestra, but they’d be more likely to be spaced out over the course of the entire evening, and not all crammed into one huge stretch of hardly any rest.

Thanks for being kind and explaining that you didn’t mean to offend. I appreciate that! This is just my own experience. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, so if you don’t personally find playing a movie score any harder than playing an opera, more power to you!


DCmusicfan t1_j2nuj4h wrote

Also the orchestra can play an arrangement that is more suited to a live play through.


cainmarko t1_j2m9fsm wrote

I watched Gladiator at the Royal Albert Hall with a live orchestra, and can confirm it's pretty freaking cool.


amitrion t1_j2o6srl wrote

Holy cow! This is a thing?! I want to go... sadly, not in the US. Arrg


daredeviline t1_j2o7n31 wrote

It definitely does happen in the US. I live in Cincinnati and they had a lord of the rings one a few years ago. Keep your eye out!


ThePortalsOfFrenzy t1_j2osmms wrote

I believe they were saying "sadly, [I'm not] in the US."

Common spoken vernacular doesn't always translate to typed comments, and this is a common example. I've gotten myself in the habit of keeping pronouns in my reddit comments.


HeavyLogix t1_j2paapg wrote

The above link the person you responded to was talking about in their comment was a link to the New Jersey symphony….


saltyDragonfly t1_j2oastg wrote

Saw Jurassic Park with a live orchestra in the states, its awesome.


unshavenbeardo64 t1_j2occag wrote

Now i see an orchestra running through high grass and being picked out one by one by a pack of Velociraptors.


Regret_the_Van t1_j2obct6 wrote

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra did one this past weekend with Ghostbusters as the movie they were playing to. I didn't know about it until it was too late because it sounded fun AF


GargantuanGorgon t1_j2q9npm wrote

I'm kind of curious to see some epic film like gladiator prepared for orchestra accompaniment, but with no orchestra. Like, the whole film without music. You never get to see finished films like that and I'd be interested to see just exactly how much you lose (I'm guessing a lot).


anotherlost-one t1_j2tptsf wrote

OMG that must of sound amazing especially the echos that you get when indoors


yvrelna t1_j2men93 wrote

Actually, that's just how movies used to be.

We figured out how to record and play film long before we figured out how to record and play music/dialogue in sync with the movie. In the age of silent cinemas, it used to be that theatres would have an orchestra playing live music to accompany the film.


bayesian13 t1_j2mf8v2 wrote

to me its a good thing to see this sort of thing coming back.  

i think people are hungry for real authentic experiences. live performance. i recently saw the radio city music hall christmas spectactular and hated it. it was basically canned music with a bunch of people lip syncing. i don't like the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade for the same reason.


Clanstantine t1_j2mz03z wrote

My local orchestra did fellowship of the ring last summer and next summer they're doing two towers


GargantuanGorgon t1_j2q9fwt wrote

Oh man that's epic. When the Rohirrim arrive at Helm's Deep, goosebumps. And then Return of the King, the ending, fuggedaboudit, there won't be a dry eye in the house.


mushinnoshit t1_j2octx6 wrote

Yeah I watched It Follows with Disasterpeace doing a live accompaniment in the cinema, it was pretty epic


CactusBoyScout t1_j2p7pkr wrote

Yeah I saw the NY Phil do Koyaanisqatsi live and it was mind-blowing.


GargantuanGorgon t1_j2q8viz wrote

Whoa now that's a score worth the trip out to see live. Did they do the Gregorian chant parts too?


Stillwater215 t1_j2pqoui wrote

I’ve seen a number of these! The Boston Symphony Orchestra typically does a couple of these events every season.


72517g t1_j2qdmvb wrote

The Dallas symphony did LOTR, one movie per year for 3 years. Must've been exhausting for the musicians. Surely it was the theatrical, so it wasn't 4 hours at a time.


Amaranth_devil t1_j2o4pg0 wrote

This is so awesome! I cannot believe that I'm this many years old before finding out that this exists!


MiyagiDough t1_j2m6frr wrote

I actually have once. It was cool.


BrokenEye3 t1_j2m7qny wrote

What, like a whole band, or just an organist?


MiyagiDough t1_j2mbxvo wrote

So it was a bit of a cheat statement in that it wasn't a traditional film. Probably more like a laser show but it was all CGI. The film came with a soundtrack and we were showing it on a domed cinema for a month, the last few weekends we got a live band to come in and play over it.


AlienDelarge t1_j2npirs wrote

The one I went to was the Oregon Symphony Orchestra playing Star Wars to the movie.


Misuzuzu t1_j2nyp1h wrote

I once saw a screening of Harry Potter accompanied by a live orchestra.


Schyte96 t1_j2mop3n wrote

I have been exactly once. It wasn't a band, just one musician with an accordion. Fitting for the Buster Keaton silent movie I guess. It was a fun experience.


wandering-monster t1_j2n2i8g wrote

If you look around your area, there's probably an opportunity!

Especially look for old silent films. I saw Metropolis with a live piano accompaniment, and it really is different in some ineffable way.

Like I'd seen it before and didn't find it all that engaging. But in that show it felt more exciting somehow, and held my attention the entire time.


Ghost4000 t1_j2no5ot wrote

I saw the original star wars trilogy with a live orchestra. It was pretty cool.


miffy495 t1_j2okj3j wrote

Aw man, it's fun as hell. I used to work projection in university and we did special events with old silent movies completely re-scored by local bands. Nosferatu with a psychobilly outfit was the high water mark. Great times.


jyper t1_j2m8ci0 wrote

I have but it was an outdoor screening and often to accompany a so bad it's fun movie


maaseru t1_j2n63kl wrote

Wasn't there a Farrelly brothers movie that actually had like a band playing throughout the movie?


mouse6502 t1_j2o4oj3 wrote

Oh definitely check that out. They do a back To The Future one and play over the entire movie, Silvestri’s score pops!!!


macbeezy_ t1_j2oamty wrote

There’s a Star Wars symphony I desperately want to see. They play the music live and it’s a bucket list of mine.


ThaneOfCawdorrr t1_j2qr6a4 wrote

Even more to the point, tons of movie soundtracks are now generated by electronics rather than a live orchestra, so they were absolutely right.


speaks_truth_2_kiwis t1_j2o9cpr wrote

>Well they weren't wrong, I've never been to a movie with a live band.

How about a live recording?


rustcatvocate t1_j2okust wrote

They do them at the Meyerson. Seen Jurassic Park, Toy Story and a few others. 10/10.


DreadPirateGriswold t1_j2meuhh wrote

One interesting thing is that this argument continues today but regarding live music on Broadway.

Producers are constantly looking to shrink the amount of musicians in the pits of Broadway shows preferring to use recordings presumably to save money. But the quality of the show with live musicians is so much better.


nick_rhoads01 t1_j2n5v11 wrote

What’s makes the recording quality worse? Wouldn’t it be nearly the same?


DreadPirateGriswold t1_j2na0gz wrote

Thanks for asking. Good question.

This isn't even touching on the long-standing Broadway tradition of providing live music for performances.

When you have recorded music, it's the same every time. Obviously. And there are good things to say about that.

You record it once in a studio and it's done. And you can do as many takes as necessary to get the quality you want. You can't vary it even slightly per performance.

But when you have a pit of musicians, the conductor is free to change tempos and pull out more emotions from the musicians, and essentially mix the music in real time by telling certain sections to bring their parts out or be a little more quiet.

All that translates to a better quality, humanized, energetic, and emotional performance. And pro musicians add an amazing amount of quality when playing live. Plus, playing music through a sound system, no matter how technologically advanced is not superior to live instruments playing in the same room.

The trade off is a slight bit more consistency with a recording vs. a better, more emotional, humanistic performance live.

It's like saying, "Why do I need to go see a 90+ musician symphony perform in a concert hall when I can listen to the studio recording?"

Had another thought on live music vs. recorded... A lot of symphonies are now presenting popular movies like Star Wars, The Princess Bride, Singin' In The Rain, etc. and playing the soundtracks live, under the movie while the movie is playing.

They've been doing this for a few decades now and it's getting a lot more popular. They usually present a few performces of a few movies every year. It's a really cool performance if you can attend.

But it's a big difference hearing a 90+ musician symphony orchestra playing the music live vs. in a movie theater or on a big screen TV at home.


vibraltu t1_j2ndxqy wrote

Good explanation. Seen some musicals with canned (pre-recorded) backing tracks, and the undertone really tends to sound kinda stiff (edit: compared to pit band music, which is more lively).

Of course, a lot of pop megastars use canned tracks, and they intentionally compensate with flashing lighting effects and pyrotechnics.


DreadPirateGriswold t1_j2nodek wrote

Oh I agree. I know someone who went from classically trained vocalist in musical theater in college, to national musical theater touring star, to Broadway star, to one of the top agents for TV, Hollywood, and Broadway. If I could tell you who he reps, you'd be amazed.

He has always had super professional performing chops. He told me once that the biggest weakness singing performers have now, as recording artists or in musical theater, is most of them have never been trained classically as vocalists with a voice teacher so they cannot hold notes out for any decent length of time in tune. They never learned to breath correctly while singing or using their ears, nose, throat, respiratory system, and diaphragm correctly. Most of the top performers have been well-trained BTW.

So they learned to compensate with vocal ornamentation so they don't have to. I've seen that SO many times and as a musician, it always irks me when performers overdo vocal ornamentation. Same feeling I get when I hear Kenny G on saxophone. Ugghh...


sluuuurp t1_j2oee01 wrote

It might be more emotional because you know there are humans performing it.

But I doubt you could identify it as more emotional in a blind sound test. The sound is recorded with the same microphones and is played through the same speakers, it will sound identical in both cases. (This is assuming that most seats hear sound from speakers rather than from the instruments directly, which I believe is a fair assumption for most seats in most broadway theaters.)

This is basically the same idea as why people go to see the real Mona Lisa rather than a reprint. It looks 100% identical in every way, but knowing that it’s the real thing rather than a reproduction makes a difference anyway.


DreadPirateGriswold t1_j2ohi2y wrote

With all due respect, people who are even hobbyist musicians can definitely tell the difference between live and recorded under those conditions. The general public? You're right, prob not.

On Broadway, the ensemble/pit is mic'd but not necessarily every musician individually. It's usually a combo of electronic amplification and natural sound acoustics. In most theaters, the pit is suituated in front and below the stage as has been the standard in theater design since theaters were all live using no electronic amplification.


sluuuurp t1_j2ohp55 wrote

If they aren’t using speakers to amplify the musicians you could probably tell the difference. But in broadway theaters they’re likely doing a lot of amplification which would make live and recorded sound the same.


ilvostro t1_j2pssq5 wrote

I'd heard Star Spangled Banner a hundred times in my life and felt absolutely no emotion whatsoever, but the very first time I heard it played by a live symphony orchestra I was crying by the sixth note. There's a difference.


sluuuurp t1_j2pw02g wrote

That’s probably because you knew it was live, not just because the sound was different. Music isn’t just about the sounds our ears hear, it’s also about the context and our state of mind when we hear it.


LSF604 t1_j2qs25i wrote

a live orchestra just sounds different than something over a sound system. Its not just a matter of knowing its live.

Probably something to do with dozens of analog sources of sound generated right there vs digital sound coming out of relatively few speakers.


sluuuurp t1_j2qtbai wrote

I agree, but broadway shows use tons of amplification so I’m not sure if the same thing applies there. For a traditional unamplified orchestra I agree.


LSF604 t1_j2qvd71 wrote

perhaps, although I don't know if pit orchestras require amplification or not. I've done pit orchestras in amateur theater, and those never used amplification. Obviously broadway is a bit bigger. I don't recall the pit being micd up at any big shows I have seen, but they may have been.


vibraltu t1_j2nczu8 wrote

I recall when the Musician's Union in New York protested against the use of string machines (polyphonic keyboard synthesizers) on Broadway in the late 1970s/early 1980s.


DreadPirateGriswold t1_j2nol8b wrote

Excellent point! I remember it went back decades. Just didn't know it went back that long. Thanks!


kevronwithTechron t1_j2o6t2m wrote

Might as well just record the stage performers on video as well. Maybe they can make one definitive video cut and stream it to my house so I can watch it in my pajamas.

That's kind of an odd place to use recorded music. If I'm paying the outrageous price to see a live Broadway show I'd want to hear live music.


GoofAckYoorsElf t1_j2o5j6c wrote

This argument continues everywhere where new principles, techniques and technologies emerge, and people only see the dangers for themselves, not the benefits for everyone including themselves.


[deleted] t1_j2mwpdy wrote



tenemu t1_j2mxzrv wrote

What if it’s not that simple. What if people stopped attending because of the price, so the producers needed to find a way to cut cost. Either drop the show entirely and pay no one, or limit/drop the live band?


DreadPirateGriswold t1_j2myvil wrote

Reducing live music on Broadway shows started happening a long time ago, like a decade or more. It's not a recent cost cutting measure.

Edit for clariry: Thought I was pretty clear on this. The cost cutting by reducing live musicians on Broadway, trying to replace them with recorded music has been going on for decades. This is not new. Musicians are always fighting this.


monkeybeast55 t1_j2n4nxj wrote

To kind of echo what @tenemu said, making something economically viable (i.e. "pay the rent") is not (necessarily) to "fill their own pockets". Broadway shows are already pretty expensive, and I doubt that most of those that are involved are living in mansions as it is.


Zinjifrah t1_j2nzmpo wrote

Aren't you literally making the same argument as the musicians for movies?


kevronwithTechron t1_j2o74y4 wrote

I think that's a little different. With video technology there's no need to go buy theater tickets for a show. The entire industry is already obsolete to begin with.


Zinjifrah t1_j2of622 wrote

I'm no expert on whether theater is obsolete. They seem to do well enough in NYC. Can't speak to the industry though. Doesn't really change the fact that op was literally saying the same thing about theater shows that live musicians were saying about movies without a hint of irony.


MAD6658 t1_j2qjfcd wrote

I can't say that I agree. I've been to dozens of shows on and off Broadway, and I'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between a live orchestra and a high quality recording.


Klunket t1_j2m96ot wrote

Well, they weren’t wrong. As soon as movies had the sound track baked in you didn’t see musicians at theatres any more


tzomby1 t1_j2ov0z5 wrote

nah I still see a couple of them, they are just there to watch the movie but still


smileymn t1_j2n00qx wrote

Well they were right, it was the Great Depression and due to radio, “talkies,” and other changes in technology a lot of musicians lost their performing jobs.


MRCHalifax t1_j2p3fv3 wrote

Yep. It used to be that if you wanted to hear live music, you went to listen to local musicians. Perhaps you joined a choir, religious or secular. Maybe you went to see a military band - and that the military got to listen to a lot of music was a big recruiting tool. Maybe you went to local concerts, or you and a bunch of families gathered to watch your children all sing and play instruments. Maybe you went to kitchen parties where someone had a fiddle. And there was certainly no skipping church, with all the wonderful music there! And then came the radio, and we gained the ability to hear music all the time, from professional musicians, and a lot of musical our culture faded away.

But that’s what happens when technology does it’s thing. The printing press put scribes out of work. Paper making technique improvements mostly eliminated the need for vellum. Books aren’t bound by hand anymore. We have much less live theatre due to TV and movies. Local journalism suffers when people can get news from around the world. Computer animation has substantially replaced hand drawn animation.

I’m sure that there are even things we can’t talk about here until the 2040s that are going to impact act and culture.

For better and for worse, innovation kills jobs, and innovation creates new jobs.


BrokenEye3 t1_j2lzz5o wrote

If we were to accept that argument, wouldn't going around recording as much music as possible run exactly contrary to their stated goals?


Profanion OP t1_j2m18o1 wrote

They argued that you need to record every song only once while live bands have to play it every time.

Such as how in theaters you need to constantly perform the act, as opposed in movies where, once the movie production is finished, you don't need to perform anymore for that movie.


PizzaQuest420 t1_j2obr2f wrote

fair enough, but they didn't taken into account that audible spoken dialogue would be absolutely crucial to the modern movie experience for the past 90 years. and the amount of movies playing in theaters at any time of day meant there was no way live bands could cover all the screenings.


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EXPLODODOG t1_j2mnged wrote

There was a similar feeling in the late 70s/early 80s when synthesizers became popular inexpensive replacements for live musicians during concert tours. It is easier to use a keyboard player instead of a set of strings or horns. The musicians unions were upset about that. Neil Young wrote a song called "Union Man" about that which included the line: "Live music is better / bumper stickers should be issued."

It kind of shifts back and forth even now. McCartney has toured in recent years with a live brass section whereas he had mainly used synths during the 80s-2010ish. Every now and then Brian Wilson would travel with entire string and horn sections, but sometimes not and just use synths. I think there are plenty of other examples from that era of music, too.

I'm bummed those folks are about at the end of their career... Getting to see them (especially Wilson) with all those instruments on stage was pretty incredible.


suffaluffapussycat t1_j2n33b8 wrote

Yeah, it’s funny how synthesizers had a bad rap in the ‘70s.

My dad took me to see a Moog demonstration at a local music store in about ‘78. My dad loved all kinds of gee-whiz futurology stuff. He wasn’t a musician but I was.

The guy from Moog had a whole spiel about how people should keep an open mind because Moogs didn’t have a “sound” and that they could sound like anything: a violin or a flute (then he would demonstrate these sounds). Which is hilarious because Moogs never sold in great numbers because of their accuracy at mimicking other instruments; they’re popular specifically for the Moog sound.

I recall reading a story about very early rhythm machines that were made to accompany live musicians and I think there was talk of placing a tariff on such items with the proceeds going to support union musicians.


fraghawk t1_j2nv0ck wrote

>recall reading a story about very early rhythm machines that were made to accompany live musicians and I think there was talk of placing a tariff on such items with the proceeds going to support union musicians.

And then you had guys like Phil Collins who saw increased success after figuring out "I can use these drum machines for their weird sounds and computerized precision while I simultaneously keep physically druming."


EXPLODODOG t1_j30e13t wrote

I don't think the point of any of this is to criticize the technology or the unique ways it could be used to create something new. All of the greatest artists used tech advancements for that purpose. The issue people had was when they used the technology to replace actual players with instruments. A human string quartet is always going to sound greater than a synthesized version


trucorsair t1_j2mzaoa wrote

Would have been nice if the article had gone into any detail as to when the AFM threw in the towel…


smileymn t1_j2mzvqa wrote

There was the AFM recording ban in the early 1940s, basically no music was recorded for over a year.


timg528 t1_j2nqofe wrote

That must have sucked for the musicians, but I can say with certainty that for most of my life, I wouldn't have been able to afford going to the movie theater if there were live music.


nomber789 t1_j2nfeu9 wrote

This is a great argument framework to remember when discussing people with illogical arguments. One of the most effective ways to meaningful change someone's mind/position is to use their framework against them.

For example, the argument of we should keep coal power plants/mines/etc because changing would put them out of work. Memorize a few of these for various frameworks, and go change the world one calm discussion at a time!


MaxBandit t1_j2nihnb wrote

People will never change their mind on things that affect their livelihoods. Even if it makes the planet better/progresses humanity, it'll put them out of a job they're used too/rely on, so change = bad


Evilbob93 t1_j2nh8k8 wrote

This is basically the opposite of the argument that the "record" companies make today.
When the big music companies get up in arms about music piracy, it's not often acknowledged that being paid multiple times for one performance wasn't always a thing. It's only been a thing for a hundred years or so.
I have long suspected that sometime in the early parts of the 1900s, someone must have written something about it. i suspected i would find it in the letters to the editor of some scanned newspaper, but finding that there was a whole movement about it really confirms it for me.
New rabbit hole to explore, now that i know the name i am looking for.


Loive t1_j2of0p1 wrote

I have a neighbor who co-wrote a hit song for one of the biggest boy bands in the 1990’s. After she had proven herself as a songwriter she got a record contract as a performer, and has had pretty good success. She still does the occasional record and tour, and is on TV sometimes.

She told me about it when we heard the boy band song on the radio in my backyard. That song has paid for everything in her life since it became a hit. All of her income from her own records and tours have gone into her retirement fund. The income took a hit when Spotify became a thing, but she still gets enough money to get by from streaming and YouTube. She lives a fairly normal middle class life (except she only works a 2-3 months every few years) based on two days of work she did in the mid 1990’s.

While she is a really nice person, it’s totally bizarre that someone could earn a lifetime of money in two days. I don’t think it’s possible to make that kind of mom today without record sales and 24 hour music TV, but for a few decades, there was serious bank to be made for those who had the skill and luck to get into the business.


Evilbob93 t1_j3026fx wrote

Writing a hit song is definitely a license to print money for someone. It gets its own stream that only goes to one place, basically. A given performance isn't compensated nearly as well because it has to be split between more than one person usually.

You could still make that, but it's harder to get something that has staying power or that stands out that much. Oh yeah, and lawyers.


Loive t1_j30uhun wrote

The most streamed song ever on Spotify is Blinding Lights by The Weeknd, with 3.3 billion streams. Only that one and Shape of You by Ed Sheeran has reached 3 billion streams, so they are the heaviest hitters with a wide margin.

Payment per stream varies a bit, but on average it is 0.004 cents per stream. That means Blinding Lights has earned about 13 million dollars on Spotify. The record company has of course taken a big share of that, while the rest would be split between the 5 writers. Thus the would end up with about $2 million each, before taxes. Certainly good sum of money, but not enough to live on for the rest of your life.

There are of course more streaming services, but they are all smaller than Spotify so there might be about the same amount coming from them if you add it all up.


Caldwing t1_j2n31o9 wrote

Like in every other field technology slowly makes it possible for fewer and fewer people to do more and more. This makes more and more people superfluous. The percentage of the human race that is now truly needed to grow all the food. build everything, maintain everything, and provide all entertainment is actually pretty small. I am only estimating but it's maybe like 1 in 4. The only reason most people work is because our economic model forces a huge amount of needless labour by making everything a competition.


hitssquad t1_j2n7s19 wrote

> This makes more and more people superfluous.

Then global unemployment must have reached 100% 10,000 years ago, and stayed there:

###Make-Work Bias

> I was an undergraduate when the Cold War ended. I still remember talking about military spending cuts with a conservative student. The whole idea made her nervous; she had no idea how a market economy would absorb the discharged soldiers. In her mind, to lay off 100,000 government employees was virtually equivalent to disemploying 100,000 people for life.


Caldwing t1_j2tmhan wrote

I'm not saying they don't have jobs I am saying those jobs themselves are a waste of time.


Welshhoppo t1_j2ndsxw wrote

This is not the place to discuss AI art until at least 2043.


ARedLemming t1_j2o6lzm wrote

What a double standard regarding their position on music in films. They were keen to exploit a medium that put actors out of work (according to their logic) yet protested when the same process was applied to them.


PizzaQuest420 t1_j2oct9y wrote

obviously that is a true statement, the live theater band gig is dead, but they didn't taken into account that as movies became more popular, the amount of movies playing in theaters at any time of day meant there was no way live bands could cover all the screenings. they also didn't realize that audible spoken dialogue would be absolutely crucial to the modern movie experience (for the past ~95 years). recorded sound was inevitable in the evolution of movies as pop culture.


kchoze t1_j2oke2y wrote

Well... they weren't wrong. Since music became easily accessible on recorded formats, live music has fallen a lot in popularity and smaller artists who previously would have had decent lives playing in their home region now are eclipsed by big artists with more talent and money to develop their sound. Not saying it should have been banned, but what they were afraid of did come to pass.


LynxJesus t1_j2omdlt wrote

People used to sit in train stations all day punching holes in passengers' tickets. There was some conservative fear about these jobs being lost when that task became automated.


bossanova22 t1_j2oruqj wrote

I'm a musician making a living off of recorded and live music. My limited experience with traditional cultures, and how live music and dance function in their communities, does make me think critically about the side effects of music recording and the commerce of music.


WilliamMorris420 t1_j2pvsi2 wrote

From the wiki page of The Jazz Singer linked in the article.

>On January 1, 2023, The Jazz Singer's U.S. copyright expired, when all works published in 1927 entered the public domain.

Steamboat Willie came out in 1928. Which was the first ever appearence of Mickey Mouse. Which Disney is going to hate.


Elegyjay t1_j2qazba wrote

A friend of mine in the TV & movie business points out that now the same fight is being waged over possible AI production of entire movies and TV properties with NO actors or voice-overs or live production resources.


ParadoxalAct t1_j2qrk5d wrote

Why can't we speak about AI in this thread ? It's very much related to this topic so I don't see a reason to censor that..


QuestioningEspecialy t1_j2o6jyv wrote

Is all discussion centered around AI art in relation to this being deleted?


CokeDigler t1_j2ov0lw wrote

You can imagine the dorks of that time "it is only a real experience for me with live music" and "speakers hurt my ears and give me headaches"


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UniverseBear t1_j2pp3rw wrote


Visual artists: having a machine creating art will ruin us!

Musicians: first time?