On the Concept of Selling Out

The other day, I was listening to Nitro Game Injection, which is a weekly radio show devoted to covers of video game music. They were doing an interview with pianist Daniel “Kareshi” Brown, and they asked him for this thoughts about the man commonly billed as the Video Game Pianist. Summarized in one sentence, Kareshi’s thoughts were essentially “[The Video Game Pianist], while very technically skilled, seems to be in it for the glory more than the love of video game music”.

The next day, I reflected on Kareshi’s remarks. I don’t personally know The Video Game Pianist, although I have seen him as a part of Video Games Live, a show which I very much enjoyed, so I don’t know how true Kareshi’s assessment really is. But the direction of my thoughts took me to “If he IS in it for the glory, as opposed to love of the music…why is this bad?”

I took my question and decided to expand it further to the concept of “selling out” in the music world. For some reason, it seems that people who listen to music resent the ability of their favorite musicians to make money. For that matter, they resent said musicians ever getting popular. It happens over and over again–a devoted audience clings to a band at the early stages of their career. Eventually, if they’re lucky, the band will attain mainstream popularity–at which point the early devoted audience will invariably, immediately desert them, decrying them as “sellouts”–regardless of whether anything actually changed in the sound of their music.

Part of it, I think, is the thought that the major record labels are somehow “the bad guys”, mega-corporations concerned with making money above all else, including the welfare of the artists. True as this may be, it ignores the history of music and its creation and performance. Picture this: Your humble site administrator/writer/musician gets a job working for Bill Gates. My job description? Essentially, write music just for Mr. Gates, eight hours a day, five days a week. The worst kind of selling out on my part and the worst corruption of music on the part of Mr. Gates? Before you answer, consider that Johann Sebastian Bach, considered one of the greatest composers in history, worked under very similar conditions for a part of his life, for the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, and later for Prince Leopold–music was, literally, his job, and that didn’t seem to stop him from producing great works. And amusingly, sites like Tailored Music are exploring this ancient idea in a 21st century way.

But back to my point. The prevailing attitude today as regards music and money is that they must be mutually exclusive. Furthermore, this attitude must have manifested itself only recently; in times past, as in Bach’s age, this was hardly the case–music-for-payment was practically expected. So what changed? And why is the idea of musicians making money from their work suddenly this taboo concept?

Thoughts? Comments? Exclamations of righteous indignation?

DVD Burning Weirdness

So awhile back I completed a speed run of the NES game Astyanax. I let it sit on my DVD recorder for a bit, and then tried to get it from the recorder’s hard drive onto a DVD. Weirdness then commenced.

On my first attempt, I burned the run, put the DVD into my computer….then realized that I hadn’t finalized the DVD. Oops. Out of the computer and back into the recorder the DVD went and I took care of that step. Out of the recorder and back into my computer…and what the heck happened to my run?!

There was a weird white line at the left edge of the visual area, almost denoting where the recording began. Even stranger, though, was that the recording as a whole had been moved up some, and on the bottom was a row of what appeared to be memory addresses from the game. Well, clearly, this wouldn’t do. Thinking maybe it was somehow due to my forgetting-to-finalize snafu, I went and made a second copy of the disc, following the proper procedure. The line was gone, but the memory addresses remained.

The strange thing is that I can put the disc in the recorder and it’ll play fine–no memory addresses displaying. The same goes for when I put the disc into another DVD player and watch it on another TV–it plays just like it should. The memory address problem only comes up when I watch the disc on my computer. Further, while it’s hard to tell (Because the video quality is awful), this playthrough of the game (Which is slower than mine by a good amount, if you’re curious) suggests that I’m not the only one with this problem–note the row of white below the LF/SP section.

I guess the next step is letting the administration of SDA know about this and asking if there’s anything that can be done about it.

emptyeye.com is live!

Welcome! This is officially my first post at my fancy new website, which, as you can see, is called emptyeye.com. Feel free to have a look around. You can get started by checking out the sidebar, where you can find out about the site, or the person who runs it. You can also check out some of my music from years gone by, e-mail me, or if you have some spare cash, donate to me. I’ll be regularly updating the site, if not with new music, then at least with news from my day-to-day life.

By the way, if you see any issues with the site, feel free to let me know (Also let me know what browser you use). I already fixed one issue where the footer didn’t want to display properly in IE6, and managed to fix the search bar alignment issue that had been nagging me at the same time, which is a plus.