Attention Virtual Musicians! Is it Live or is it Memorex?

A while back I wrote a blog post on my other blog that was inspired by a song by Second Life performer Strum Diesel called “It All Belongs” In a nutshell the song and that blog post are about how there is a place for everything musically.. I was tired of hearing people complain about whats live music and whats not.

Strum Diesel at Castaway Cove on Live n Kickin

But there is one aspect of “Live Music in Virtual Worlds” that still bothers me.

Recently a friend of mine hired a musician to do a gig at her venue. I was with her when we discovered this musician in a music related sim on Secondlife we found the musician’s website, listened to some original tracks and loved what we heard. Yes I know people post their best recorded work on their websites and they usually sound a little bit different when they play live; but you can usually get a fairly good idea from listening to the recording weather or not you might want to hear them live..

My friend hired the musician and he/she showed up for the gig which was

Noma Falta on Live n Kickin

supposed to be live……. It turned out to be all recorded music vocals, instruments.. everything. Before I go on.. I have no problem with a backtrack as long as there is some live aspect to a performance..preferably the vocals need to be live?

This musician represented him/herself as performing live. It was not live. You could hear the musician mistakenly talk over their own recorded vocals.

I think to do this is a huge disservice to (musicians like Noma and Strum  pictured here who do perform live and I highly recommend) that do strive for excellence in each performance.

Unfortunately people tend to grade things on first impressions and can you imagine coming in to SecondLife for example for the first time and hearing this “fake live performance”? What would you say to your friends about this ..”oh well they play recordings and stand their avatar up there to make it seem like they are doing a live gig but its just a recording.. quaint.”

Why do I /we like live music? Why do I/we like recorded music … ?

Live, you can feel the energy, the passions and the emotion of the song. Live you can feel the musician feeding off the energy of his/her audience. Live you sometimes get chords and riffs and vocal innuendos ..improvisation that you would never hear the same way again. To me, there is nothing better than a live performance.

I have memories of some incredible live performances I have been to in Secondlife that I will never forget. This is why I strive to only book musicains I know will play Live at The Pocket (mentioned here on The A-List Blog) and on Live n Kickin.

I love recorded music too.   I think this short clip here by the recently passed Mississippi-based producer and musician Jim Dickinson describes the recorded advantage better than anything I have seen.

If your a musician in Secondlife or any other virtual setting were we cant see your real face.. Please please please.. If your going to say your live,  be live.  Or just tell everyone your going to play a recording.  Its all good.   There is no need to try and fool anyone.    It doesn’t work. (And if you try and do it to me Ill virtually bop you over the head so hard your mp3 player will quit working..or I just may not tip you.  🙂




15 responses to “Attention Virtual Musicians! Is it Live or is it Memorex?

  • Bliss Windlow

    I think it is about the respect that the musician feels for the fans .. his integrity in how he interprets his responsibility to them. Without that honesty the truth is we have no way of knowing whether someone IS the actual performer or not .. you might as well turn on a tune, get out your barbies and pretend they are singing .. same thing .. only without all the electronic stuff .. cause barbie never came with a mouse …

  • Diana Renoir

    I totally agree. I love live performances. It makes you feel like part of the experience, and isn’t this immerssive world all about experience? If I take the to take time out of my busy schedule and wade through a sea of lag, I want it to be live! I can always turn on my iPod and listen to a recording while I’m working and not be bothered.
    Great post, Delinda!

  • Argus Collingwood

    I agree, Delinda. Hubby is putting together his live show where he will sing and play drums live but will have backing tracks of some of the other parts which may or may done by him. If he manages to get his band into SL then they will become a 4 piece group with a rocking set of all original work. The Tribute shows in SL are sort of fun but are in no way a Live Act. Anyway, here’s a link to Farr’s group live.


    • Delinda Dyrssen

      Oh Argus I cant wait to hear what Farr does.. and I know you guys are connected with the famed 80’s Band Journey… Might we someday hear some guest performers with his band? he he.. That would be cool. Or even a backtrack made for you by Journeys lead guitarist..and Farr could play with.. Thats still creative and mostly live.

  • Nyas

    I love Sl for the live music I see, great, good, average, even bad! the key is live! As a musician who is use to having a full band with me, I struggled to play with just me and a guitar. I have a fully midified state of the art recording studio sitting in front of me, but I decided to ( at first) just get back to basics with me, a guitar and vocal. I will make some backing tracks soon, but the first backing track i made with just some percussion to keep the beat, really infringed on my freedom, and enjoyment as a flowing performance. That may be because my mind tends to wander 😀 I love what Noma and others can do with it, and they have my total support.

    what was the question? Oh ok

    I agree that a fully recorded SL performance is just silly, and I want a refund!

    • Delinda Dyrssen

      Yeah.. Noma Falta is brilliant the way she uses the backtracks that (Big Jim is it?) makes for her. I mean she has a pro making her backtracks but wow can she make it work with her downbeat. I doubt there are many that can do it the way she does. Of course She plays Bass usually and she plays the hell out of it, but she ranges all the way to accapella’s.

  • RAFTWET Jewell

    This is a tough one… live performance has an energy like no other. But, do I judge a musician who lays down tracks over his vocals? Prob not.

    I think we all want to encourage any musician creating music. Not every musician has the resources or the technology to stream completely live! What I hope is that the musicians who claim or advertise “live” performances are truly playing live… mistakes, broken strings, hiccups and anything else that proves its LIVE!

    • Delinda Dyrssen

      Oh I dont want to discourage anyone from performing. The only thing Im saying here is if your going to do a 100% recorded performance or song.. say something!.. Dont try to fool em.

  • Paisley Beebe

    Ah Delinda That Sucks!! What a Ripoff! ….

  • OhMy Kidd

    Just recently I was talking to friends who are not in SL but knew I played music in Second Life, and I was surprised to realise they thought that playing in SL would have to be some kind of recorded performance. They were much more interested when I explained what really happens with a live shoutcast stream etc. I agree with you Delinda, there is room for everything – except deception. Peace and Love.

  • JaNa KYoMooN

    Hey Delinda et al!

    A very interesting post – Here’s my two pennies worth as an electronic artist – often considered to be the “cheaters” in both worlds LOL

    I have been performing music in Second Life since 2006 when I came in to the virtual world with Cypress Rosewood. It was a natural development for pushing the boundaries of on line global collaboration with other artists, both musical and visual, plus a wonderful place to try out and share new music with an extremely receptive audience!

    I do not play guitars or sing. I play ambient meditative music which is captured into my computer using Logic audio software. It is like painting a picture, a real soundscape of moments captured and frozen in time. Preparing these audio paintings takes many hours and layers of work . . I also like to incorporate visuals into my performances where possible and this too takes hours of programming. Technology has opened up new musical opportunities for live performances including incorporating files, samples, loops etc. sent from other artists. It is a true on line creative collaboration!

    So i suppose I would be considered an electronic artist who plays computers playing captured moments in time – which to me IS live music

    In virtual worlds the music is VISUALLY played by pixelated versions of the artist’s psyche – their avatar. It is the intention behind the music and the effect it has on the listeners that matters. All music was live once upon a time. At the end of the day it is a stereo audio experience – the way it arrived on your computer is really of no consequence. It is about how it makes you feel.

    Looking forward to sharing, playing, listening and enjoying the great gift of music on line this weekend
    Thanks Delinda for the opportunites you give musicians to do just that.
    JaNa KYoMooN

  • Delinda Dyrssen

    Jana what you do is incredible.. I love your work. I see it as you painting a picture. Your music feeds off of your energy when you compose it.. and would be one of the exceptions to the rule simply on the basis that it takes so much time to create it . One of the wonderful things you do is you speak with a peaceful voice and compliment the music between the tracks in a way that it all works. Very much like what Cypress does.

  • JaNa KYoMooN

    Thanks Delinda . . my choice of music also depends on the virtual room – you can really sense how the music is interacting with the audience – I do try and programme/write/compose at least one new piece of music for each performance + probably now have at least 150 individual tracks that have come from my method of performing/capturing/mixing in the Second Life Environment. I look on the computer as my “instrument” . . I hope my posts might have helped clarify some misconceptions about live electronic music in the virtual world. Thanks everyone for reading. JaNa

  • Richard Meiklejohn

    Very pleased to see this post… when I first came to SL 4 years ago I immediately wanted to play live music, I loved the truly live acts for the real sense of immersion that it helped create for me. And having seen some acts as you say that claimed to be live that clearly weren’t I was determined that anything I did would be as live as I could make it. I’ve now assembled a folk duo ‘Reel Folk’ and we play weekly shows of irish folk music and songs, sometimes even three of us. Mistakes and all. It has made me a better player and delivered us a good following. I think it is up to the artists to be totally upfront and make sure the audience knows what they are getting.

  • Zak Claxton

    The key, as you and others have pointed out, is honesty. If the audience knows that part or all of the performance is pre-recorded, then it’s up to them to determine if it’s entertaining or not. All we do in SL is entertain people, and some folks just do not get excited over artists who do what I do… play acoustic guitar, harmonica and sing, 100% live, with nothing recorded. They want drums, they want backing vocals, they want it to sound like the stuff they hear on pop radio. If that’s what they want, who am I to say that they’re wrong?

    Personally, I enjoy real live music. I’d rather hear mistakes than pre-recorded perfection… but again, that’s my taste, and I don’t expect that all others will feel the same. Those folks are welcome to go to venues that offer DJs and people who mime to recorded music. If a person loves real live music, though, I welcome them to my shows. 🙂

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