Before the Music Dies (B4MD)

Before the Music Dies (B4MD)

2006, Performing Arts  -   26 Comments
Ratings: 7.63/10 from 24 users.

Before the Music Dies (B4MD)Ever since MTV arrived in our living rooms, there has been an inordinate amount of emphasis on beauty and youth and appearance - none of which enters our consciousness through our ears. Never have so few companies controlled so much of the music played on the radio and for sale at retail stores. At the same time, there are more bands and more ways to discover their music than ever. Music seems to have split in two - the homogeneous corporate product that is spooned to consumers and the diverse independent music that finds devoted fans online and at clubs across the country.

Before the Music Dies tells the story of American music at this precarious moment. Filmmakers Andrew Shapter and Joel Rasmussen traveled the country, hoping to understand why mainstream music seems so packaged and repetitive, and whether corporations really had the power to silence musical innovation. The answers they found on this journey–ultimately, the promise that the future holds–are what makes Before the Music Dies both riveting and exhilarating.

At the heart of Before the Music Dies are interviews with musicians, industry insiders, music critics, and fans that reveal how music has reached this moment of truth. Featured performances from a truly diverse group of artists, ranging from The Dave Matthews Band and Erykah Badu to Seattle street performers and Mississippi gospel singers show us that great music is always out there… as long as you know where to look. Before the Music Dies will renew your passion for great music, and inspire you to play an active part in its future.

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26 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Peter Hill

    we had John Peel in the UK, if you can listen to one of his shows on youtube, the range of his playlist was sublime.

  2. Imightberiding

    Fantastic doc! Time well spent.

  3. Kaleigh Mason

    I love Erykah Badu, She is out of her awesome crazy mind.

  4. Chaz Ed

    This was as expected! First off, I don't want to come off as a hater... I live in Memphis and am hip to a few of the best Blue's players in the area! When you see em live, they will blow you away with what they do! Good Music? Definitely! Radio worthy, well not so much. And really, only a few have seen the success of Pop stars! I didn't grow up around the Blue's or here, I grew up in N. Cali. and no clue as a child what the genre was really about! My introduction to the Blue's was through bands like Cream and Hendrix! If it weren't for that then, and I saw Eric Clapton today, I would consider him good but not great! The half dozen times I had encounters with AR executives and the possibilities of getting signed, it soon revealed what a can of worms the business really is! That for me was in the late 70's in L.A. We had a band then that I considered M.O.R. I compare our music then with Eagle's, James Taylor, or maybe Crosby, Stills Nash and Young! We were a quick hit in town and touted as a top 10 unsigned act at the time! We ended up under the wing of Doug Weston at the Troubadour and so it went for 2 years! No Deal was signed and so much for L.A. The Early 80's found me hanging out the only place that spoke to me then! I wanted to get as far away from the scene and industry as possible! Back in Memphis, at the Antenna Club, and the growing Punk and new music then is where I landed! Things were changing and I went in the flow! The independent labels started up and in my opinion, it's happening more and more everyday! We started our own label and production co and released our record with local play and edged out MTV bands locally, and we were on the way, so it seemed! The cronies again started to rear their insidious heads and instead of promoting us, they wanted to get us out of the picture for fear of cutting into another act they were promoting! Same thing for our late 70's band. Motown offered us a deal that didn't offer a budget with enough teeth to finish and promote anything! The plan the was to shelve us and put us through the ringer with a contract that would bind us for the world! SoundCloud just hit 10 million members or artists or ? I don't listen to the radio, I don't watch TV, although I do catch glimpses of American Idol and such tripe as I pass through on occasion! It has all left me cold and not caring what goes on in the "REAL" world! (add snicker here) For me it's the occasional gig for cash and siting in front of a computer writing both music, (ambient, background and songs with lyrics), and a fiction novel! Tonight, is the Symphony and maybe a little Blue's if one of my fav Bass players in on Beale! Sad that this Doc hit it square on the head! The Stevie Ray's and Muddy Waters are now of a past that led us here! Where it will go is anyone's guess! I believe like anything it will sort itself out and there will always be people that have different tastes! And there will always be people trying to push the masses into a mold and profit! So, whatever you like, go support them! Some of the best musicians I know play for tips and your smile!

    1. Scott Evans

      Dead on. Probably saw you at the Troub. Good to hear you've taken it all in stride. This is a matrix, being part of it would be frightening.

    2. Reshrick

      Bro, your music and the music of the past is the only "Soul" that is left here - Keep it playing, no matter what.

  5. bemoreoriginal

    Crass commercialism in music is not new. It existed in the 50s and 50s - and some of the artists complaining in this film are guilty of it as well. This documentary does not go far enough, dig deep enough, and promotes it's own form of music elitism. They could have promoted truly independent and alternative to the mainstream music. Furthermore, the plea to teach kids about classic rock is ridiculous. Classic Rock is played everywhere because the baby-boomers want to listen to the same 10 bands their whole lives. Lots of creative independent musicians don't get a look in because people still obsess over The Beatles, or ACDC, or Journey! I teach college and as many kids listen to their parent's generation bands as much as anything contemporary. This film is well intentioned, makes points we all know about the music industry, but offers a line of thinking that is just as much part of the problem as part of the solution. There is always good music to be found - you just have to dig deeper for it. You won't find it listening to Bob Dylan over and over!

    1. Trace

      One of the points this film is trying to make, is that things have changed since the 50's. MTV, massive corporations owning most of the radio stations, these types of things . Money has always been a factor in music, but now it's the TOP priority. Modern pop music is about Pretty pop stars(male and female) and simple, catchy tunes custom tailored for max revenue. Over the years, people have complained about how bad the music industry is at that particular time. But I think the way things are going, there might actually be a genuine need for worry. There will always be good, new music. But it would be nice to hear some on the radio, and not Have to dig for it.

    2. Dan Eidsmoe

      I was a huge AC/DC fan back in the day... (middle school, 8 years ago... not too back in the day).... But I tormented my parents to get me a guitar for a year and when i finnaly got one I probably spent hours watching live concerts trying to copy Angus Young. I guess im one of those kids that you teach who where stuck in a collection of CD's that they found in their parents collection but regardless if those bands where sell outs my nieve mind coundn't tell at the time. I think a miss interpretation of this documentary is made when popular music cant be good too. Its whats good to the ears and makes you feel like your in the music. I love Dave Matthews, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, even Ray Charles and BB King but some days Snoop Dog hits the spot. I like the point this documentry has and its a shamed that Snoop Dogs stuff gets played 50 times more then Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run album. The music Industry is really annoying in the fact that even american idol, a talent finder, only takes contestants who feed into this profit making scam on music. I think Dave Matthews is an Ultimate Modern day example of pure music from the heart. ive been to a few of his concerts and they blew my mind. He actually allows people to record songs at his concerts and there is even a web page that has an audio file, free of charge, for every single venue he has played out yet his albums continue to become top bilbord hits. If you produce good music people will buy your stuff reguardless if you can get it for free. true fans buy the CD after they downloaded, get the record to hang up on the wall, and attend the concerts. People support him because he is good and despite all his sucssess, he still remains unseen by the radio. he put it quite clear that he only gets on the radio by request from fans. Good documentary! IM gonna play some guitar now :)


    3. Jeff Blanks

      Alterna-fans can't seem to get over the fact that some people like classic rock. Look, baby boomers DON'T want to hear the same 10 bands their whole lives--the radio industry just wants to *give* their listeners those bands. The classic rock era is a whole lot deeper than that, and the people making it weren't hobbled by the musical ideology of post-punk, either. (I'm not sure many people ever really *loved* Journey in the first place. Lots of people *like* them, but loving them--I dunno.) We're in a post-punk world, not a classic-rock world--why are you complaining?

    4. nevilleross

      This documentary is one white man's attempt to bring back the past because he can't deal with the present or the future, and misses his all rock and roll-only world that he could turn the radio on and listen to. I'll bet the movie bashes EDM (Electronic Dance Music) and electronica because it doesn't have a guitar in it, or drums, and its most likely to be pushing a Disco Demolition Night-type event to happen again (except with pop and rap) in the forlorn hope that his pure white original rock and roll will come back.

      Emma Goldman put it best; 'If I can't dance, I don't want to be a part of your revolution'. I hope that this 'revolution' does not happen; it's just covert white racism and homophobia (as well as ageism against young people) disguised as real concern for the state of music.

    5. K

      Knowledge of the great classic bands inspires future sounds, a lot of modern rock is highly influenced by the rock of the 70s, listen to The Black Keys or The White Stripes for instance, think of all the great contemporary singer-songwriters who loved Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young. Knowledge of the past greats helps us understand the present. And hey it sure is great to blast Blonde on Blonde or Highway 61 Revisited or Blood on The Tracks isn't it?

  6. hpthoroughbreds

    so sorry vlaTko.

  7. hpthoroughbreds

    now THATS how you dance Billy Preston!!! can feel the music just busting out!!!! tx vladko!!!

  8. wald0

    Best doc I have seen on the music industry ever, loved it!! I have been a musician most of my life, and though I never really had the talent to make it I knew and played with peoople that did. They had passion and talent, two things missing in ninety percent of the music I hear now days. But, they didn't look the part and their music didn't fit the model so they are still playing local gigs.

    I haven't listened to the radio in years, I always wondered what changed, now I know. Just like everything else that becomes overly commercialized it was ruined by money. This is why i fight against the privitization of things like education, commercialism never makes thing better because it changes the purpose of what you are doing. You are no longer in education to educate but to make the most money, just like the radio business is no longer there for the sake of exposing us to good music, they are only there to make the most money.

    1. knowledgeizpower

      Thank You you pretty much hit the nail on the head its all about money. No one appreciates real music nowadays I don't think they understand what it is anymore when you don't have to have real talent or passion to make music.

  9. Doug Hale

    This is an awesome documentary! and i love all the artists featured. you know people, who when asked: "what sort of music are you into?" want to say "the sort of music that gets pushed to the sidelines by your drone-like gobbling up of contemptible little pukes like Justin Bieber" but end up saying "all sorts really" this documentary is for them [us]. Im currently writing my thesis on how market concentration inhibits innovation in the recording industry, so this was well useful for the opening gobbits!

  10. Brian Morin

    Good documentary, thanks! - bri <3

  11. Note

    One word that stuck in my mind from this was "Dehumanizing". Cause that's exactly what the music industry is doing to music these days. The record companies, radio companies, and money hungry people in their fancy business suits, they're sucking all the human out of something that is all about being human. Something that was born to express what it's like to be human. Something that reminds people of their precious human emotions, jolts them awake from their tedious robotic life.
    One of my pet peeves has always been when people listen to a piece of music and say "Oh i don't like that, it's too weird". Weird?? Really? What is "weird"? I'll tell you what weird is, it's something that's unfamiliar, something you don't recognize, it's something NEW. How could anyone not want something new, something different. Because they've been told for so long that music is "this". A linear format, an object with a shape, a game with rules. If that object doesn't fit in the hole then it doesn't belong, but i say Music has no shape or form or map, genre or instruction booklet. If it does then it just ain't music.
    I think we have a duty as human beings to open each other's minds every chance we can, with new ideas, new sounds, new words, new ways. It's not a difficult concept. I call it evolution. And it's always drove me up to the ceiling in frustration and sadness to know that people out there are standing on the foot of evolution in the music industry today.
    It's good to watch this doc though, it's nice to know that a lot of other people out there in the world have also been noticing the music quietly, slowly dying in the corner. I hope one day music will be given back to the people that love it, need it and know it.

    thanks for this one Vlatko, and all the rest of them too, you're doing a good service to everyone with this website. Good job.

  12. mark

    thanks, very interesting.

    Dave Mathews, pretty accurate prediction about the radio and music business.

    There is a lot of good music around, you just don't hear it on many radio stations. except campus radio.

    and there are a lot of private internet radio stations that are outstanding.

    and if you want to play music, do so. But don't expect to be able to make any money at it, cause you won't be able to.

  13. cess

    i wish this was a SERIES!
    thanks again Vlatko!

  14. cess

    vlatko! u r the man!
    keep up the outstanding work!

  15. cess

    wow. the #1 doc i wantedto see‚and it
    wont work! no hulu in canada either!

    1. Vlatko

      No worries @cess. Vlatko saves the day. Enjoy.

  16. ana

    that doyle bramhall is someone special.....i liked this touched base on the things that bother me most about the current music industry, While shedding light on what a quality listening experience should consist of.

  17. Snax

    Are there any documentaries about how the Clear Channel and Cumulus type companies are using subliminal messages on the radio to psychlogically manipulate the public? Or is it just my personal theory based on my research of Ed Bernays?