Ripped Music in Demos - My View

Written by Bam

IT all started peacefully some months ago when the first demo with an MP3 soundtrack was released. Well, maybe not THAT peacefully...

For the scene, 1998 was the year of big changes (well, has anything REALLY changed?!), flamewars, demotivation and experimentation (definitely!). Quite a few famous sceners and groups have left the scene, in wrath, or just because of a lack of interest ("show me ANY demo after 1997 that is FUN!"...). The fact that lots of people complained about the use of MP3 in demos (and some still do) is therefore nothing to wonder about. We have heard LOTS of good arguments FOR MP3 and I don't want to repeat them. But that's what is going on in the newsgroups. How about reality?

As far as I can remember, I have seen four demos with MP3 music up to now, and all four soundtracks were ripped (with a credit to the author that is always a bit hard to find). No names. You know who you are. And I say "ripped" not "borrowed" because I don't like what you have done.

We have to face it: Using ripped (or "remixed") MP3 tunes in demos is an already common practice today. By the end of this year we will have seen so many of them, probably no one will complain about it any more (just like no one complains about Windows demos today. And why should they?).

And there are also a lot of positive arguments for ripping music: It's easier, the music sounds more professional (and maybe "better" to the ears of some people) and so on. Is this true? Well, for the first argument it is. For the second? No! It's a stupid excuse for ripping, no more! And why? Because it IS possible to do mindblasting professional sounding music with a tracker. No vocals? Bah! Of course you can use vocals! Your modules will get bigger then. And you can use MP3 compression for big samples ( not with MIDAS of course ). What you need of course is your own singer. But what if we don't have our own singer? Well, we have to rip, forgive us, we have no other choice, we need vocals!...

You never heard professional sounding tracked music? Damn, have you ever watched Second Reality? Ever played Unreal? Jazz Jackrabbit? No???

Get a life, man...!

Next argument: Tracked music can't impress anyone who is not from the scene. We do demos with tracked music just because of nostalgia.

Damn, what should we do instead? Copy the style of modern commercial movies, multimedia shows, games (not scenish ones)? Do you really think you (a small bunch of hobbyists) can impress anyone with less-than-half-decent-wanna-be- professional multimedia shows? Better wake up! These things are overground culture. If WE want to be underground (do we?), we have to be different. And we ARE different: We have our own music style which has developed within more than ten (?) years. For some of us (like me), demo music is the coolest music that has ever been made on this planet. We really don't need to copy the other stuff. If you think tracked music sucks, there is no doubt that you and me are from completely different worlds.

I can hear you screaming, "Damn fool! MP3 is just another format. Every module can be converted to MP3..." Are you sure you know what you are saying? Take a look at Buzz. Buzz is supposed to be a tracker with A LOT more functions. The "tracker" is just a small part of Buzz. So we should expect that composers make far better tunes with Buzz than with Impulse Tracker (because they can use the "tracker" AND the other machines). But in practice things are a lot different. Buzzers use almost ONLY the other machines. The result is a huge mass of tunes that almost all sound the same (all the same 303-beep-beep- stuff. I hate 303 sounds, just to mention this, so I can always tell a Buzz song when I hear it. More functionality results in less diversity. Very interesting...


Do we really need MP3 in demos?
Answer this question for yourself. My answer is NO.

In my eyes (and ears) MP3 is a step backwards. It means throwing away all the benefits of tracked music. And it encourages ripping. That means throwing away over ten years of demo music tradition AND 99% of the underground feeling of demos. Say what you like, I can't accept this.

- Bam/Evolve/eXtensive