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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Let's Get Serious for a Moment

This blog is a bit more serious then the past ones.  I recently sent out a notecard to people in the SL music commnunity, the reactions and stories of support people have sent me have been so overwhelming that I decided it needed to be shared.  When you see something that is wrong you should speak up.  And that is what I'm doing with this particular blog. 

This is the notecard i sent out to the SL music community on 1/11/11

My venue was recently approached to join a group for venue owners called Live Music Review. I would encourage the SL music community to NOT join this group. They have set down guidelines for what they feel is a quality venue. After a heated discussion with one of the groups founders, I was still unable to determine what the purpose of the group was – needless to say he no longer wanted my venues in the group (which is fine by me).

One of the standards of what makes a venue, “high quality” according to the group is “no karaoke acts." I own two live music venues with Porter Paquot; The Mill and Kasbah. We do not book karaoke acts, we book high quality vocalists who use tracks, live musicians, and DJ’s. We have original music night and do our best to support the live music scene and art community in Second Life. I have worked for almost two years trying to bring people together and book quality music at my venues. I feel that my venues can stand on the reputations they have made for themselves over the last year and half. In my opinion, reputation is what a makes a good venue not an arbitrary checklist. It frustrates and angers me when someone makes blanket statements like this group is doing. If a venue does not want to book vocalists who use tracks, that is their choice, It DOES NOT make them a higher quality venue. This attitude is what is wrong with an otherwise amazing second life music scene.

It is time to put a stop to this. This is a debate among musicians, managers, and venue owners. The fans don’t care they just want to hear good music. Let’s stop creating divisions and work together. If we as venue owners just book the best people out there and run our venues the way we want, then the people going to the shows will decide who runs a quality venue and who doesn’t. It’s simple. Groups like this that see things as black and white are what is wrong with the Second Life music scene. I also encourage musicians to not support venues with this attitude. This debate is getting old.

I have attached an article I have written for Scruplz Magazine that is coming out this month about this issue. I wrote it before I had this incident with Live Music Review. This is a hot button issue with me and it's about time that we as a community STOP making divisions and work together. Good music is good music.

The Scruplz article follows:

by Loegan Magic

The Second Life music scene is an ever changing component to to an already complex virtual world, filled with it's own politics and unwritten rules. It has become a thriving independent global music scene unaltered by the corporations that have pretty much gobbled up the airways and watered down the music being put out in the “real world”. Sure some of it is pretty amateurish, but even that has it's charm. What's better then then a kindergarten teacher by day who is a SL rock star by night? The musicians here are all on various levels, some are just having fun, some are trying to make it big, and some are just playing for a much needed outlet or release. Whatever the reason, second life is full of music and we the fan have tons of choices.

I have been involved in this scene on various levels for almost two years now and I've seen a lot (keep in mind SL years are like dog years). Most of what I've seen has been good, some of it wondrous and amazing and yes some of it not so good. I have met a lot of great people, venue owners, musicians, managers and fans. However, one aspect has troubled me, and that is the blatant disrespect, by some in the scene, for singers who use tracks. For those of you who don't know, “track singers” use per-recorded music to sing live to. This has labeled them by some as Karaoke singers or being dismissed as not live music. I disagree. Even the term track singer, I have an issue with; why don't we use the term vocalist?

First off karaoke is an activity. You go to karaoke with your friends to drink and have a good time. And getting up in front of your friends in a supportive environment and singing badly is just that - fun. If you don't believe me ask yourself what happens when the one person in the room that can sing gets up and does it? No one wants to follow them, its no longer fun. It is completely different then listening to a trained professional singer putting on a show and entertaining a crowd.

Now, does that mean that their are people using tracks who can't sing and should not be labeled vocalists – yes it sure does and a lot of them. Does that mean they shouldn't sing – no! It means I might not book them at my venue or go see their next show but that is the great thing about Second Life music, someone else will. The point is, I can think of countless people who strum guitars and sing that aren't any better. Does that mean I dismiss everyone who strums a guitar – no. So why are we dismissing everyone who uses tracks?

The truth is some music can not be reproduced with just a guitar or a piano. So why limit the music in second life to someone playing one instrument? Many track singers sing jazz, blues, soul, funk and more, giving a much needed kick to a music scene saturated with people strumming guitars. I welcome the variety.

Now most fans don't care, they just want to hear good music and be entertained, it's mostly other musicians, venue owners, and managers, that have issue. It just seems sad to me to declare, that you only have 100% life music at your venue when what you are really saying is we don't let people sing with tracks here. As a venue owner I want the best most talented people I can find, Personally, I don't care if you are banging on a bucket, scratching a record, or strumming a is art and good art should be seen and heard.

Music is an art form and I can't think of another art form that I would dismiss due to the tools used. Singing is actually the most pure form of music I can think of and while we all do it, it doesn't mean we do it well (or should). So if someone is using a prerecorded track it doesn't matter to me as long as they are singing well over it. I've heard some amazing vocalists in second life, trained professional singers with successful real life music careers that should not be missed. And to not book them because they don't strum a guitar seems absurd to me.

Second Life is an amazing place, it is literally what we make it. Just think how music will be experienced twenty or even ten years from now in whatever second life will evolve to.

We are experiencing something that is in its infancy and we are the ones who will say remember when.

So if you are a musician, venue, owner, manager, or fan who dismisses vocalists who use tracks in second life, I urge you to reconsider. We are all in this together, pioneers in a new world, but whatever world you are in, real or virtual, one thing that does not change is talent is talent. So open your ears and mind to some amazing music, you might be surprised what you discover.
This ediorial was originally published in the January 2011 issue of SCRUPLZ'S which can be read at

I encourage people to respond to this, leave a comment here or at Scruplz's or at both.  You can also email me at Please share this with others.


  1. Hello ,
    For what it s worth i d like to add my official 2 cents....great singers in RL do not all play their own music..they have orchestral backing,sometimes in production of CD s even tracks over tracks for effects. This is all music and GOOD music. We would have to eliminate Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Brian Adams and so on...because they dont play an instrument to accompany themselves as they sing and sing well. They play at some of the same RL venues even, and when called upon to support a cause, no differentiation is, yes sometimes tracks prerecorded, are used. This does not mean the singer is not a singer. kaoroke is really this:

    "is a form of interactive entertainment or video game in which AMATEUR SINGERS (meaning not paid in any way as a professional) sing along with recorded music (and/or a music video) using a microphone and public address system. The music is typically a well-known pop song minus the lead vocal. Lyrics are ( continued....>)

  2. usually displayed on a video screen, along with a moving symbol or changing color and/or music video images, to guide the singer. In some countries, a karaoke box is called a KTV."

    "a device that plays instrumental accompaniments for a selection of songs to which the user sings along and that records the user's singing with the music; also : a form of entertainment involving the use of a karaoke machine"

    The majority of singers i have heard at "live music" are just that precisely

    Live Music.
    ":of or involving a presentation (as a play or concert) in which both the performers and an audience are physically present (a live record album) (a nightclub with live entertainment)
    b:broadcast directly at the time of)production (a live radio program)"

    both definitions from Webster

    So are we redefining Live Music? If so, I'd like to be part of that team, and not be excluded becuase i happen not to have been asked for my opinion or input. Music helps to define a culture and to bring a community together. Let us not destroy what we have bullt. Often music IS the message. There is room for everyone equitably.

    Pat Thork PhD SL, In Worldz, Meta7, RG , VitualWorldsCollege, Xtreme Reality (UNity 3D)
    Music and Art Development Team in Virtual Platforms
    Catastrophic Planning and Management Institute
    Process Review and Training
    as affliliate to Joint Forces Command
    United States of America

  3. I agree a 100%. I'm an adult I think I can make my own decisions who I listen to. Are they going to start burning books next? The "market" will determine what the "public" wants etc. Are they suggesting we only listen to artists with one singer and a guitar exclusively? One man's art is another's garbage and vice versa. For some it's about "fun" not a business re: promoting their songs etc. Live and let live is my motto but for a venue owner they are trying to survive so whatever works is what they will do. We don't need Lobby Groups running around trying to strong arm venue owners. How about a ban on "live" performers. You think that might get THEIR attention? Lindens and the attending public will determine which formats are the most successful. I see people failing and succeeding in both sometimes due to their talent. There are "crappy" live singers too you If you are singing to your own pre-recorded tracks what does that qualify as?

  4. From a "track singer" thank you for your support, and this is to everyone who makes a kind comment. The issue of singing with tracks is reminiscent of racism or homophobia. Although the implications are less - after all this IS SL - the hurt to those made the target is not less.

    When I am told by these elitist bastards that somehow my musical training isn't equal to theirs, it really burns me. I spend hours learning this music, perfecting how I want to musically portray my message, picking the songs that suit me best, choosing things that aren't overdone and that I think people will find entertaining.

    I find so much joy in singing in SL that it actually has helped me heal in my RL.

    This debate takes that away from me. It removes all joy from singing in SL and makes me want to quit singing in any life because it's exhausting and infuriating to continue knowing that these hate-mongers will be there to spew their insecure messages at me and make me feel like a second-class citizen.

    In RL I sing with a band, and I'm a trained vocalist, piano player, and musician in my own right. What I found initially to be a warm and welcoming place where I could share my passion with an audience that felt accepting and warm... has become a loveless political battlefield where I find myself wondering when the next hurtful comment will be made, or agonizing debate-filled conversation will be had.

    I won't quit because then these bastards win. And I will never let that happen. I was meant to sing with a band - I love funk, blues and soul music and that is what I will continue to sing... WITH TRACKS that fill my music with drums, bass, guitar, piano, horns, and most importantly let me express myself the way I WANT TO.

    I hope to see in you one of the QUALITY MUSIC VENUES who support wonderful live music in whatever form ART takes.

  5. I also enjoy my own, less grammatically PG version of this post....

  6. I enjoyed my own, less grammatically PG version of this post so much I followed it up with an intrepid Part 2!

  7. This debate is as old as SL..It cycles every 6 months or so.

    What matters is the fans ..PERIOD. They only want to enjoy what they want to enjoy. I am a musician and a FAN. I don't need "Music Police".

    Right now there is plenty of 'exclusion" going on in SL without it having to be said.......It's all subjective..

    MUsic is art and in this case, art is in the ear of the beholder. SL Is a GAMe and many play it that way (imagine that)....Some people have just found a platform for their form of art whether Visual, Aural, or's fascinating and wonderful.

    So no matter what the form of musical delivery..enjoy your music and enjoy your fans ...That is what makes it LIVE.

    Anyone ever read Farenheit 451? ... just sayin'.......

    Noma Falta

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