Before the Music Dies - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Before the Music Dies Reviews

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½ October 25, 2015
A crap documentary about a clueless Generation X'er pissed off that music isn't where he wants it or what he wants, backed by a few token black artists that he could get to agree with him and back his arguments.

If he or his fellow music lovers had any smarts, they would work within the system and write their Congressperson/senator to get rid of the Communications Act of 1996 so that radio could get back to what it was before the Act was signed and before Clear Channel and similar companies brought up everything, but all of these people are lazy mothers who are content (now that THEY'RE the older people who used to be this cantankerous about music) to be just talking heads denouncing everything that exists in music now simply because most of them are too lazy to find music that isn't pop (and my dissing also includes the director/narrator who couldn't even do any research to find new rock artists that aren't pop and feature them in this documentary.)

Somebody said it best just recently in reference to a recent magazine article/interview featuring Grace Jones making the same old fogy complaint:

'"No way. An aging pop star and a magazine decide to get the "Kids these days!" crowd to stop yelling at clouds for five minutes by appealing to nostalgia and going after the low-hanging fruit of them not understanding or enjoying modern pop stars and music (just like every prior generation) so that she can publicize her new book and the magazine can get some clickbait headlines? What an amazing development! It must be a day ending in "Y."

Bully for you, Grace Jones. Shake your fist at "THE ESTABLISHMENT" by saying one of the most establishment things that is humanly possible to say. Maybe come out with another interview about how Hollywood movies are all the same now, and lack the creativity and subtlety of a Conan the Destroyer or a A View to a Kill.

Guess what. Current pop stars aren't trying to appeal to you, just as the pop stars you liked growing up weren't trying to appeal to your parents and grandparents. If you can break the mold and like something outside of your demographic, that's great. More power to you for your open-mindedness and willingness to try new things. But it baffles me that people continually expect modern music to always remain in touch with their preferences indefinitely, even after having experienced the same thing with their parents and grandparents grumbling about not getting their music.

Musical tastes evolve, and just because it evolves in a way that no longer appeals to you doesn't make it of an objectively lesser quality."

I couldn't have said it better myself.

July 27, 2015
If you're a huge music fan, this movie might make you a little sad, or maybe just angry. But either way, that's why the movie was made. I really enjoyed it even though it was a little depressing. I'd be interested to see an update to see what has changed (if anything).
December 16, 2012
Great music documentary that explores todays music business and how formula has taken over quality. Very simple documentary with interesting interviewees.
January 29, 2011
Wow! It blew me away. I truly feel there was a reason why I chose this film to watch. As an writer and drummer I needed to hear their words. I advise all who want to get in the music biz to watch this film.
September 22, 2010
while i might quible with some of the assumptions presented here - like record companies of old really cared about the music, i think this documentary presents the issues well. it's also interesting to see this AFTER the big wall street market crash (this was made in 2006), which actually exaserbates much of what is said here. in other words, it's not just the music industry that has gone the way of short term high dollar profits no matter what the cost (of someone else), it's invaded just about every facet of our culture. well worth watching and discussing, and not just in terms of music.
August 16, 2010
"The 20,000,000 people that buy a Britney Spears record aren't music fans, they're pop culture fans. So if your vision is more about reaching to people that really respond to music, thats a completely different business than the major [record labels] are in now."

This documentary is a compelling look at the music industry from voices ranging from famous songwriters (Erykah Baduh, Dave Matthews) to unknown artists and all the way down to music fans. The directors did a good job organizing the interviews with interesting looks at what makes a pop star today. They took a model and had her sing extremely off-pitch then showed us how a studio engineer takes that unlistenable voice track and turns it into something that you could hear on the radio.

To some extent the film felt a little bit dated. It only came out a few years ago, so some of the complaints about how music is distributed is already out of date, but the general ideas are still the same.

My biggest complaint with the documentary, however, is that it falls into the trap that many music docs do. There is an overwhelming cry of "why isn't it like it used to be." Everyone pines for the days of Dylan and Wonder, and they let their voices be heard. We've all heard it before...

Overall, if you are a fan of music, you'll enjoy this documentary. Its really well-made.

I think my favorite point that was made was that Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder would not make it today. Why? They're blind. The music industry would feel uncomfortable pushing a blind artist.
May 3, 2010
i want so see this Before the Music Dies
Super Reviewer
November 30, 2009
Great music documentary that explores todays music business and how formula has taken over quality. Very simple documentary with interesting interviewees.
½ October 19, 2009
An important, if ever so slightly long winded, take on the music biz at this important part of its history. More centred on Americana, it says alot about what's happening with film, television and the arts, and corporate involvement within the creative realms. The first and last quarter of an hour are very quotable, thanks to the eloquent Badu and Marsalis! A good snapshot of how treating music as 'units' could actually kill the goose that laid the golden egg.
September 17, 2009
If you care about music, good music, you should watch this film. It makes you appreciate artists who are talented and creative... And Doyle Bramhall is the shit.
½ September 5, 2009
I read some of David Cornelius' review of this film and I couldn't disagree more. I was blown away by the range of things in this film. It's 2009, and the film still has a punch. Before watching it, I had heard of it from different musicians who were inspired by it. So after checking it out I wanted to read more about the film and the musicians in it.

I think David C. missed the main premise somehow...Shapter (the director) was a "music fan", not csomeone laiming to be an industry "expert". So the film is more about information he stumbled upon, not his view per se.

My god, he certainly stubled on some amazing music! Billy Preston, Clapton, DMB, Ray Charles, Erykah, Calexico North Miss All Stars...I forget who else.

I guess if you watched this film in 2007, you might not agree that the indutry was on the verge of collapse, but now that it's 2009, the film has been vindicated.

Just look at the sign in the window of the now closed Virgin Megastore in Times Square. It says "THE VIRGIN MEGASTORE IS CLOSED FOREVER. THE MUSIC INDUSTRY IS DEAD BUT THE MUSIC IS DOING JUST FINE." - Virgin MegaStore R.I.P.

Look like Before the Music Dies saw it coming after all...
September 5, 2009
I don't have a lot to say about this documentary. All i can say is that this one gives us insights on what is happening in the music industry and how pop culture has tainted real music. Any music fan out there must see this film and think about how can he or she may save the industry from degrading further.
August 3, 2009
not quite what i thought it would be
June 23, 2009
Down with Clear Channel!
Watch this documentary if you're interested in real musicianship.
June 16, 2009
Nothing we didn't already know or see coming, but interesting none the less.
June 3, 2009
Great documentary, it's really tough to find inspirational artists nowadays, they're usually not the ones in the magazines, on the major store shelves, playing on the radio or dancing in music videos. Must see for any real music fans.
May 3, 2009
Amazing insight into how the music industry works today. I agree with them on a few aspects, most notably that Clear Channel is the devil. Seeing the tone deaf girl made into a pop-star with Autotune was pretty crazy as well. HILARIOUS commentary from Erykah Badu--she was cracking me up! Full of incredible music/performance clips as well. If you are a popular music lover, this is a must see.
April 11, 2009
A very relevant critique of the record industry but by no means totally objective.

At times it feels like a vehicle for Dave Matthews, but thankfully, that's only periodic.
February 14, 2009
The only thing absent from the closing of this documentary is a 1-888 number and Forest asking us to "give generously." That said, the only way that this film will resound with you is if you have downright awful taste in music--you're the demographic for the business model and subject of Before the Music Dies. Watch the opening segment with Billy Preston and move on.
February 10, 2009
American music scene. Pop entertainers suck, real artists will prevail.
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