Tower Sessions is Better Than Splintr.com (in my opinion) — how online videos will change the local music industry

From MTV to Online Music Videos

"Video killed the radio star," says the popular song. At a philosophical level, it was very critical of video and being afraid of the changes it could bring. And now the medium of video has changed. Before it was just MTV, then Channel V, then sprouted a bunch of other competitive clones (especially locally in different regions). We had no choice at what to watch. We couldn't fast forward or rewind. A lot of it had to do with timing and there wasn't much choice. Now that video has transferred to new media, people have a choice. It has become a social and interactive form of TV and this changes the playing field in the music industry.

Splintr.com is successful at this. They have over 17,000 likes on their Facebook page. Aside from hosting videos of exclusive live performanes on their website, they also have events like concerts and stuff. They also delve in independent films and filmmakers.

My problem is that they don't upload their videos on an official YouTube channel or something. Aside from not being able to embed on my blogs (much like I'm doing now), the quality is also not as nice. I mean, I'm sure they invest a lot on production but all this is wasted when people can't choose to view it in its best quality, like in HD for instance. And, as expected, this affects audio quality as well. And the main point of having an online music channel is to be able to appreciate music.

I don't know how both Splintr.com or Tower of Doom are affiliated and I neither work for any of them. None of them has also paid me to promote or say bad things about one another. This all roots from personal preference and my enjoyment of watching our local musicians perform live. Both Splintr.com and Tower Sessions give me a chance to do this. It's like that time when some people preferred MTV to Channel V or vice versa. I just personally like Tower Sessions more and here's why:

Kamikazee - Halik (Tower Sessions)

This is Kamikazee's Tower Session live performance of their song "Halik". I chose it specifically because of the colors. There are certain videos that I just really love the colors especially these kinds that seemingly attempt to have some sort of film-like quality. I've talked about 24p vs 30p before or how I dislike the "rolling shutter" or "jello effect" in the common CMOS chips found in DSLRs today, but sometimes the right touch of coloring can fix all of that. I don't know. I'm a lover of beautiful coloring. And all of that I just mentioned, I can watch in HD (in 720p, at least) unlike in Splintr.com where I'm stuck with just the typical quality.

Oh and the lovely audio quality. Of course this is expected from the pedigree of Tower of Doom in recording and mastering music. It actually sounds almost like an album version and not a live version. And this is true for all their videos.

I love it that Kamikazee is the only one among the videos given the chance to talk before their songs. Jay's showmanship and natural knack at stand-up is really harmonizing factor in this band. He's really so entertaining and funny.

Spongecola - Lunes (Tower Sessions)

Now that I've made the point of why I like Tower Sessions more, I can just randomly blab about the other videos.

Again, with this video, audio quality is exemplified. Even better than their actual album version, in my very strong opinion. It really gives prominence to that bossa nova or jazzy-esque vibe and maturity of the song.

I remember a long time ago, back when they weren't as popular, some of us referred to them as "that band from Ateneo that covers Finch" haha. I just think this band is so underrated. If you really look at their compositions and arrangements, there's actually a flavor of complexity and uniqueness. I think it's this bias of being categorized into the "pogi rock" or "senti" or "emo"; it's these labels make us appreciate music less objectively.

The Get Up Kids - Holiday (Typecast Live Tower Session Cover)

Well, I don't really understand why they had to do a cover. They have tons of original songs that would have been so nice to hear live in Tower Sessions.

I'd say here's another band being less appreciated because of labels. I really love their music and believe they are such talented artists. I remember in High School, a friend of mine had their EP, the thin CD-R cover with an album cover that says "Typecast Laguna". "Forget" was the first song, if I remember correctly. Then they had that professional-looking video of "Another Minute Until Ten" and it does make you wonder: how the hell do they play this as a three-piece band where the guitarist who plays the riff with a tricky timing and at the same time sing? They truly are very skillful and talented at making music.

RIP Karl Roy

Karl Roy is one of the most influential musicians in my life. I learned about him first through Kapatid then eventually learned about P.O.T. when I bought the remastered copy at the best-selling shelf of Tower Records. This was a time when we all passionately loved original local music. This was a time when the youth was listening to pinoy rock instead of listening High School Musical or Justin Bieber or whatever it is they're crazy about nowadays.

I remember there used to be this bar here in the south called "Rock Radio Alabang". I actually got to watch Kapatid play there a couple of times. But now that bar is gone. Even Al's bar closed down. Without any venue nearby, I get to appreciate live music performances online through Tower Sessions, Splintr.com, and other online music channels. And I have a choice to watch what I want to watch unlike on TV.

I got really sad when Karl Roy passed away. But now I am reminded of our local music scene. I was actually thinking about him when I thought of writing about this article. I wanted to write a proper tribute but then I really wouldn't know what to say. I guess all I can say is that may our original independent local artists thrive. Let's get rid of all these labels, all these trolls on YouTube debating genres, all these purists and haters. Let's all just appreciate music together and give credit where credit is due.

I'll miss you, Karl Roy. Sorry, I couldn't write a full tribute. Society suffered a great loss when you passed. It has always been true what they say that you only appreciate something more when it's gone. It's a tragedy, really. Our generation and all other generations you influenced, we'll all be telling our grandchildren about you. Cheers!


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