What do you consider "pony" music?

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What do you consider "pony" music?

Postby Sethisto2 » 03 Nov 2012 16:14

Hey all! Sethisto here on a second account, forgot my password!

I have a question for you all!

One thing we have struggled with for over a year between well over 50 musicians rotating in and out of the music review group is "ponyness". Literally the "how pony is it" policy changes more than a teenager in a clothing store.

Some history:

Back when music review began, if it didn't have pony samples throughout the piece, it would be axed. This was between a majority big name vocal/remix musician group that pretty much agreed completely on it. As new musicians joined and old ones left, we started to see more instrumental musicians jump in and put their two cents. It has been a confusing topic ever since.

Right now, I think most of the active reviewers are instrumental musicians, which reflects the fandom. It's not uncommon to get 20 brand new ones daily for review.

So I ask you, people of MLR, what do you consider pony music? Should it return to the world of samples, remixes, and original vocals only, or is Equestrian Space, Luna's Techno Party, and Octavias Symphony #9 pony enough for you?

I know a ton of people abuse the system and slap a pony on top of their recent techno song. The poor girl is broken and bleeding at this point. There isn't a "good" way to check for this though. Who are we to say someone's inspirational dream last night of dancing to vinyl scratch in a club and subsequent dubstep song aren't actually pony? Reading through posts on here, I know a ton of you hated the old policy of samples or nothing for instrumentals. In the flood, I've actually built a pretty awesome playlist of them for personal use.

So what do you guys think?
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Re: What do you consider "pony" music?

Postby the4thImpulse » 03 Nov 2012 16:34

I think there is a lot of varying opinions on what constitutes pony from non pony, and I don't believe there is any really fine line between pony and non-pony.

I don't have much time today to write about it so here's the short version of my thoughts:

Music is very emotional, I think we all could agree on that, and it can draw different emotions in different people but I think its the emotions that a song produces are a good way of discerning pony from non-pony. Many artists often describe their inspiration or what they were hoping to achieve with the track in the description and that would be where I would start. If you can 'feel' those same feelings as you listen and you believe they fit well within the pony theme they describe then I would label it <pony>.

I, personally, would hate to have to throw in pony samples into a track so it can be officially classified as 'pony'.
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Re: What do you consider "pony" music?

Postby Raddons » 03 Nov 2012 16:48

I believe it is all in the emotion poured into the production, at least in regards to instrumental tracks. If you can relate to an aspect of the show or an action/feeling shown by a character, and make an instrumental about it, than it's considered pony. Creatively using samples to reflect that is a great way to help, imo.

edit: Of course I don't think you should have an instrumental death metal track and say it's about Fluttershy picking flowers or something. That's obviously a bad example of conveying emotions.
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Re: What do you consider "pony" music?

Postby Thyrai » 03 Nov 2012 16:56

the4thImpulse wrote:I, personally, would hate to have to throw in pony samples into a track so it can be officially classified as 'pony'.


Couldn't have said it better myself
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Re: What do you consider "pony" music?

Postby itroitnyah » 03 Nov 2012 17:37

What The4thImpluse said. Requiring us to use pony samples in order for a song to be considered "pony" or even to just get featured on equestria daily severely limits and restricts us. We end up milking the same samples from the same episodes over and over again (like Fluttershy's "yay" from S1E16), and it happens to get quite cliche, unless person can find an interesting way to use the sample. Or if we can somehow make another sample work. Or, we have to buy a microphone and record our own vocals, and not all of us happen to be great at singing. Personally, as long as it's good, I would feature it, although I would reserve the spotlight features for pieces of music that actually have pony within the music itself (mixed well too) instead of just wallpaper, unless there is some other reason that would make the piece be worthy of spotlight (all other pieces are horrible, composed and written well enough to get signed, none that have really well mixed in pony sample clips, etc...). Mostly because I think that people would complain if there were purely instrumentals the majority of the time. And if there aren't any with good mixed in pony samples or vocals that fit perfectly, then just go with what's the best submitted content.
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Re: What do you consider "pony" music?

Postby Lavender_Harmony » 03 Nov 2012 18:30

I completely disagree, and I find it somewhat insulting that I'd have to put a certain set of samples into my music to class it as featurable on x or y website. The main key here is knowing and understanding what concept is, using imagery to reflect feeling, movement and tone to your music, being able to convey enough with just a title and set the sound stage for something more grand than Rainbow Dash yelling "Louder" before a bunch of random dubstep sounds start playing. I would in fact classify that less worthy of featuring, and even less as pony music, and merely an excuse to label your piece as pony to gain exposure. I would comment clever use of sampled material if anyone did it anymore.

Now of course you can retort and say "how do you know the person just gave it a pony title and said it was inspired by xyz? Well you're in the same dilemma. Is that dubstep piece really inspired by the show's content, or did they just take the arrangement of a Skrillex track and replace the "Rude boy bass" sample with 'Yay'? You need to use your own judgement, for every kind, whether or not is has samples or not, to gain an understanding of the concept material, to hear if there is a genuine connection between the music itself and what the composer implies/states it is inspired by.

I've never used a pony sample, does that mean none of my songs, at all, are inspired by the show? Would you really say that?
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Re: What do you consider "pony" music?

Postby Magnitude Zero » 03 Nov 2012 19:40

As someone who uses pony samples in pretty much every song, I have to agree with what everyone else is saying. If it's inspired by pony, it's pony. I'll elaborate tomorrow; my phone's about to die and my power's still out from Sandy.
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Re: What do you consider "pony" music?

Postby Nine Volt » 03 Nov 2012 22:02

This is pretty much the reason that I don't really do pony music anymore, cept maybe remixes. I just can't force myself to throw in an unecessary pony sample and call it pony music, it's stupid and can even drive away brony haters from your music, when they might otherwise enjoy it.

I don't like when artists throw on a pony label on a song that could easily stand on its own as a non-pony one. An example would be Beyond Her Garden. Replace 'mare' with 'girl' and you have a song that could completely stand on its own as a non-pony song (edit: forgot about the chorus part, but you get my point). Same with September (by Tomb). From what I remember that song has nothing to do with ponies, not even a reference. If it was made by someone outside of the fandom then it would stand just as well as if it had been.

Basically, I hate when an artist in this community starts off with pony-in-name-only songs, then makes a big deal about making 'non-pony' music for a change. I don't want to hate on Tomb but several of his songs are labeled pony when they're not.

Tl:dr - Unnecessary pony labels piss me off.
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Re: What do you consider "pony" music?

Postby Djeinus » 03 Nov 2012 22:43

If it's inspired by ponies and such, I guess it is?
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Re: What do you consider "pony" music?

Postby phantomignition » 04 Nov 2012 01:25

It's really hard to differentiate, since it's impossible to just say that one's thoughts while making a song were of a pony just by listening to it. Heck, even those who slap pony samples may not have been originally making it about the show. I just can't think of an effective way to tell the difference, and I don't think there is one.
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Re: What do you consider "pony" music?

Postby Ed Viper » 04 Nov 2012 02:28

Well, I feel that if it's truly inspired by ponies, then it's pony, regardless of whether or not it has samples. Of course, it's hard to prove intent. Out of all the pony songs I've made, only one was truly inspired, but it sounded no different from another I just slapped samples on and called it "pony".

A description is always nice to have in case it's hard to tell where the inspiration is coming from, but I don't really think a song has to have direct samples in it to be called "pony". An instrumental can sometimes display more pony inspiration than one with samples. It all depends, really.

Now as far as whether or not all pony music SHOULD be totally inspired, I'm rather indifferent about it. Even if the song's not necessarily inspired by the show, and just has a few samples slapped on it, as long as the quality of the song is good, then we shouldn't bash it because it's not "pony" enough.

Just my thoughts.
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Re: What do you consider "pony" music?

Postby Matthew N. » 04 Nov 2012 04:35

It definitely depends on the theme of your song. For example, mine and Freewave's latest collab is completely based on a very "pony" subject, yet it only has 2 very short samples used that directly could make it... well, "pony."

Sometimes it's not easy for a person to instantly figure out what was the thought process behind the track, so adding a description on what we worked with and what were our goals is always a good idea.
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Re: What do you consider "pony" music?

Postby bartekko » 04 Nov 2012 06:30

There's quite a lot of stuff to discuss on the subject, and knowing mlr, when sethisto makes a topic, it suddenly grows to extraordinaire levels.
Well I'm going to be straightforward about my guiltiness: I' ve been working on a pendulum parody album, full of pony-related lyrics mostly because i want to be featured on EQD.
Does it mean that all my other music is not inspired by ponies? Well my whole career as a musician is related to ponies, and so I definitely was influenced by them. But never a song of mine classified as pony enough, either because of lack of pony samples (I DAMN HATE PONY SAMPLES, PONY SAMPLES IN MUSIC SHOULD DIE SRSLY GUYS), or not having a direct correlation to the show, or simply by not being expressive enough.

Let's be serious: Music is the purest form of artistical expression, and for hundreds of years, it was all about the music, not the meaning behind it.

Take modern art. Abstractionism. (Abstractionism was inspired by the purity of form in music)
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Is it pony-related? (answer: no, the author is not a brony)
now imagine someone photoshopped a pony on that. Is it pony artwork already? Yes, there is a blatant pony, but the original artwork, what's behind the pony, still has little to no relation to ponies.

Music can't be simply classified as pony or non-pony. What can be classified as pony, is the lyrics. What if it's an instrumental? Well then, is Daniel Ingram's music (Without lyrics) pony related? Okay, it's all cheerful and stuff, like MLP itself, but then again, Most to all children shows' music is cheerful and stuff. And what about dark interpretations of pony world?

I didn't close the topic, i just said that we will never be able to once and for all close the topic, unless we go to vocal-only tracks

Kyoga wrote:my opinion: If it's inspired by ponies and is written about them, then it's pony.

Thank you captain obvious
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Re: What do you consider "pony" music?

Postby zorg » 04 Nov 2012 07:07

i agree with the4thImpule and the others who said inspiration is what would ultimately decide if it's pony or not; and yes it would be hard to filter by that criterion.
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Re: What do you consider "pony" music?

Postby Navron » 04 Nov 2012 09:51

I always write a description that says what the song was inspired by, and while obviously people could lie and make up an elaborate description of how it relates to the show, being able to listen to the song in a critical manner will back up the description, or not.

You can't 100% prevent people from sneaking in non-pony songs, but just judging a song based on its use of samples and/or happy go-lucky tune/catchyness isn't the right way to do it, because then you're pretty much giving no chance to the artists who like to create moody and dark pieces.

Overall, quality should be the final line, and not just in audio quality. Does the upload have a description, does it match the sound of the song, etc.

Obviously this discussion really only deals with instrumental artists, but I'd guess somewhere around 80% of the musicians in this fandom are instrumentalists.
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Re: What do you consider "pony" music?

Postby soultensionbenjamin » 04 Nov 2012 10:02

Quality over quantity.
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Re: What do you consider "pony" music?

Postby CommandSpry » 04 Nov 2012 10:14

soultensionbenjamin wrote:Quality over quantity.


How does this even answer the question in any way ever


Ehem, I think it's distinguishable if the track is inspired by ponies are not, albeit slightly. It does matter a lot for sites like EqD to choose whether to feature certain songs based on their relation to the show, or lack thereof, but I would pass it off as pony even if I can hear an inkling of inspiration drawn from the show in there.
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Re: What do you consider "pony" music?

Postby Lavender_Harmony » 04 Nov 2012 10:47

soultensionbenjamin wrote:Quality over quantity.


Nope. Try again, this is completely irrelevant.
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Re: What do you consider "pony" music?

Postby Freewave » 04 Nov 2012 12:28

As people have said it's often pretty clear when music is pony and when it's not. It is bad news when EQD features music that clearly is phoned in and when that influence in not there (especially when its by someone well known who doesn't need the extra spotlight or hype). Pony music is influenced by the show or about the show (sometimes even about the fandom itself or integrating fanfiction into the music) if the images, description of track, and the music collectively show that influence and are coherent and apparent. I don't care whether it's got a load of samples or none at all but it's got to show a level of art and thought to it. When people just take same random melodies and throw a pony image on it and haven't once thought about how it relates to the show it isn't pony music, even if they are a brony and slap a pony image on it. It certainly doesn't need to be on EQD in that fashion.

There's a 5 page thread on the subject on mlr that goes into a wide discussion on the matter including all kinds of over-reactions from "pony music needs samples" to "i can't wait until samples are gone". Those are both extremes as both types of music are pony music when the influence is there in the music. If most of the EQD listeners are instrumentalists then it needs to be said that those who do sample shouldn't be pushed out from the spotlights if they do their concepts well. They also need to avoid the same samples as everyone else. I've made some tracks where the EQD listener wanted an instrumental from me of my track but the samples are an integral part of the song i made. I find that rather insulting when the samples in there make the song complete but some of the EQD listeners can't accept my song on its own terms, as it IS. It's not sampling to get onto EQD, it's sampling because i like to make that influence apparent, because that's part of our tradition in this community to sample dialogue, and that's who i am, and how I make music (and a lot of great musicians do that). If you have load of pre-listeners judging if a track is pony enough they need to be fair and understand those concepts, not have their own prejudices on samples or instrumentals ONLY, and be the one to collectively decide in this grey area if it's pony or not.

I would say if someone is going to take the time to make a track if you're going to reject it for not being pony enough (or for a wide variety of reasons) the person has the right to know that and WHY. It's silly to have a process where musicians can't get feedback on rejects. I've been rejected plenty of times when i felt my music was clearly pony and i've never found out WHY. EQD has been vastly improving it's submission and feature process but including a rejection email would still be a much needed improvement and be a step on many musicians improving by getting that feedback.
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Re: What do you consider "pony" music?

Postby ChromaticChaosPony » 04 Nov 2012 13:54

I personally don't mind pony samples in songs as long as the are relevant to the theme of the song. However, I really am beginning to see irrelevant pony samples slapped onto everything. I guess you need to use your judgement. If it's a dubstep song about Fluttershy but has Louder.mp3 in it, the sample has no significance and ruins the song.

Also, if a song has no theme (or a very weak one), it just sucks. No excuses. It flat out sucks and should under no circumstances be featured.
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Re: What do you consider "pony" music?

Postby Sethisto2 » 04 Nov 2012 15:43

Just as a mass response:

It does look like most of you dislike samples in pony music. Again though, EQD needs to focus on the audience when it comes to this stuff. One of the biggest grievances I get is "how is this pony?". You could write a massive wall of text in your description about how it's pony, but as I've brought up in the past, very few read those until after they listen, and they really can't be expected to. As someone who has been a huge music enthusiast (note: not music creator) since I was barely able to talk, It's kind of commonplace to buy a CD and immediately listen to it. I don't know anyone that has ever cracked open the case and started with reading the included album book. That might be something you do later on after getting to know the songs, but never to start with. The general audience clicks the play button in the embed, or opens it in a new tab, and doesn't look past that.

"How is this pony?" also runs into the issue of comparison to other songs. I prefer to run the site on a content specific basis, meaning if someone sends a grimdark fic, complains when we rejected it for gore, then points at our post of cupcakes 2 years ago, it's usually ignored. But with instrumental music, we post such a huge amount of it it's hard to justify turning away anything for ponyness. Every instrumental post could swap the album art and be dropped in any fandom, so when we get something that is 100% obvious that the person just created a trance track and dropped scratch on top, we can't really do much about it.

Also a quick clarification and some behind the scenes info: While the majority of the music we receive is instrumental, they are actually the least viewed music posts on EQD. Early on back when it was a rarity, and we would see a not a clever pony track every once in a while, they were incredibly popular. The flood of dubstep/trance/orchestral/octavia/scratch songs has diluted them pretty hard though. Obviously including a popular instrumental musician in the header increases/decreases the traffic for it (Sim Gretina for example usually boosts it a bit), but I don't think the other songs are actually getting any traffic from that.

I want to get Instrumental people their hits back on eqd, but re-teaching the audience to click these posts has been difficult, especially when most of the songs are still the same.

It's a difficult issue to be sure!
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Re: What do you consider "pony" music?

Postby Evine » 04 Nov 2012 17:36

Sethisto2 wrote:I want to get Instrumental people their hits back on eqd, but re-teaching the audience to click these posts has been difficult, especially when most of the songs are still the same.

This is the important part, that your music gets an audience, not the fact that you as an artist gets featured on EqD.

As how to get artist to tell their inspiration, pre-request it, just like you do for fanfiction with their descriptions. I don't know how many pre-listeners you have (20ish?), at least one person should understand how it relates to the universe of MLP. And that's what it needs to qualify.
Of course you are gonna run into the problem some artist rely on their audience to submit their music. Then you must simply try to figure out the inspiration. If you don't find it, don't post it.

On quality, judge uniqueness as a separate standard. That you can make wubs just as good Skrillex doesn't make you bad, it makes you boring. We've already heard it. It can be anything in the song that makes it unique, sound design, structure, melody, even subject matter. A rough gem leaves you wanting for more, a polished turd eventually leaves you stained and dirty.

And guys, love'es for the samples. I would love to see some more songs that uses samples to great effect.
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Re: What do you consider "pony" music?

Postby zorg » 04 Nov 2012 17:54

Evine wrote:And guys, love'es for the samples. I would love to see some more songs that uses samples to great effect.


Maybe they just meant that there are some/many tracks (not necessarily submitted/featured on eqd ever) that use samples sloppily.
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Re: What do you consider "pony" music?

Postby itroitnyah » 04 Nov 2012 18:08

Sethisto2 wrote:I want to get Instrumental people their hits back on eqd, but re-teaching the audience to click these posts has been difficult, especially when most of the songs are still the same.

It's a difficult issue to be sure!
Then instead of posting whether or not it's an instrumental, just don't tell. Just say its' genre. That way, people will listen to it, because they won't know whether or not it's an instrumental until it's too late. Which makes it sound cruel, but hey. They'll discover some good music along the way
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Re: What do you consider "pony" music?

Postby Lavender_Harmony » 04 Nov 2012 21:25

I agree, separating the instrumental and vocal music probably contributes to the issue of having a lesser audience.
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