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    Today’s Music Sucks

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    I hear this all the time. People are always saying: “There’s no good music anymore…today’s music sucks”. After this statement is made, people usually begin to list all of the ‘awful’ musicians of the day, then of course, start talking about musicians from “the good ol’ days”. Before we know it, the discussion devolves in to a rant about the music industry, and how all they care about is money. Here’s the thing though: It’s not true! Let’s break this down.

    First, record companies are businesses. As a business, it’s important to produce products that people are interested in. The major record companies rely on producing products that have mass appeal. Because they are big businesses, they need big successes to stay in business. The only way for the big companies to stay in business is to get behind musicians/artists that they see as having a large audience.

    So, who is this large audience? This large audience consists of ‘casual’ music lovers. Casual music lovers are different from ‘serious’ music lovers, and usually the people who talk about the ‘crappy’ music of today fall in to the ‘serious’ music lover camp, or more likely, are just too cool for pop music–in other words, prefer music that has a more niche audience. So, what sort of music do casual music lovers like? Well, it’s not really an easy question to answer since everyone is different, but casual music lovers seem to be less interested in more experimental music, and more interested in music with catchy melodies and rhythms, plus popular themes such as love.

    So, we have big recording companies that want a big audience. Naturally, they focus their efforts on casual music lovers. Casual music lovers are more predictable in their tastes, so it’s easier for big record companies to have big successes targeting that group of people. Now we get to the media: Radio stations, print media, and other entertainment venues such as MTV and VH1. These guys are in the business of selling advertising. Obviously, they can charge higher rates if they have a larger audience. They have less of an incentive to promote music that is less likely to have a large audience, because they make more money if more people read or tune in. So, MTV and VH1 focus their efforts on the music that has the most support (from big record companies), because the music is likely to have a larger audience, at which point the advertisers will pay more money for ads.

    Now that we’ve talked about the motives of large record companies, the importance of mass appeal, and how mass distribution (through solid radio and MTV support–and now, internet support) is important for those motives, it becomes clear as to why some people think that there is no good music anymore. Musicians they don’t like end up becoming massively popular, while musicians they do like fly under the radar. What is clear to me, and probably clear to lots of other people is not that there isn’t good music anymore, it’s that the argument that there is no good music anymore is probably the result of a person who is sad that their preferred music isn’t popular.

    Coming back to what I said at the beginning, there is good music being made every day. It may be more difficult to find (less support on the radio, TV and internet), but it is out there. Not every record label is big, and not every record label is trying to be everything to everybody. These smaller, and more niche record labels are the ones that are going to be producing the music that you’re interested in.

    Here’s what to do:

    Get online! With so much information available on the internets, it’s easy to discover lesser-known music that you will enjoy. I personally really enjoy using Pandora to discover new music. I put in a musician that I like, and Pandora will then play me music that they think I’ll like. It isn’t perfect, but I almost always discover good stuff. I can also hit up Wikipedia, and read about musicians that I like. I almost always stumble upon new musicians who I can check out. From there, I can just pop open iTunes and listen to samples of music from just about anybody. The savvier amongst us can also seek out sources for free music, and discover ridiculous amounts of interesting stuff there as well. You can check out music forums or websites, and get involved with Facebook pages and groups.

    If after all of this research, you STILL can’t find music you like…well, I don’t know what to tell you. You must not like music very much…

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    Topics: Music, Rants | 2 Comments »

    2 Responses to “Today’s Music Sucks”

    1. Andrew Says:
      November 17th, 2010 at 2:11 pm

      I Agree About the music industry, they are just trying to get what they want, the best way possible; the only thing i don’t undersatnd is how music changed for the worse(in my eyes) so much in the past decade (not including radiohead, i love them)

    2. Alan Says:
      November 17th, 2010 at 9:19 pm

      Thanks for dropping by! I feel like there is always going to be music that you like and music that you don’t like. The best thing to do is not worry about the music you don’t like, and spend time finding the good stuff.