"Modern Music Sucks"
You must have heard that expression before. Perhaps you agree with it, like many of your peers, especially if you’re over 40. If you sing with My Pop Choir, you may have noticed the songs we choose to sing are most commonly from the 60’s-80’s, so that must mean I feel the same way right? Well yes...and no. I have decided to write a multi-chapter blog on this topic. In the first chapter, we discuss the changes in the music industry and how that has affected the quality of music through time. Read on!
First you have to understand that the music industry has wholly transformed from the 60’s to now, perhaps more than any other artistic industry. “Back in the day”, a record label was everything, and if you signed with one, your chances of having a successful music career went from largely impossible to moderately likely. But in order to sign with a label, you would slave away practicing in your garage for 5-10 years and play in your local dive bar every opportunity you could, which required a healthy dose of delayed gratification, something that’s definitely missing in our culture today.
In today’s music culture, record labels work largely for “instant stars”, i.e. those that go viral on social media, and why wouldn’t they? They used to invest huge sums of time and money to develop musicians in hopes they’d become stars, whereas someone going viral online is already becoming famous, making the label’s job much easier and more profitable.
When record labels aren’t signing instant viral stars, many are creating “data research” stars. Doesn’t sound very sexy huh? These are artists that are created by a team of professionals who look at current culture and create a formula for what will be the next big thing. The problem is that the music and musicianship itself becomes secondary over looks and branding. Why search far and wide for a great musician when a recording studio can make you sound good? Or put another way, why bother becoming a great musician if you don’t need to be one anymore?
What we often lose with data research and viral stars is an authenticity to the music. When you work on your craft for tens of thousands of hours, your music becomes enlightened, it seeps from your pores and is entrenched in your bones, it becomes its own language, it is filled with soul, and it is incredibly infectious. Neither data research or viral stars necessarily need nearly as much practice and connection to their craft before achieving major success, therefore, the magic that comes from true inspiration often isn’t there. The worst part? If people, specifically young people, only see inauthentic or uninspired music, then they won’t even know what they’re missing.
To me, popular music from the 60’s-80’s was sexy, dangerous, surreal, ground breaking, and awe inspiring. Music would help you think and grow, connect with others, and make you feel deeply about our world. The people at the top were people you aspired to become, affecting the next generation into being great musicians themselves.
So yes, in this chapter, I seem rather “anti-modern music”, however it’s not all gloom and doom! There are hundreds of thousands of incredible musicians out in the world, more than ever in fact, you just have to look for them. Artists are everywhere now, all thanks to the freedoms that come with digital distribution, and this will be the topic of my next blog. Until next time!
Alex Fiddes Owner/Director
My Pop Choir