The sentiment regarding music has changed over the years, there’s no denying that. Old music and the artists of yesteryear may not be relevant, but they are talented and that’s all that matters. Oh, and by old music, I’m talking about material that didn’t debut on the Internet. Can you even fathom that?
Walk with me.
1. Musicians don’t have to work as hard
No talent required. Like every other area of entertainment and art, technology has made it easier to create, and as a result, quality often suffers. While there are plenty of talented artists using technology for good to help their music reach the masses, others are using technology to replace talent altogether. Take auto-tune, for instance, which lowers the bar for those who can’t sing. The human brain understands a live performance; there is a human feel to it. Contrast that with over-edited or sequenced music, which feels cold and sterile. In the end, if it takes no musical talent, can you really call it music?
2. Music used to be much classier
If you go back by 40 years or so, you’ll find that the popular music was, at heart, about love, friendship and political issues — real things. In many Hip-Hop songs today, however, half of the rappers openly insult their audiences regularly. In R&B and Pop, the content is more provocative & sexualized than ever. In general, major music award shows are clearly lowering their standards for money or ratings. Plus, fewer and fewer artists are keeping their lyrics positive and empowering.
3. Genres are less blurred
Genres, in simple terms, are categories that we, fans of music, place bands and artists into in order to help us define what we listen to. The combination and formation of genres has its upsides, welcoming all new types of music and allowing us to expand our tastes, but with the business manipulating so many artists to make their craft more mainstream, way fewer acts are truly mastering their genre.
4. The music industry plays it too safe
When a major label signs an artist, they’re investing in the hopes the artist will make that money back. But most of the time, that doesn’t happen. Back when the music industry had a lot of money, there were more willing to sign people who were new or dangerous or weird, just to see if it would sell or not. These days, they can’t afford to take that chance. They’re going to play it safe. And that is why the music you hear on the radio sounds safe.
5. Music is lacking an honest message
Music today manages to push the limits in some aspects (see point #2), but in all of the wrong ways. Many artists today do something they think will be popular rather than sending an honest message. Back then, music seemed to stand for something, especially in the 60s and 70s. If you turn on a bop from that span of time, the history of the generation is aligned and you can learn something about them. So, what does today’s music say about us? Ugh, I don’t want to know.
So, go see some live music. Get creative with how you search for music — discovering one new band means discovering ten or twenty new bands. And please, keep an open mind. Most people discount new music just because it’s modern, but that isn’t fair to the new artists who are trying to alter the narrative.