The Downsides of Today's Music Industry

   I wrote last time [See article "Home Recordists Are Killing The Music Industry"] of how easy it is to get your music heard. But I kind of glossed over the downsides. Nobody likes a downer - but I think it's only fair to talk about the bad stuff so it doesn't sound like:

  • The world is a wonderful, magical place or
  • I'm sugarcoating everything

   While it is easier than ever to put your music out there with all the online websites and such, the attention span of the average listener is at an all-time low. Sure, your mom and friends may listen to your whole album... but who else? With single-song purchasing noone listens to everything anymore. They just want to hear the most popular, and they have easy access to it. Unfortunately, your "most popular" tracks are probably not what you'd consider your best ones. A popular and well-known example: Sweet Child O' Mine. Slash doesn't like that song, and was apparently surprised when it got as big as it did. But the audience loved it and he played it every show night until the end of G'NR.

   I personally find that my favourite songs are not decided in one sitting. I like to put an album on loop and the ones that are catchy tend to be the ones I remember the first few times - but it's the songs that grow on me over time that tend to be my favourites. Ones that move me often do not do so immediately. Sometimes after a listen through an album you can feel which tracks were more loved by the band than others - you can feel the passion in the performance, the songwriting, the quality of the recorded takes. And through osmosis you begin to share that same passion. The nuances are more subtle than they were in the past - now every band tries for perfection on every song and it's more about lcoking in to the beat clock than having that magic feel that are present in records of the past. Take for example your favourite Led Zep album. On any given track there is some questionable guitar playing, the time flows up and down, and the vocals - well, don't get me started on them. But the feel of the song is alive! There's more energy in any of those tracks than the latest rage on the radio, and I think that music has evolved for the worse... maybe it's time to regress.


February 12, 2011

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