Here is an excrept from a music conversation that had a bit of a different theme but touches on the same things...
Thought it might fit in.
just can’t let it go because I hear it all the time…
How many times have you been walking around when someone goes on and on about how there isn’t that much good music around these days. It is a popular argument where the main point is said in a lot of different ways.
I had a conversation with someone on the topic. Just to set up the situation this person was in their mid 40’s. The ages and backgrounds of people in this kind of conversation are pretty important. We talked a lot but if you had to boil down is main point into one single line it would be, “you don’t see groups like Led Zeppelin anymore.” Saying that there are no groups that elevate the genre and can be a face for a certain kind of music or the progression of music or in some cases a political movement.
I hate to be the one to break it to you folks but there will never be another Led Zeppelin. It has nothing to do with talent of musicians right now and everything to do with distribution and how people listen to music.
Genres are dead. There is so much music out there and the genres used today are archaic. You can’t put artists into a nice little boxes that are easy to pack up and throw to the masses. The mixing of styles and fusion type music is so widespread that attempts to organize it with cute little words like “pop” is almost laughable. You can mark “alternative” down as another term thats meaning has been watered down. You could sit down 50 avid music fans and get 50 answers to what they think alternative music is.
Music is not sought out in the manner it used to be. The emergence of P2P downloading has changed everything. There are not as many barriers between the person in his basement turning out music and the person that is looking for new and interesting tunes in his room. There has been a huge surge in the volume of music and its availability to the masses. This creates incresed supply and demand for niche type music that record companies didn’t do a good job of providing in the past. Instead of taking 50 musicians and pushing them through the hoops you want them to go through for marketing and presentation purposes you have 100 musicians that are what they are. Music listeners have been diffused and are drawn to the exact artists they enjoy.
If you could have summed up my personal point in one line to the guy I was having a light hearted debate with it is this…
If Led Zeppelin were around today they would not be Led Zeppelin.
That is not a knock on them because I am a huge fan and really appreciate everything they have for music with their work. There will not be any groups that dominate the masses like before because there is so much good work being spread so thin. It is an exciting time to be a fan of music. There are so many groups and people doing amazing things you just have to work for it a bit.
It is really easy to sit behind my computer screen and criticize music stores and companies for use of their genre system but they need a way to sort out music for their customers even if it is on a basic level.
I propose the use of a filing system much like the one used to make the Music Genome Project’s baby Pandora. Instead of throwing every song that comes across the wires into the “pop” category it is listened too and described empirically. For example, the song “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds was described as having mellow rock instrumentation, mild rhythm syncopation, acoustic sonority, and major key tonality. That is just a few of the descriptors given to that single song. It is a lot like a scientist classifying a new species. Do some of those terms seem a little foreign? Thats ok because the music you enjoy right now can be described the same way and from analyzing those it isn’t to hard to pick out other things you would enjoy. If you know that musical jargon then great, if not then it is not a problem.
Don’t sit here and try to tell me it is a bland time for an art as varied and incredible as music. I won’t believe you.