Monday, October 4, 2010

The Death Of Pop Music

Pop music (the concept, not the style) runs on the momentum of the relationship between radio stations, MTV and the record companies. As a song is released, the big companies (EMI, Sony etc) give these songs to the pop stations (Nova, 2Day FM, MTV etc). The radio or TV station plays the song repeatedly, giving the impression that it is popular, regardless of whether it is or not. Almost all of this music is in the same style (currently this is RnB and female fake rock (Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus (to name but a few))). This ideology goes back to the days when radio was king, and besides jazz clubs, the only music you could hear was through the airwaves. In the 1960's though, bands started to play gigs and rock clubs began surfacing, sometimes even allowing a band to survive without radio play (Led Zeppelin didn't release singles in the UK). When punk arrived in the mid 70's, live shows were the whole deal for these bands and they proved that a whole subculture of music could exist without the need for radio. Still, at this time, the most popular music was out there due to radio exposure. But when MTV reared its ugly head in the 80's, kids wanting to find good music would only have to see what was on heavy rotation to find out what to like. It was, dare I say, too easy to discover new music.

As of the early 00's, the music on pop radio was of little merit and was now supported by American Idol. This hellish show made millions of people believe that this was normal music, furthering the illusion that besides pop music, there really isn't much out there. This is not to say that great music can't survive, but it is always going to be harder on good artists when there are a large portion of people in the world that don't know better. These people, the viewers of Idol and the listeners of Nova, I believe would be listening to better music if this shit wasn't so easily available. These people (most people) obviously enjoy listening to music, or else they wouldn't be tuning into these stations and getting these records in the first place, so now imagine a world where they had to seek it out. I honestly believe they would seek it out, because music is an amazing thing that most of us want in our lives, hence the existence of a huge industry making money off feeding these poor misguided souls such easily accessible songs.

Now to the point of this article... I think the record companies are in their last years. More and more people are downloading music for free. Yes, alot of the music being downloaded is the crap that's on the radio, but what about the day when almost nobody buys music anymore, leaving the industry to die. If the companies don't exist, and therefore are not creating this bad music in such large quantities, will bad music just become another genre to seek out on the internet?

I have faith in people, and I truly do think most people just don't know the difference between what they like and don't like and will just take what is given. So if left to their own devices, with no corporation to tell them what to like, will the misguided masses seek out the type of music that is currently being pumped through ad nauseam??

If all music becomes equal in exposure, and (unless a friend burns you something) the only way to hear music is by seeking it out, will the next generation really want to go to the sites playing music akin to Akon, or will they follow their heart and listen with their own ears?

Perhaps it will mean the death of pop music after all.

 - Lee (while not listening to T-Pain)


  1. Amen brother!

    I despise Australian idol, The X factor, Australia's got no talent - all those shows..

    I also think that you're right, sooner or later the record companies are going to lose money (if they haven't already) and go bankrupt; meaning, as you said, no more money to pay ppl with no talent to pollute the airwaves. When that happens, it will be interesting to see if good music becomes popular again.

  2. If the money leaves, so will the dirty middle men and music will return back to the foundations: Made by people who love to make it. If a typical success story in music is to be able to survive through touring but not being some super rich pop star then it won't appear as attractive to the people with less musical talent and more marketing skills.

    With the cost of distribution and production ever decreasing, it isnt necessary to be signed to produce quality. Revenue sources will fall back to tours and donations.

  3. From my understanding the big labels are thieves (even some of the smaller ones). A few years back an Australian metal band called The Berzerker started distributing their own music (and they still are). When they first made this break from their label at the time - which is quite a large metal label as far as metal labels go - they wrote up a detailed breakdown of how the costs are managed. Turned out that you end up getting less than 3% (I'm pretty sure its less than that) of the profit made from each CD. So touring hard all year round is the only option to make a living if you're not Rihanna.


    Haha, he rips his face off.

  5. That's fucked. Did you read the caption to that youtube clip? A band can sell 250000 albums, and tour for five weeks and they finish up 14000 in debt