I can’t help but wonder how the modern music market is surviving. As long as the Internet has been the de-facto media sharing platform, the industry has been crying foul. They’re losing all their profits so they say.  Profits which I might add that they have been making entirely off the efforts of the artists who get pittance for royalties. Sometimes the artists (Metallica for example) step up and complain as well, and who can blame them? They’re already getting screwed by the record companies and all the free downloading has probably cut into their cash flow. Not that it’s probably hurting Metallica, but it is likely hurting the other artists who aren’t yet millionaires, naturally.

As an aside – I like Metallica – which is to say, I like their music except for the Bob Rock era of pop garbage after the Black album when they stopped being a heavy metal band and sold hard-rock albums to the masses as a Metallica product. Mass appeal isn’t a bad thing on it’s own, but when music is produced solely for that purpose it makes me sick. Artists need to make their living too, but if it degrades the art so severely, what is the point? They might as well get a day job like the rest of us if they’re not going to try anymore – calling modern tracks art is an insult to art itself.

Yet somehow Lady Gaga can put out synth-pop more pretentious than KISS (at least they can actually play their songs live and put on a entertaining show) and produce like sounding tracks for other ‘artists’. How many more of these artificial tracks that the industry is pushing can the general public stand? Sadly, it seems infinite – but every popular music genre has had a time when it reaches critical mass and implodes on itself. I personally hope that time is soon.

It’s happening all over. Rap and hip-hop went from a few pioneers (Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, LL Cool J, etc.) and became this huge scene where people pretend to be gangsters (50 Cent, Nelly, etc.) so they can make money rapping about being such thugs – because that was selling really well for NWA, Tupac and Snoop Dogg.
It’s gotten so bad that nearly every song on the pop charts now has the following:

  • a) A rap sequence (if not the whole song)
  • b) Heavily synthesized (ie. digitally pitch corrected) vocals
  • c) Few if any instruments played by a human directly.
  • d) A real song sampled and looped in the background.

I’ll admit, Miss (Mr? There’s so much silly speculation) Gaga’s ‘Poker Face’ has a dancelike beat that you can move to when half intoxicated in a sweaty cluster of also half intoxicated people on a tiny dance floor with speakers so loud the beat is all you can hear/feel. Personally, I used to think Queens of the Stone Age and the White Stripes could save us – but they’ve all formed new bands that are starting to sound the same as the other crap out there… I really hope I’m wrong about this, I really look up to some of these guys as being the last bastions of rock and have paid good money to see them do it live in their old bands.

As long as there’s a ‘new best thing that sounds the same’ situation going on, please excuse me – I’ve just dusted off my record player and ordered a new stylus for it. My cassettes and CD’s are coming out of hiding. I need to spend some time with Mick Jagger, Janis Joplin, Travis Meeks, Kurt Cobain, Billy Corgan, Marylin Manson, and Dave Wyndorf – to name a few – I have a large collection of physical media rivaling my digital collection. I’m doing this to remind myself that music can have passion, creativity and charming minor imperfections which benefit the recordings and make then worthwhile to purchase.

The music industry can rest easy – I won’t be downloading any of their products any time soon. It’s not even worth my time to obtain these over produced tracks for free anymore. If they do manage to scrounge out something listenable – well you know what? Given the crap out there now – I’m not spending a dime on a disc until someone makes an album actually worth my while.

My bottom line to the music industry: Market your product in a format that matches the modern digital era, stop rapping in EVERY damned song, and lose the vocoders that mask bad singers who have the ‘look’ you want to sell… Then I might consider paying for your products again. It’s called market value – obtain some.