Popular music. But popular to whom?
I’m not a music snob, but sure, I have an opinion when it comes to good music, as any subjective music lover should. I’ve tended to steer towards more underground, independent artists, but I’ve also not been able to resist many mainstream musicians who’ve captured radio and MTV audiences. I really try to listen to and appreciate all genres of music, high and low, narrow and wide.
Did anyone suffer through the Grammys last night? Or the Superbowl halftime show, or any televised New Year’s Eve showcase? How totally alienated and weirded-out did you feel? It’s as if Popular music has strayed so far off on its own tangent, that there’s an absolute disconnect with the reality of listenership. I can’t go off naming names (because it’s not worth the headache of having friends of terribly untalented music artist friends blowing up my phone or showing up to my office with baseball bats in the morning), but who actually is buying into this stuff? Is anyone listening?
I know I’m not the only one that feels this way because the Internet tells me so. Look at the Youtube numbers, the Twitter followers, the hard web statistics of loyal followings. Some of the most creative and honest and skilled artists have amassed substantial online fanbases, but will never see the Grammys stage or rock alongside a Beatle on a sports field. Because they’re not “packaged” to sell merchandise, because they’re not playing along the industry rulebook…
The music industry and mainstream media are stubbornly fixated on the same 20 “newer” artists (and anyone who built a fanbase before the year 2000), too scared to embrace anyone new, too safe to risk deviation. Meanwhile, the rest of the world, especially anyone under the age of 25, has moved on to the true New Music. Sourced through Internet downloads, discovered not by record store displays or Soundscan numbers, but blogs, tweets and tumbles.
The Grammys kicked off last night with a prayer for the late Whitney Houston. But as the quiet descended upon that room, it was also an audible moment of silence for Old Music. What a shame for both.
Here are some selections from some of the “better” musicians out there:
letlive – “Renegade 86”
Polica – “Lay Your Cards Out”
Earl Sweatshirt – “Home”