I’m no expert, nor am I an insider on what goes on the music industry. Those who are more qualified are people like Davey D and the people at Industry Ears know what’s really goes on behind the scenes. However, I know that this business is a part of the media circuit which operates for and on behalf of the mainstream audience. It is a part of a larger, more complex entity created for entertainment based on the considerations of corporations and their customers.
Sepultura13 of Random Musings; Myriad Musings gave her insight on racism and sexism in the entertainment business. Music, as stated earlier, is no exception. In many cases it’s no different than the racist, sexist images we see in movies, television (including commercials and cartoons), video games and even comic books. Although there is almost no overt isms and phobias showcased in mainstream music, as evidenced through loads of testimony by those within the game, it is prominent within the workplace.
Almost all of the entertainment industry in the West is run by white males. Now, before some depressed, angry troll starts foaming at the mouth, this is not a racist thing to say about whites. It’s the irrefutable truth. This also doesn’t “prove” that white people are superior to other groups, nor does it mean that all of them got their by “pulling up their boostraps”. But that is a different topic, a topic discussed millions of times.
The point can be answered by a quote by graphic novelist and writer for the current Thundercats series Brandon M. Easton when asked by Hellboy screenwriter Peter Briggs “why Hollywood films suck so often“:
“Incompetence is rife in this business, and egos make it worse. And there’s a culture of poker buddy, frat boy nepotism that fosters ‘who you know’ and filters out genuine talent. And that’s why bad movies get made.”
Even though this quote was referring to Hollywood and is incorporated with the miserable state of the comic book industry, the same can be said about the music business.
The music business is crippled by its inept sense of style and substance, its misused investments towards unworthy talent being force-fed into our ears, its reluctance to the changing times, a narrow view of the world aligned with overall racism and sexism (Yes, I said it!) and its overall lack of good business knowledge.
What qualifies as “good music” is an opinionated subject. But within the last couple of decades or so, the music has not been what the music industry wants as a top priority. Slowly but surely, it was no longer about expression or art, even though it still remained on the airwaves. It morphed into a competition to find the next cool image. It was about looking and being bad and naughty. It was about being a rebel without a cause.
Soon, individuality was shunned. The latest brand new artist became another mass produced copy of an established artist’s image with more “improvements” that executives hope will shatter borders no matter the outcome. In time songs started to sound almost alike, and their rotation in the airwaves become more frequent. You would literally hear the same song multiple times in one hour alone, and since the music in that rotation sound similar to each other, there’s a chance that you will grow tired of that music.
Another part of the issue is the severe lack of variety. Not all music should be an opportunity to not think and feel, nor should it all glorify the problems society has. Yet, most of what he hear on the radio through mainstream stations or see on television channels that broadcast music videos is seemingly geared towards non-thinking music. I’m not saying that all artist must be deep. I’m not even saying that all music must be positive. And I’m definitely not trying to disrespect any artist out there. What I am saying is that there are people, such as myself, who appeal to different kinds of music and not the same kind of styles, messages (if there are any), and beats recycled and replayed ad nauseum.
Let’s be honest. It’s not just the fault of the music executives, technological advances they didn’t adapt to or the artists for why the music business is failing. Part of the blame lies with the audience. At some point, the people spoke and demanded more of certain kinds of music to listen to. The executives heard the call and answered, finding the next big image to show to the world. In short the people demanded and the corporations supplied.
This is a difficult subject to tackle as it is a complex deal. Again, I have little to no knowledge about how it works in the music biz. Like any corporation there is corruption and incompetence at play that will cause damage somewhere. The music industry is no different as seen in this case. It’s a dying business that seems to continue on its path to ruin. Sooner or later, it’ll be time to sing to a different tune if they hope to survive.