Music has become a mass market commodity. The advent of new technology coupled with the low cost of recording equipment has made anyone’s bedroom a recording studio.
Unfortunately technology and ease of recording has also made a multitude of new recording artists that are legends within their own minds.
Over the past few months I have traveled extensively and witnessed many new and diverse acts perform. For every 500 acts that I have seen and heard less than 3 were of remarkable talent.
Several reasons are behind this travesty of music.
1. Very few musicians, artists, singers or producers really know how to read, write and understand musical notation. Music is an exact science and the majority of the people making today’s music have no clue as to what that science truly is.
2. “My music sounds like” is the new standard that entertainers hold dear. Telling themselves and any person that will listen, that their music sounds as good as some platinum selling artist they hear on the radio so this should mean that the public will like it just as much.
3. Copycat entertainers remix a song and then maintain that the music they have stolen should be appreciated just as much as the original. This is completely true of the mix tape era artist, stealing hit records music, rapping or singing over the music and maintaining that they have a right to do so. As much as I personally don’t like Soul Jah Boy “Superman”, his music was new, unique and different than any other song on the air. His copycats include “Wonder Woman”, “Batman”, “Do the Superman” and a host of extremely poor imitations.
4. LOCAL DOES NOT make an artist. Staying with the Soul Jah Boy saga there must be at least 200 different songs coming from Mississippi that sound similar to him. Yet not one of them is worth the time it took to make them.
QUESTION: How many different ways can you make a chant?
ANSWER: Who knows but Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina and Florida ALL have thousands of songs on mix tapes and cd’s that are “HITS” to the artists that made them, but in reality are poor versions of the “Call and Response” Chant originally from Africa made popular in the USA by the Black churches.
Please don’t think that this phenomenon is only associated with the Hip Hop generation, the gospel music industry is full of “HOLY” wannabes that can’t sing, play or even maintain an honest business relation.
Being a religious artist is NOT a free ticket to maintaining music sales, popularity or even a fan base. It is not an automatic license to having anyone appreciate your music or in anyone giving you airplay. There are way too many religious artists that failed in the secular music industry, got saved and “switched over” because they thought the religious scene was easier to conquer.
Has anyone really listened to the huge amount of BAD rock, neo soul, r&b, contemporary jazz, country, blues or really lousy southern soul music available today? It has become a chore to listen to online radio, regular radio, and cable radio on television or even “live” acts. Entertainers in every genre use the excuse that they are not trying to “sellout” and are keeping it real. But the question has become “Who are you selling out to?” Since your music is marginal at best do you continue being a starving artist or do you learn how to make music that fits a group of people that will PAY to hear you perform it?
Digital is about to surpass the CD, and once it starts to happen it’s going to move music faster and faster and faster. Who is going to control the playlist? If there is an unlimited amount of music available – and as soon as the amount of music available exceeds the amount of time you have in your life, that’s unlimited – somebody will have the control spot of deciding what to listen to next. Will you be in a position to charge people to tell them what to listen to or will you pay people to have them listen to your music?
Today music sharing is becoming wide spread worldwide and music is becoming FREE for the listening. Only the unique, talented or famous entertainers are able to continue to sell music to the public.
More and more people are programming their OWN musical choices, be it via iPod, smartphone or burning private cd’s.
Who are the innovators, musical geniuses and multi media creators?
Who are YOU?