Saturday, 16 October 2010

Guest Blog #5 - Stuart talks about disposable music

It's been a while since the last guest blog, but Stuart has kindly contributed, highlighting something that has been on my mind - the way we consume music. Stuart was the topic of a blog entry on coming out a while back by the way.

Being a friend of Dorothy's, It's no big secret that I myself enjoy some commercial chart music.

Just a quick glace into my listening habits as published on my profile shows that my current favourite music artists include the likes of The Saturdays, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga; all of which have quite a popular presence in the UK charts at the moment. But for just how long?

In today's world anyone can be a pop star. Technologies like 'auto-tune' can make people like Paris Hilton and Katy Price sound like they have a voice. YouTube can be used to broadcast your own homemade music videos across the world instantly, and TV shows like The X-Factor and American Idol can pick up a member of the public who the music industry wouldn't even take a second look at and turn them into a overnight chart topper.

Because of this, the face of the music industry; the artists, are constantly changing, renewed for younger/fresher/more moldable artists. This is a great way for the music industry to make money, but is it really doing any good to the future of music as a whole? I say no.

Music has become almost disposable these days. A new song comes out, the Radio/TV overplay it to death, we set it as the ringtone on our phones, download it to our mp3 players then after a few weeks we get bored of it and replace it with the latest must have tune.

Whatever happened to mega stars? You know the people that stick around for years making music that is still listened in years to come. Sure we have people like Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Eminem and bands like Kings of Leon and Muse, all of which are the mega stars of music to the current generation, but in 10, 20 or 30 years time will people still be listening to their music, will they even still be known?

Even someone like Madonna, who has been in the business for decades and remains a popular artist has lost some of her magic. Try to name her last 3 releases... yep, all pretty forgettable right? Think back to the 80's and all the classics she had back then. I was still in nappies and being spoon fed when songs such as "like a virgin", "Into the Groove" and "Holiday" were released, yet those are the songs I associate with Madonna, not her current disposable tripe.

Amongst all the artists in my music collection who have come and gone over the years I also have music from some of the great artists from yesteryear such as Queen, Phil Collins, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles and Michael Jackson - music before my time, yet who would you consider to be the modern day equivalent of these great artists?

There just doesn't seem to be anyone in the charts anymore who has the staying power to be remembered and loves in years to come. Sure there is some fantastic talent in the music industry these days that you might consider exempt from this generalisation (most of which I might add is of British origin) such as Alex Turner (him off of Arctic Monkeys), Chris Martin (from Coldplay), Damon Albarn (of Blur and Gorillaz fame) and Noel Gallagher (formerly of oasis fame) some of whom have created some classic songs, but are they the real mega stars of our generation? I guess only time will tell.


  1. I should mention that you can find Stuart on Twitter - @EvilGayTwin

  2. Stuarts great guest blog entry makes some interesting points.

    For me, music is TOO easily found, consumed and finished with. But that's progress for you! I remember having to wait ages to buy the single and then, if I had enough money, buy the album. Spending the equivalent of say £25 in todays money on an album was an important decision. Almost 20 years ago I paid £12.99 for a CD - look how things have changed!

    The art of compiling an album has died. The best music I know is part of an album that 'flows', but we dont listen to music like that anymore. I blogged about this a while back...

    I moan that music is too cheap and piracy is just theft, but times have moved on and the way we consume music has changed forever (perhaps benefitting the live music circuit?). I'm as guilty as anyone with 5000 songs on my ipod and lots more on CD that I haven't even put on iTunes!

    Perhaps progress will sort itself out in time?