So you want to be in a rock band?: The dwindling music industry can be saved
It’s become painful to listen to modern-rock radio because you can’t tell one band from the next, the general consensus in terms of acceptable lyrical subject matter is appalling, well more so pathetic, and everything just seems so damn predictable as though each song selected to be a single had “insert catchy hook here” and “time for a guitar solo/breakdown” slated in the sheet music before the piece was even composed. The rationale behind all of this was, of course: to make money.
Record labels believed, that if they continued to hire copycat artists who simply acted as puppets in their greed-driven attempts at success, that we, as consumers, would be too ignorant to notice. While it is unfortunate that many independent, and truly talented bands are suffering in the crossfire, I feel no sympathy for the record labels as truly, they are getting their just desserts. If they feel there’s nothing wrong with exploiting young naďve artists, and then shortly thereafter, ending their careers to make a quick buck, then there’s nothing wrong with stealing from major companies who could care less about the negative effects their messages and efforts have had on society.
From a consumer perspective, I can appreciate the fact that shelling-out the cash to buy an album doesn’t seem worthwhile when there are only three decent tracks on the entire thing. However, what consumers don’t realize is that the cycle of releasing sub-par music is being perpetuated by their very actions.
Because record labels are losing so much money at such an intense rate, artists are being forced to release new material more often, and consequently, the song writing quality continues to diminish because musicians are no longer being granted time to develop their skills, and their art.
It wasn’t uncommon five-ten years ago, for artists to wait anywhere from three to sometimes even seven years before issuing a follow-up record, which of course gave allowance for artistic development and experimentation. But because of the industry’s threatening financial situation, record labels do not have the time, or the patience to care about such things, and thus, will settle for what they can get.
Fu rther, there’s another force influencing this situation, which I like to refer to as “the convenience factor.” Society, for whatever reason, (blame it on the media, generational differences, or a combination) continues each year to become more and more obsessed with the, “bigger, better, faster, now” mentality. Advertisers have noted that our attention spans are shortening, causing us to become bored and/or distracted at a quicker rate, thus propelling the need to consistently obtain new material items. Keeping this in mind, it’s no wonder that record labels expect new albums out of their artists every year, sometimes even every six months because what’s “new” doesn’t stay “new” for very long in such an over saturated and overplayed market.
So how can artists contend with all of this when the labels, the ones with the money and manpower, are losing their stability? Well, no one said it would be easy, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
If major labels continue to plummet, no longer will our airwaves be flooded by the same ten bands that all sound like Nickleback. Musicians again will have to pay their dues, win their own fans, independently promote their concerts and earn every bit of their status by themselves.
It’s a purification process, and a much needed one at that. Though “rockstardom” will likely never be as it once was, our current climate demands change, which I believe could be the beginnings to a major overhaul, which will re-introduce art to music. Here’s hoping I’m right. I know there are more purists, like me, out there.