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The Bad Music Movement…..

Since the dawn of popular music, there was always movement; a constant “progressing” in a fashion that defined each movement as an era. Generally speaking, these eras could be viewed in five to ten year spans. The musical difference (musical difference meaning the general sound of the recordings and artistic message) was obvious from 1950 to 1960, 1960 to 1970, 1970 to 1980, etc. But something peculiar happened towards the tail end of the 90s: It appears that since then there hasn’t been much progressing. So in 15-20 years from now how will we define the signature sound of the 2000s? Probably something like “the era of hyper-compressed, way too distorted, ear fatiguing music that is now classic because the music today in 2020 is so much worse. Haha, I really hope not, but certainly a song coming out today doesn’t  have a sonic fingerprint that, say, couldn’t be heard in 2001. Indeed there has been great music in the past 8-10 years, but we all know that something has changed. There is a reminiscing in the air- passionate music lovers; people of all walks of life longing for a time when they could buy great CDs- new releases- every week remember those days? For those who say that there is just as much great music today, well then they also have to admit one of two things along with that theory:

a) This multitude of great music is not getting out to the masses anymore, or
b) The masses don’t t like great music anymore

The term masses is not to be taken with a negative connotation; I’m speaking of your average music lover, your everyday passionate listener. I guess they are gone because this tremendous amount of great, inspiring music is going unnoticed. The more likely scenario is that great music has greatly diminished.

All right, so if that’s the case there must be a reason, or perhaps several reasons all coming together to create the perfect storm for the invading bad music movement. I’m not saying there is anyone specific to blame, it is simply a cultural shift. I don’t claim to have any solutions but without trying to be too cynical, I would have to say that musical movements the way we once knew them could very well be part of our human history. Music will go on just fine and I’m sure plenty of great bands and artists will emerge in the future, however their relevancy on a pop culture scale will most likely be very limited (except for the very few). Let’s hope that’s not the case.

I have heard several people who are of the opinion that music and creativity has maxed out because there is only so much you can do and it’s all been done. Is music like a natural resource? Can it be depleted? If so, can it grow back? If it can, we need to start some music cultivation farms (oh wait, they used to be called major labels). But seriously, I do think it is harder to be original today than it was in the 70s or 80s. Also, great acts almost always take many years to develop and in today’s culture of people only wanting to be famous, the object of creativity has dramatically shifted. The mentality is more in the form of let’s just throw it down quick so we can go get famous.

The modern digital age has enabled bad music to be mass-produced very quickly and the wannabe famous artists in the basement are flooding the airwaves. Great art is a long labor of love that few people have the time for these days. Add to that the fact that there are fewer live venues for budding artists than ever before. Many of the great acts we’ve come to know in the past honed their craft by gauging the reaction of real people. They could see the faces of the audience when they tried out their new material. If your audience were falling asleep during that new song, maybe you would think twice about ever recording it. Bands and artists are at a huge disadvantage who cannot perform live or don’t have venues to do so. Instead of playing their instruments they’re at home playing with their computer mouse.

To summarize, here are some points, which most likely contribute significantly to the great decline of music:

– Too much information. People don’t have time to sift through a billion myspace pages
– Music and arts programs have been removed from our public schools. So many children have been growing up without ever having a chance to not only learn and study music, but understand its history

– Music is free
– Live venues are dwindling
– Fame has become the ultimate goal
– Music has become devalued, why? Because it’s free
– Anyone who can play 3 chords or rap a line has the ability to record it and post it on the web for the whole world to hear, though the world is hardly paying attention anymore (you better have AMAZING songs)
– It’s harder to be original and it’s harder to stand out
– Sonically, music is waaaay too compressed and loud, making it very fatiguing to the ears for any extended period of time- the burn-out rate is fast
– People don’t even buy stereo systems anymore- most people I know listen to music only on their computer speakers

So in conclusion, it seems most likely that we need a cultural movement if we ever hope to see another big musical movement. I suggest we make some truly inspired music for the love of it and turn away from this ego driven, fame lusting, sick sick culture of ours¦and may God bless America! (I’m not just saying that rhetorically, I mean it .

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