Music is very important to me. That’s why when I see mainstream performers like Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber shocking an audience to create viral attention, I feel it cheapens the experience.
I’m not naive to the reality that many people in the music-making business are in it to make money. However, it’s lamentable when the antics of a musician overshadow the music they produce.
The music industry is an ever-evolving machine that has become more and more efficient at gleaning money from the public. The production of music videos for channels such as MTV, which gained real momentum in the 80s, changed musicians from a voice emanating from speakers into a personality to watch. Today, we don’t only want to listen to their music, but we want to know what clothes they wear, who they listen to and what they believe in.
These changes have been magnified with the advent of the internet. With a simple search, you can learn everything you might want to know about a singer’s personal life.
This progression is not necessarily a negative thing. Often, videos or a musician’s persona can deepen the meaning you get from a song. However, we’ve now entered unprecedented territory.
So much of today’s music is overshadowed by the accompanying provocative music videos, the extreme personas the musicians adopt and the ins and outs of their personal lives. The bombardment never stops, especially on the internet.
It’s become hard to critique an artist’s music in isolation. When asked if I like someone’s music, I find myself judging him or her on the way they conduct themselves in the public eye.
Today’s mainstream music is insincere. It’s no longer an outlet for emotion and art, but simply another conduit though which we are spoon-fed what the marketers want us to know and consume.
We need to reclaim our minds. Actively think about what you’re listening to and you’ll appreciate the music more.
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