I’ve come to realize over the years there there really are only two genres of music: Artistic expression, and sellable product. Sure, music can then be sub-categorized into genres based on what they sound like, but in general, that’s it, only two. Don’t believe me? Turn on a radio. Ever feel like the shit played on the radio and on tv gets worse and worse as time goes on? I don’t know why this crap sells, but it does and that’s what really matters. Music industry is just that- industry. It’s about business. I’ve never heard a Flo Rida song that was truly original (that doesn’t mean there aren’t any, but come on). Flo Rida is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. He’s not a musician, he doesn’t sing, he doesn’t come up with original songs. He’s a business man; he repackages songs that were hits years ago to be sold to younger crowds. He sells a product, and you all eat it right up. Don’t get me wrong, some of his songs are more catchy than annoying, and are great for dance clubs and similar situations. But it’s just that, a product to make himself and his label (co-producers, writers, owners of the original songs he rips off, etc.) money.
If you want to see talented artists, go to a jazz festival. Some of the most talented musicians in the world will be there (No, not Skrillex, try Sarah Gazarek), and unless you’ve been keeping up with the Jazz scene you will have never heard of 95% of them. Bill Lonero is a killer guitar player, but you’ll never hear him on the radio. That’s not to say that every artist that makes it is selling out. There are plenty of bands that stick to their guns and get lucky. Nowadays getting signed isn’t what it used to be (cue side note).
Getting signed nowadays (for rock, metal, acoustic, folk, country, etc. bands, and even dj’s) means gaining a following on your own before a label will even bother to look at you. You could literally be the most talented group on earth, but if you can’t sell any demos, why would a label pick you up? Maybe another day I’ll do this topic, but for now we’re talking about product vs art.
Speaking of crappy radio play (this was going to be a separate rant but it works perfectly here), what the serious fuck is up with “country” radio nowadays? My boss listens to country at work, which means I listen to country whether I like it or not. But what they’re playing is not country. I get it, like I said above, it’s product, not music. But really? Luke Bryan uses Autotune now. When the fuck did that become ok? There’s nothing “country” about that. Yes it’s true, I’m not a fan of country music, but I can appreciate talented artists of all genres. Luke Bryan is not one of them. “Little Conway, a little T-Pain, might just make it rain” Where the fuck did this come from? Right, I get it, a reference to Conway Twitty’s attempt at mixing country with hip-hop. I’m just going to leave it at this: I sincerely feel sorry for people who actually like real country music, because no one is making it anymore.
[EDIT] Also, many of these “country” songs use electronic drum machines. Remember, if a drum track doesn’t feel human, it isn’t.