This is largely a reaction to This Article, but more or less sums up what I’ve been feeling lately.
Maybe it’s just my pigeon holed facebook feed, and the biased side of the industry I seem to pay attention to, but I feel like more than ever, there is a general sense of urgency in the music industry these days. People are constantly concerned with so and so’s “roots” and the “rise and fall” of a particular scene, and it’s inevitable “return” as to justify the stylistic choices of a given artist, genre, scene, label, or fan-base therein. I blame most of this on the internet, and the massive influx of electronic music and independent producers (good and bad) to have risen in the last decade or so. And I think it’s just fine…
I understand that certain people will always be offended by the success of the electronic scene and what it means to oppose “real” music, and I’m not here to argue that electronic music is real music too, because I really don’t care what people think about electronic music. What I care about is if the music I write is good enough to make it into the ears of people that might want to enjoy some new music, and I imagine most musicians, electronic or not, have very similar aspirations.
I started making electronic music because I couldn’t hold a band together for more than a couple months as a teenager, and I enjoyed the music I was making on my own way more than what I was making with other people. It was a touch narcissistic and unabashedly exploratory, and it didn’t matter that I was making electronic music, but it mattered that I was making ANY music. I also imagine that many musicians, electronic or not, share a similar notion.
The sudden growth spurt in technologies surrounding electronic music are rather obvious these days, so I wont bore you with reminiscing over shitty, cumbersome gear of the mid 90s compared to it’s elegant evolution into the present. I will however complain about how wildly impatient people have become in the wake of this new technology. Not only music lovers outside of the electronic world, but those within it, have grown to expect immediate results, neglecting to realize that regardless of whether or not we’re using laptops and ableton, or guitars and sitars, we’re STILL writing MUSIC. It takes time, exploration, failure, and going broke several hundred times to get to something that feels even remotely presentable. After that you spend the better half of your life fighting to make something perfect. If you’re lucky, then shit blows up quick…Then you’re on the fast track. Suddenly you’re either a musical genius prodigy, or you’re a hack that’s unintentionally destroying the industry with your “ignorant electronic music,” or you’re both.
The ability to be immediately connected with these artists and their output has been an incredible revolution. So much so, that we don’t even realize what we’re a part of yet. The stylistic brackets that any given decade seems to fill with music are suddenly dissolving. It’s also getting people worried. The behemoth sized payload of less than savory music has stained people’s palettes and ultimately lowered their standards and made them impatient. I’m not complaining about bad music, and I’m not saying that bad music should stop. I think bad music is wonderful and important. I made a lot of bad music. I still make bad music. So do you. The issue is that suddenly the general populous, whom were previously only exposed to amazing and technically perfect music via established and controlled channels like record labels and major studios, is now exposed to EVERYTHING, so the situation seems disproportionately dire.
The point I’m trying to make, in so many words, is that good music is still incredibly abundant. Bad music is also incredibly abundant, but we’re not losing our roots, nor are we forgetting what “real” music sounds like, nor are we selling out or losing our edge.
Now here’s the kicker… There is so much money in electronic music right now. SO MUCH. This happened very quickly. So, as any young and inspired electronic musician or DJ, why the hell wouldn’t you chase that carrot? Every other genre has had it’s time in the arenas for decades. Now that the new kids are on the scene, they suddenly don’t deserve it? Maybe they don’t. I’m not there, so I really don’t know. Maybe they’re all inconsiderate shitheads that just drink and party and fuck all night after their shows and don’t listen to fans and say mean things on stage and totally cant be “real.” Oh you mean like every other band ever?
Obviously there are exceptions all across the board, and I’ve been lucky enough to brush shoulders with some truly inspiring and madly successful wizards of the industry, that span generations, genres, and cliches therein, and it keeps me excited about what’s new, what’s old, what’s good, bad and in between. Everything has the potential to be crushed at some point so lets just sit back and enjoy the horrible music.