The Degradation of Music for Mass Consumption

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The Degradation of Music for Mass Consumption

From the very first time that someone decided to experiment with a musical tradition, the cry has gone out that "true," "pure," and "good" music is dead to society, and that music itself is on a perpetual slide to oblivion. All apostrophe aside, this is a serious matter to consider. Music inhabits a significant place in all cultures. Musical style is very much a function of the Zeitgeist, reflecting the prevalent tone of the dynamics and pulse of a specific time. As an artistic medium, music has as much to do with the shaping of society, or as a shaped response to society, as do television, literature, language, or art. The fact that we find music pervading so many of our endeavors bears this out. There is nothing like music. A musical composition is a singular, tangible, emotional and intellectual outlet for our expression, so it should be no surprise that the direction of music resonates importance with so many people. Which brings us to the topic: Is the popular music of today of any value, and what does it bode for future music?

In the introduction, I have suggested that the style of popular music of a particular period reflects that period. The particular style that is chosen is the artist's response to the agony and ecstasy, or something in between, of the time. The great thing about music, though, is that it can express anything. The Zeitgeist serves as a filter for the form of the music. In this way, the artist can make his point in a medium that is both accessible and acceptable to the listener. Not unlike language, the artist wants to communicate with his audience, and in order to do that, must speak the audience's language. Of course, music, essentially, has only on...

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...40 radio, one can easily hear a drum sampling or melody from one popular song sampled directly onto another, an horrific development. Here is music offered to the public, involving virtually no effort by the artist, with massive monetary reimbursement not just expected, but demanded, by today's arrogant performers. The public sucks up image over ability, style over substance.

This abominable trend will not right itself until a desire is expressed by the public for some real music, on a large scale. As with any business, the most effective method is purchasing power. Especially in today's market, music production is expensive, and a panhandling amateur will not survive long without financial backing. By identifying and understanding objective values in music and associating them with one's own subjective values, we may yet find an egress from our musical morass.

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