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the downhil slope of modern music

Has this already discussed?
Or maybe viewed as too off the mark to be worthy of consideration?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVME_l4IwII

For my view - he makes a fair number of good points. A great deal of modern pop does nothing for me unless it just makes me want to turn if off but there is such a huge number of people and groups recording music, often with little or no involvement with major record companies, that I have no idea about the proportions.

Re: the downhil slope of modern music

Reply #1
The same type of argument has been made for centuries, "modern pulp fiction books have ruined literature", "recorded music has ruined musical performances", and so on and so forth. Today it's "music production has become far too easy, anyone can produce music now, lowering quality!".

Sturgeon's Law applies here, namely that "90% of everything is crap". The main reason why we tend to consider the art of yesteryear to be of higher quality is because we're only exposed to the things that survived the passage of time.

As an example, I often visit the bargain bins at my local second-hand record store. All of the LPs and CDs that are deemed below standard, either because of the physical state or because of the content, go there to be sold for rock-bottom prices and eventually discarded when even the "100 items for the price of 1!" sales won't move them.

It's an absolute sea of crappy "party music", trumpet a-gogo compilations and absolutely forgettable dreck.

The junk has always been there, but it gets filtered out by the passage of time. Sometimes you get lucky and find a forgotten gem, but they are few and far between.

Re: the downhil slope of modern music

Reply #2
Looking at the composer tags for some pop songs I've bought that are recent I actually don't see Max Martin or Dr.Luke's name (the later has been let-go from Sony).  Also that video is at least 2 years old.

KozmoNaut's point is pretty accurate: "90% of everything is crap" which I see across many different types of art out there.

Re: the downhil slope of modern music

Reply #3
Personally, I think social and technological evolution spawned a new age of music in the sixties, this revolutionary age is now reaching old age and demonstrating a corresponding decrease in originality. At some point there may be a new age of music but I think we have just lived through an extraordinary age of music creativity that may not be seen again. Not to say that young people may come to see the music of this era as old fashioned someday but for now it seems classical.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?  ;~)

Re: the downhil slope of modern music

Reply #4
I kind-of think the music industry has gone through phases where it's all about the music and other phases where it's more about image, fad, personalities, and lifestyle.    

Right now, I don't know because I'm older and I'm not keeping-up with the music scene and I'm not interested in most of it.    But, I "feel like" it's currently not about the music.

The technical quality is far-better than the "pre-CD era".    And the quality of PA/sound reinforcement systems seems to be continuously improving.

 

Re: the downhil slope of modern music

Reply #5
Personally, I think social and technological evolution spawned a new age of music in the sixties, this revolutionary age is now reaching old age and demonstrating a corresponding decrease in originality. At some point there may be a new age of music but I think we have just lived through an extraordinary age of music creativity that may not be seen again. Not to say that young people may come to see the music of this era as old fashioned someday but for now it seems classical.

Being able to record and distribute music in a relatively convenient format was a sea change, an absolute revolution that encouraged people to experiment. People were literally a lot genre conventions we have today, basically everything they did was new, instruments like the electric guitar were relatively recent inventions and a lot of people were breaking fresh ground all over the place.

I don't think the experimentation is gone, but it's not really in the mainstream anymore, now that it has had decades of being well-established, and even innovative pop artists don't really push the boundaries much. Luckily, there is so much avant-garde experimentation going on in niche genres, some really neat DIY things going in, people are still inventing their own instruments and fusing them with electronics and synthesizers to create something new.

I remember being in school in the late 90s, and a new kid started in the class below me. My classmates though he was weird because as they said: "he listens to really old music". I took that to mean classical music, I thought a kid in the 7th grade listening to Bach would be pretty neat.

Turned out that he listened to bands like Toto and Deep Purple :-P

Re: the downhil slope of modern music

Reply #6
The same type of argument has been made for centuries, "modern pulp fiction books have ruined literature", "recorded music has ruined musical performances", and so on and so forth. Today it's "music production has become far too easy, anyone can produce music now, lowering quality!".

True.

Sturgeon's Law applies here, namely that "90% of everything is crap". The main reason why we tend to consider the art of yesteryear to be of higher quality is because we're only exposed to the things that survived the passage of time.

90% is a low percentage. If only 90% was crap, everyone would be happy. And the ever lowering bar for entry means that percentage will continue to rise (reaching 100% at infinity future). It sure increased a lot since Sturgeon came up with that percentage . Not to mention the amount of "crap" in absolute numbers is getting astronomical.

As an example, I often visit the bargain bins at my local second-hand record store. All of the LPs and CDs that are deemed below standard, either because of the physical state or because of the content, go there to be sold for rock-bottom prices and eventually discarded when even the "100 items for the price of 1!" sales won't move them.

It's an absolute sea of crappy "party music", trumpet a-gogo compilations and absolutely forgettable dreck.

The junk has always been there, but it gets filtered out by the passage of time. Sometimes you get lucky and find a forgotten gem, but they are few and far between.

It's easier to filter out junk when you have to use physical media, and when you have to pay for it per item (no matter how big the item is).
It's not so easy when click farms and the likes are shoving crap down everyone's YouTube feed.

Re: the downhil slope of modern music

Reply #7
90% is a low percentage. If only 90% was crap, everyone would be happy. And the ever lowering bar for entry means that percentage will continue to rise (reaching 100% at infinity future). It sure increased a lot since Sturgeon came up with that percentage . Not to mention the amount of "crap" in absolute numbers is getting astronomical.

Since "crap" is a subjective term, I disagree. If people enjoy it and find it engaging and stimulating, is it really crap?

The whole "lowering bar for entry" argument is just elitism, sorry.

It's easier to filter out junk when you have to use physical media, and when you have to pay for it per item (no matter how big the item is).
It's not so easy when click farms and the likes are shoving crap down everyone's YouTube feed.

And yet it is absolutely possible to just pick out the music that appeals to you, based on some very broad categorization. The only danger is your own Fear Of Missing Out, which you will need to ignore. Artists, labels, genres cover art, album/song titles all provide valuable hints about what you should ignore.

I receive around 50-80 promo albums every week, which I upload to a private server and catalog (artist, album title, label, genre and release date) for our reviewers. In the beginning I tried to listen to every single album, which takes a lot longer than you'd think.

Now I'm a lot more critical, I know which genres and labels to pay more attention to, and I know some of the signs to spot albums of lesser quality. Am I missing out on a fair number of actual gems? Yeah, probably. But then I'll probably read a review of said album later, or have it recommended by a friend. And if I do miss out, too bad.

Re: the downhil slope of modern music

Reply #8
The whole "lowering bar for entry" argument is just elitism, sorry.

Entry cost (time, money, and skill) getting lower and lower is a fact. The positive and negative consequences of lowering the bar for entry (in any field) are well understood. The average quality getting lower is a known (and obvious) consequence. You can argue that the positives outweigh the negatives at the end of the day. But you can't just dismiss the negatives in the name of "meh elitism".

Re: the downhil slope of modern music

Reply #9
Entry cost (time, money, and skill) getting lower and lower is a fact. The positive and negative consequences of lowering the bar for entry (in any field) are well understood. The average quality getting lower is a known (and obvious) consequence. You can argue that the positives outweigh the negatives at the end of the day. But you can't just dismiss the negatives in the name of "meh elitism".

It is elitism, because it doesn't matter that there's more content out there, and that a lot of it is below average, because there is also an attendant increase in high-quality content, that would not have been realized otherwise.

 
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