Think about who you were at school back when you were 14. Were you one of the many jamming along to all of the mainstream music and booming out the lyrics at the top of your voice? Or were you someone who would gravitate toward the corner of the room, clutching your own MP3 player, earplugs in, despising the noise in the background? Maybe you liked those emo bands! 21 Pilots, MCR or Panic! Or maybe classic rock, indie, or grunge! In that case it is rather likely that at the time you would have detested the mainstream stuff, believing it is very overrated and that it simply was not worth listening to. And so you don’t have to say it yourself, chances are you still do…
It is far more authentic, and far more skill, work and creativity which goes into it, compared to the usual 4 chord EDM stuff which we hear on the radio. However if you enjoy what’s on the radio, should you really feel guilty?
By Force or by Choice?
It could be contested that the poor range of music is forced upon us because it is simply what the radio feeds us. This is kind of true. The radio basically plays music which is catchy and recognisable, enabling the average listener to get know and hopefully like the song fast. Subsequently they will continue to listen to the radio station, while they are more likely to purchase from the artist (really the record company). So it all boils down to money…
A little more complex
But we cannot come to the conclusion that most listeners only listen to mainstream music. The average person spends about 18 hours a week listening to music, and some people of course will spend much longer. It is almost certain that anyone spending this much time or longer is not going to be constantly listening to the radio. Which suggests that most people have a much greater diversity in music taste than it may seem.
A Change in Trend
From this hopefully you will have established that we all have different tastes, yet why has the mainstream obsession changed from RocknRoll in the 60s, rock in the 70s and 80s, grunge in the 90s to whatever it is now. Well things change all the time, styles, ways of life, food, you name it! New ideas which have emerged have explained the evolution of music. Combining this with new technology and you really get a new domain to explore. Which explains why things have changed so drastically!
Is it even that bad?
Now I am no expert on music, but it is quite clear that the general dynamic of music is changing, at least to a certain degree. As rather than the sound being produced by organic instruments, it is done by a rather clever computer (and many smart producers). Admittedly I enjoy listening to this kind of music, and this type of music most certainly is being utilized outside of the mainstream. Therefore it may be time to admit that the change in music is exciting, and not all of these songs are produced lazily. Onto the lyrics, yes a lot of modern popular songs seem to be about “sex, sex, sex”. But come on! It is not like this became a new phenomenon in 2000. Therefore not all of the music we are fed may be brilliant, yet not all modern can be labelled as rubbish. Meanwhile surely there is no harm in unwinding by listening to something less deep but more fun.
To sum up, there is maybe less reason to be ashamed of our new established favorite kind of music than what we may think. More skill may go into computer music than we may think, and I would argue that judging from our nostalgic love for old music; guitars, pianos and violins aren’t going to go anywhere too soon. Meanwhile surely allowing ourselves unwind by listening to a fun, and not too emotionally intensifying song should be allowed. Although saying this, it is equally important to bear in mind that the main objective of the mainstream music industry, is unfortunately, to make money. Therefore it is important to ensure that continue to enable ourselves to enjoy a wide range of less well known music, whatever type of music that may be.