Tuesday, 1 January 2013
I have complained here before on how bad contemporary music is. As in, nothing that is now playing on our radios will still be doing so in forty years time the way that, say, The Beatles or Led Zeppelin do. I even suggested that instead of constant improvement, the way we tend to automatically expect in other fields (say, computers), the field of music is going through a decline. Now I am here to say that things may be slightly different to what I have previously seen.
It's Spotify's fault and the ease with which I am now exposed to music. Take, for example, the list of the best albums of 2012, as published by The Age: listening to that I can conclude that while I did not feel like I was listening to the next Led Zep I did enjoy myself; or rather, I find myself unable to claim there is no good music being created out there. Lucky me, I can now claim there is plenty of good music out there. This observation is not entirely dependant on The Age: other playlists, such as the Misfits soundtrack (a sample of which can be found here) or the Chuck soundtrack indicate an abundance of good new music.
The problem, it now seems, is not in the lack of good music; the problem is one of distribution. We are pumped with crap; what passes nowadays for "pop" is worse than the bile of Beatles era. For one reason or another - probably coming down to record labels and radio station bean counters - this is the music that normal people get exposed to (and the music I am not looking forward to my son pumping out at high volumes once he hits his teenage years). The phenomenon is not that different to what we are seeing in the world of journalism, where the crap coming out of the Murdoch factories actually passes for news and dominates circulation.
In this background, the likes of Triple J radio or Melbourne's Triple R and PBS are the vanguard saints fighting for proper music culture. Note none of these three are commercial radio stations; something to take into account when one hears another of those "the market knows best" arguments?
We are lucky to live at an age where our dependency on record labels or any other entity to supply us with our music is at an all time low. Thank the Goddess for the Internet, the savior of our ears!
Image by MJ/TR (´･ω･), Creative Commons license