With people like JLS, Lady Gaga, and Jedward invading the charts it’s gradually becoming clear that music, like Marmite, is becoming an acquired taste. That might seem unfair, and it might seem bitter, but really, why does music have to be a sideshow?
With all the costumes, the drugs, the scandals, it’s easy to lose track of what was important in the first place; the music. Way back when it was all about that. Mozart didn’t become famous because he walked around in a meat suit. Beethoven wasn’t in the news everyday with a different tramp on his arm. So why the change? What happened to passion, to talent, to heart?
Making it big in the music industry is hard, it’s a challenge far surpassing that of climbing a mountain, or at least it used to be. Nowadays you just have to sign up to a talent show and act like a moron, or spend your life falling out of nightclubs. Sure, some bands do still graft, and yes getting famous is still almost impossible for most, but why do such a huge amount of clowns get through on novelty when there are so many talented people left behind?
Money. Of course money is the answer, and sex. Sex sells. Scandal sells. People want to read about what their favourite celebrity is doing, but then why bother with the music in the first place? Why not just do away with it all together and fill the airwaves with who slept with who, who’s in rehab, who’s out of control?
Of course it isn’t all new; musicians have always loved drugs, and there have always been scandals, but was the gossip always more important? No, it wasn’t.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; we live in a world damned by the Cowell virus. On the one hand you could argue that The X-Factor has helped people become famous who otherwise wouldn’t have, and you’d be right in saying that, but then it also seems to rely on the misguided that fall flat on their faces at the first hurdle rather than the talent that’s really out there.
And speaking of that talent; how many of you reading this can hand on heart admit that they know what music is out there to be found? Before I started writing about music I had no idea there was such a world out there. I had no idea that I could walk down the street on a Tuesday night and hear bands playing, bands that were better than the ones I would hear on the radio.
So I urge you all, please switch off your radio, stop vegging in front of the TV on a Saturday night, and go outside. Find the music. Listen to it. Live it. Support it. Because sooner or later all those bands that might never get a chance to go anywhere will stop trying, and then there wouldn’t be anyone to talk about anyway.
Originally published here: http://sqmagazine.co.uk/2011/05/comment-music-in-the-21st-century/