We’ve seen massive changes in the music industry over the years. What once was a formulated, well-oiled machine, is now kind of skatty. It comes at us from all angles; unannounced and non-conformist. Whereas for many years it was steered our way strategically, through only a few conventional channels. The internet- that’s what I’m getting at, and its availability to everyone.
Popular music, from its early origins, until now, is only definable by the perspectives of the people who experience it. I was only born in the 80s, so I wasn’t actually there at the beginning; but I experienced it through the songs and tales that were left behind.
I know popular music didn’t start in the 60s, it’s always been popular. But it did for me. Well, actually in the late 50s, with the guys who were set to influenced the coming decade of artists. When CDs came on the scene in the early 90s I was about 6 or 7 years old, about the time you start to form an opinion. And when our house got its first CD player, my dad took me and my brothers down to Woolworths, to buy us a CD each. My brothers were much older than me, they already knew what they liked. But I didn’t have much of an idea what to get; so I took my dad’s advice and bought ‘Hits of the 60s’. I had great fun listening to it; it was exhilarating. I’d bounce up and down on the bed, singing along to: Bobby Vee, Buddy Holly, Wanda Jackson, The Silhouettes, Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers, Eddie Cochran; then: The Beatles, The Kinks, Bob Dylan, The Doors, The Velvet Underground, The Small Faces, The Rolling Stones…
I got it again, later on in the decade. It was popular on the scene once more. The bands were knocking out numbers reminiscent of that era. I thought maybe they’d also bought the same CD, but then I realised it had been happening for quite a while: The Las, The Smiths, The Stone Roses, The Verve, Oasis, Blur. My brothers both by then had their own money to purchase lengthy CD collections, which I’d peek through and play whilst they weren’t at home. And when they started rehearsing with a band in the house I’d sing along to them, on the equipment after they’d finished.
I still haven’t got over it. I can’t help but be reminiscent of the 90s, when we were reminiscent of the 60s. The recordings are always there, as is the footage. And they gloss up with time, becoming evermore revered. And that’s what was so great about it. The songs entwined with the tales. The encapsulation of curious people’s thoughts and whimsy. Then the stardom fuelling the creativity of these shiny, peculiar people. And the drama that it brought; the rhythms that it created. The melodies, which so sweetly stirred our hearts. That spoke to us. The words. The meaning. The development of the souls that were giving birth to it all. The artists. And the apparent authenticity of their art.
Is there still room for all this as an artist in our now modern set-up? It seems there’s a lot of work to do these days. But there’s a lot more freedom. So, that’s what you get. It’s what it’s all been about- freedom, isn’t it? Stepping out of schedule onto any path which forms. Well here, we’ve got it, so let’s make use of it. No more begging for a chance, wanting to be nannied. It’s up to us now, the tools are there. Now everyone has the opportunity of promoting themselves. And you can do whatever you want; there are less restrictions. Whatever obscure style you’ve got, somewhere throughout the vastness of the internet you’ll be able to find an audience. There’s such a varied spectrum of taste; endless genres which shot off at different angles from the source. Now artists get to be more of themselves; they can express more of their individuality, with full control over the artistic vision.
What will become of it? How will the many different influences available manifest? How will the art-forms progress? And how will our reception of it develop? Has anyone got any ideas? Because that’s where it all starts…
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