Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mainstream Music Industry Sells Sex, Not Music

The gym I attend, like most urban fitness centres, considers it necessary to serve up continuous pop music to go with your exercise.  It is piped to screens and speakers all around the gym via a satellite TV music channel at a volume that means it is impossible to escape, even with your own iPod.  The screens are full of young women like Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez, who make up for what they lack in musical ability by displaying their more abundant physical attributes, and rappers like Jay-Z, who also make up for what they lack in musical ability by displaying the physical attributes of a bunch of young female dancers.

I love music of all genres - everything from Mozart to Macklemore.  I closely follow the new and alternative music scene and I never travel anywhere without checking out what artists are playing in the place I am visiting. So I know that there are some stunningly good artists and music available today. The problem is, those artists and music are largely ignored by the mainstream music industry, which seems to be nothing more than a production line for homogeneous tripe that is sold through soft porn videos.

I'm also no prude and I realise that sex has always been used to sell music - I'm sure the women and some of the men of the Austrian court liked Mozart for more than just his piano playing (after all, it was the era of men in tights). But the place of sex in popular music today has become a bit like the place of ketchup in my youngest daughter's cuisine - she likes a small amount of potato chips with her ketchup.  It seems that in most popular music videos, the music is strictly secondary.

I suppose I do not have to watch and listen to this crap - I have started using a set of noise-cancelling headphones at the gym so I can listen to what I choose - but I see so many great musicians struggling for a living while airheads like Miley Cyrus make millions, that it makes me grateful I never pursued my own passion for music as far as trying to make a living out of it. The only saving grace in all this is the knowledge that on-line music sales (and piracy) are killing the mainstream music companies. Their demise cannot come soon enough in my opinion.

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