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Music: It's Not Too Late

By Marc Parry
Apr. 8, 2012

Walk into any record store in any city in the country today and what will you find? Well, a number of things but the answer I’m looking for is a severe lack of people between the ages of 17 and 50. Why you ask? Where to begin?

For a number of years now popular music has been getting progressively worse, in the years since bands such as Oasis and Blur were the frontrunners in popular culture many things have changed – even as recently as the 90s people relied on magazines, the radio, and TV to bring new music to their lives and the only way to purchase said music was from a good old fashioned record shop. Now, in the realm of Mp4s is there really any need for a 10 square foot CD collection? I think not, and suggest the digital revolution that the internet swept in with could have been the final nail in the baby-sized coffin that currently houses popular music, if we let it.

Don’t get me wrong I am far from a technophobe that loses wood at the mere sight of a laptop, or a vinyl junky that worships the good old 1210s and would rather hang lifelessly above the steps of The Hacienda, with a jack plug lead wrapped around his swollen neck before letting the evil that is Mp3 into his life. But neither am I a technocrat – I’m just a normal man with a love of good music who wants it to stay that way or rather, return. I’m not going to waste time and page space recounting all the good works of popular music and the amazing artists we have seen over the years. Neither am I going to spend 4 pages spitefully abusing what modern pop music has become, or naming “artists” we’d all be better off without – they know who they are, and the ones intelligent enough to know the difference between good, bad or brilliant music will find that living with themselves and their unjust deeds is punishment enough for the waste of sound they have birthed onto this struggling musical economy.

So who is to blame? The artists themselves who should have known better and shown a little professional integrity? The AR men who went out and “scouted” said talent? The evil overlord record companies who release the winged AR monkeys out into this vulnerable, burning yellow-brick world of pop? No.

I am going to blame you! That’s right YOU. Whoever you are if you have any kind of vested interest in the world of music be it popular or otherwise then you should be hauled out then flogged for your actions and blind obedience thus far.

Why me I hear you say how is this barren musical landscape my fault? Well, if I’m honest it’s not just you; it’s you, me, record companies, AR men, the artists and anyone who cares about where music is, where music is going and where music should be. Finally, I’m going to blame the internet (honestly I am not a technophobe) which has unfortunately contributed in the biggest way to the state popular music has become. Don’t believe me? Ok think about this, since Mp3s and the like started to become more popular and people started to buy less and less music in CD format the internet became the nucleus of the musical world and not just for the purchase of music. In a time when we can get hold of another person in half a second be it by Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Bebo, Skype or any choice of modern day magical websites we can also look for a band, listen to their music and purchase their album in that same half second.

This is all well and good and I can guess that the more intelligent among you can see where I’m going with this – the problem is illegal downloading. Now don’t get me wrong I see nothing wrong with downloading a little music here and there from sites such as the Pirate Bay or Demonoid and would even go as far to say that I owe a significant portion of musical discoveries to the aforementioned sites myself. However, in recent years it has become clear to me why an increasing number of people are downloading illegal music. After speaking to literally hundreds of people in various online forums and even in actual record shops I have found that an unbelievable amount of music lovers only download illegal music as a sample and that these same people upon hearing an album they like are more than happy to then go out and buy or download this same album therefore, contributing in a good way to decent, honest music. Unfortunately, people doing this in their hundreds are not enough.

These people are the heroes. These are the champions that must lead the armies of good taste and good popular music to victory. As has happened in the years leading up to the sad state of pop music we have arrived at today, thousands and thousands of people download illegal copies of songs and albums without ever pushing so much as a penny into the pocket of the music industry. Now it’s easy to tell ourselves that we are doing good things by keeping the cash out of the hands of the “big bad record companies” who “control” the music, but what we are really doing is destroying the entity we have so loved and adored all these many years. Everyone knows that without money it is impossible to live in today’s modern world – would you go to work for free? And while the real motivation for any decent artist is a love of the art, it is near impossible to write good music while you’re fighting off the bum in the cardboard box next door with your Mercury music award.

The void that is left in the musical world when all you people who DO like good music illegally download for free is filled by people who are willing to actually go into a shop. This list includes people over the age of 50 - many of which can’t even use a computer - and most people under 17 or 18 and every age right down to the youngest music listeners who may not yet know about the wonders of illegal downloads. These are then the age ranges taken most into account when new music is produced and this is what is slowly but surely killing the music business and enabling a multitude of one-hit-wonders and disturbing demographic pleasers to be released into the musical world at large.

So what do we do?

Well, never fear, because unlike most of the world’s problems these days there IS a quick fix and an EASY answer. Start paying for your music. Do what you are already doing and use these sites to download new music, but then if you decide you like it get onto iTunes and pay pay pay! Stick it to the “big bad record companies” by paying for their music, as ridiculous as this sounds it makes more sense to exchange your hard earned cash for something you actually want to listen to rather than waiting another ten years until there is no music industry to rescue.

Although you may have noted earlier that I largely blamed the internet for these problems it can also be our liberator from this hollow crap pop shell, by all means get online and look into all new music; there are an increasing number of artists such as George Barnett who - using the medium of the Pirate Bay - believe in better music and are willing to give you theirs for free but if you like it then please help them to make more. The very nature of today’s technology means that if you download a song or an album then the person on the other end of that magic online store sees what is being bought and efforts can be made to give the people what they want – in short, better popular music!

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Email Marc Parry:

marcmrnice@hotmail.co.uk


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