Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Question of the Day - April 22, 2009



jmerkow asks:

After going to Coachella in Indio this past weekend, it was clear that the music industry has taken a new direction and rock'n'roll has been pushed aside with electronica. Although Paul McCartney, The Killers, We Are Scientists, Beirut, Thievery Corporation, etc. put on great shows as rock artists, the majority of the weekend was overwhelmed with DJ's and other electronic variations. What do you think this says about the current music generation? Do you think there is talent behind these DJ sets such as TRV$-DJAM and Girl Talk? What will this do to the music industry overall, because most of these artists take other songs already recorded?

Hartmann responds:

All the great music genres will survive. Great artists will always present good shows and please the crowds. However, Classical, Folk, Bluegrass, Country, Jazz, The Blues, R&B, Reggae, Hip-Hop and Rock & Roll in all of its sub genres are now classic music forms. There will be no originality within the core structure of these genres. There has not been an original lick in Rock & Roll since Jimi Hendrix died. There has not been an original lick in Country music in over a hundred years. If one follows the historical trajectory it stands to reason that a new genre will emerge in popular music. This will establish the next cycle. These cycles always rise from a doldrums just like we are experiencing now. There is no ubiquitous form in popular music today. The "next big thing" always arrives with the rise of a "superstar" who defies convention, scares the parents and comes with a certain amount of danger, like sex, drugs or radical dress and a generally rebellious image. Without such a power personality a genre will float around on a cult level but not break into the main stream. When the superstar appears the new form explodes and the youth embrace it, defy the establishment's resistance and the next generation creates its own cultural icon. Then the cycle starts all over again. Usually there are two or more styles vying for popular attention when this phenomenon occurs. Electronica has been floating for several years and could well be the musical force that will kick off the next wave. Singer/songwriter music with story, attitude and social significance is also in play and could produce a superstar with sex appeal, charisma and a universal message. The electronica movement presents a peculiar situation since there are those creating the music and others who are manipulating previously recorded music in creative ways. The DJs are like radio stations or juke-boxes. They are vehicles for demonstrating uses of music and as such are vital to the dissemination, distribution and exhibition process. However, they are just promoting the originating artists work. Since they are not the ones building the publishing catalogs and do not receive the income from mechanical royalties and synchronization licensing fees, they will not own copyrights and master recordings. Therefore they won't build personal archives of intellectual properties even though they may become famous. Of course they can garner considerable fees for their personal appearances and that should make the whole thing worthwhile for them, the fans and the artists they promote. One thing is certain; music will change and the new thing will be huge because of the power of the Internet.

1 comment:

Jane Moxey said...

Good one, Professor! Luv J