Friday, May 29, 2009

Question of the Day - May 29, 2009


Maddy Weese asks:

I recall you telling our class that in order for a genre to make it it in industry as a major influence it must have a "superstar." Could this be possible when most of the electronic music artists are disk jockeys mixing other people's talent? Could there ever be a huge superstar, the kind you have explained to us in class, in the electronic genre? What classifies someone as a superstar when there are so many different opinions and varieties of music?

Hartmann responds:

The Internet has made every known genre of music totally accessible to the global fan base. With the ability to have thousands of songs on your iPod, for free, musical taste is expanding as never before in the long tail of recorded music. This universal exploration is broadening the public perception of music in general. As the fans are exposed to more sophisticated music their tastes change and the mathematical mind tickle music provides seeks more and more satisfaction. Humanity is gloriously addicted to music.

At first exposure we are satisfied with vanilla, but once we have tasted chocolate, strawberry and the array of other musical flavors, our demands shift. Over the past decade, the practice of DJs manipulating other artist's music has been acceptable in the burgeoning electronic music world. However, the public has proven they want chocolate and the rise of Daft Punk and others is proving that original songs presented by talented performing artists is still the necessary ingredient for major success. It will take a superstar to explode the genre.

A superstar is someone with a unique and inovative style, who reaches an ubiquitous audience, and dominates the popular music culture by setting a standard that all other artists competing for supremacy must meet. The hybrid quality of Hip Hop, Electronic, pop stylist Lady GaGa has produced one of the few platinum selling albums of 2009. Her Ladyship is very strong out of the box but the game is about duration. Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Ersel Hickey, Jerry Lee Lewis and others all gave Elvis a run for his money before Elvis The Pelvis ran away with the top spot and became The King of Rock & Roll.

It remains to be seen who will win the competition for supremacy in this evolving musical force and become the Avatar of Electronica. The great thing is this generation seems to have finally chosen a new genre to embrace as the music of their lives. The race is on between electronica, a new wave of singer/songwriters and several other creative competitors for the popularity crown. A superstar must eclipse all competition and bring their particular music to prominence in order to claim dominion. The proof will be determined by the size of the following and most importantly by the fan base choosing to honor the new star by paying for the music. The mass audience will have to fall in love and choose their Superstar before the question is answered. This is a case where size does matter.

The standard is very high and the degree of difficulty is greater than ever because of the proliferation of styles. The easy access to millions of songs and the low cost of Internet exploration makes it difficult ot find the higest quality material. there is a "fog of art" imposed by the easy access to the prevailing system. When anybody with a tune in his head, a mac and a microphone can enter the competiiton, the truly talented become lost in the well of dilution. To succeed, one must know how to play the game, play perfectly well and have superior talent. Then, they will still have to get lucky to win the mantle of "Superstar."

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