Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Question of the Day - May 6, 2009


Maddy Weiss asks:

In class someone asked a question about the growing interest in electronic music which I have been a witness to over the past year. I recall you telling us that in order for a genre to make it 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 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 genre of music totally accessible to the fan base. With the ability to have thousands of songs on your iPod for free, musical taste is expanding as never before. This exploration is broadening the public perception of music in general. As the fans are exposed to more sophisticated music their tastes change and the mind tickle music provides seeks more and more satisfaction. At first they are satisfied with vanilla, but once they have tasted chocolate their demands shift. Over the past decade, DJs manipulating other artist's music has been acceptable in electronic music and will continue to be a cornerstone of the process. This is a throw back to when radio disc jockeys could choose what they played on the air. In an attempt to curb "payola" the right to choose the play lists was assigned to one person at a station. He is called the program director and is assisted in the selection process by music directors. However, the public has proven they want chocolate and the rise of Lady GaGa, Daft Punk and others is proving that original songs presented by talented performing artists is still the necessary ingredient for major success. DJs have large audiences but they don't own the records their work makes famous, so their income is from the live events, not mechanical royalties. A superstar is someone who reaches an ubiquitous audience and dominates a genre by setting a standard that all other artists competing for supremacy must meet. 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 he 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 as the Avatar of Electronica. The great thing is this generation seems to have finally chosen a new genre and the race is on. It remains to be seen whether fans will buy the music or take it for free from the Internet? The mass audience will have to fall in love and choose their Superstar before the question is answered.

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