Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Question of the Day - MUSIC - June 24, 2009


pdxlowe1 asks:

i was wondering what music you think is going to take the place of hip hop as the dominant music on the air waves? I was thinking alternative music like we had in the 90's but my friend thinks i'm dumb and that it's going to be country. Please tell me that country is not the music my kids will be playing out their laptops.

Hartmann responds:

The postmodern record business is dominated by monolithic record companies engaged in an illicit affair with broadcast radio. Multi-national power brokers have manipulated the entire industry down to four primary distribution systems, UMG, SONY, EMI and WB. Not one of them is American owned. Congressional scrutiny of various evolutions of "payola" failed to discover, or chose to ignore, the basic apparatus for delivering "hits" to radio and records to stores. That paradigm is in transition to the digital age. Artistic and executive survivors to be named at a later date. It was this machine that created the matrix for a strong hip hop presence on the air waves.

The Music Renaissance is taking place on the Internet, it is not CD dependant, it is not broadcast, and as a weapon of mass distribution, it is infinitely more powerful than AM and FM radio combined. Rap music has come to the end of its cycle of dominance. It has achieved its classic form and will remain a cultural phenomenon as one of the great popular genres. The music that replaces the beats and rhymes will have to consolidate what has become niche radio. Every style of music has a home station, but no one musical form is ubiquitous. Its hard to envision what music might unite radio. What's happening, when there is nothing happening?

Although "digital" has imposed an entire universe of travail on the record business, the music industry will forge ahead dependant only on the live arena. Coming of age will demand a musical hero and the "digeneration" will choose its superstar. The Avatar of digital music could spring full blown from the head of Zeus, or it might struggle on for years, but it would defy history for it not to arrive. The next big thing always arrives in a doldrums. Many classic, contemporary and hybrid fusion styles are competing for notice. The music that produces the biggest star wins.

1 comment:

Molly said...

Dance music. It's never needed to sell records to thrive, it appeals to hippies, indie kids, and the international elite. You hear it in car commercials, in line at Six Flags, in clubs of all genres across the world.

Anyone can be a DJ, it's entirely democratic and anyone with a computer can make a beat or remix, up tempo, down tempo or anywhere in between. Touring costs are relatively low so the show can get on the road and sustain more easily than live acts. It's just catching on in the mainstream as genres start to bend.

Electronic everything is the future. Just ask The Whip and Ghostland Observatory. No one's ever heard of them yet they can make 5 figures anywhere in the world any night of the week and they don't move any units.