With the recent passing of three very recognizable faces in the music world, it is hard not to reflect on how the face of music has changed over the last several decades, and is still changing. Aretha Franklin, David Bowie, Prince, and Lemmee of Motorhead fame, were 4 artists whose work spanned generations, who images were always evolving and changing with the times, and whose love of music was their driving factor.
There were periods during all of their careers when none actually had record deals, but they pressed on regardless, and came roaring back each time. Their sole purpose was to make music which was more about self-expression than making money.
Comparing the days when artists began at the ground and slowly worked their way up, to now, where bands, artists, singers are manufactured, epitomises the way music has changed. (The Beatles, pictured above, became well known in Germany before they even began to play at the famous ‘Cavern Club’ in Liverpool).
Think about this question. Where do artists come from now? There are 2 answers which spring to mind. Talent contests(reality shows), and manufactured by record companies.There are still artists who come from what was once the traditional route, but those groups are firmly stuck in the minority.When was the last time you saw a band in a bar, and eventually saw them on TV or heard them on the radio? Longevity is also a thing of the past. Coming from the UK, I remember the Gareth Gates and Will Young phenomenon. These 2 stars rose to fame in the 80,s from a reality TV program named pop idol,(whose name even suggests the focus on idolising rather than talent), but who would know who they are today less than 20 years later? Progams like this one spawned the age of manufactured pop stars. A few more examples are: The Spice Girls, Leoni, Michelle McManus, Darius Danesh, (the last 2 are so well known that i had to look them up on the internet!!).
These reality shows undergo an overhaul every few years and reappear under a different name. The X-Factor, Br
itains Got Talent, American Idol, The Voice. These are essentially the same programs run by the same p
eople, who just keep on reinventing the wheel. One of the main reasons for this is because the record and management companies maintain complete control over the artist, and the music. They have their own songwriters, who write the songs and therefore keep control of copyright and royalties( potentially enorm
ous amounts of money), and they also ‘groom’ the images of the artists( image rights), so the artist is ‘locked into’ the company.
I also believe that most people nowadays want fame ‘for fame,s sake’ which for those of you who don,t know, it is fame for the trappings. The money, which spawns the expensive car, big house, clothes, jewelry, beautiful women( for men), VIP treatment wherever you go, celebrity status. Famous musician
s have all of these things, if they choose to, so the desire to
make music is no longer the overwhelming factor.
If you add to this the mix of modern day DJ superstars , who are actually playing music which has already be made and just adding their own introductions and voiceover to the music, we have completely taken away the musician factor, because the DJ is now ‘the artist’.
Most of the music heard today, has no ‘substance’. Weak tunes with simple meaningless lyrics, mostly about love. Unfortunately, we are more followers of ‘sexy’ than talented. We have become almost ‘lemming like’ in the way we follow things. The days of music legends, in the true sense of the word are now over, as we, the public are now fed a diet of manufactured stars and manufactured music.