The Downsides of the Music Industry

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

There is so much to like about the music industry. Musicians bring so much joy, comfort and energy to those that listen (and watch). The overwhelming volume of musical art being created by passionate and devoted people is staggering in both its scale and devotion. The music industry is a great thing. You might then ask why We chose to use the word, ‘ugliness’ to sit alongside ‘beauty’ when describing the industry that We all love.

Because there is an ugliness that forms in the shadows of our creativity. Our personal insecurities give rise to artistic jealousies that, in turn, express themselves in several sinister ways. But not all is lost. Consider the following points for your personal reflection and our collective action:

Stay true to the message

Many of us have lost the clarity of our communication. The role of a musical artist in society is not merely to entertain. Our high and noble task is to challenge the status quo of society. It is our job to hold a mirror up to society, reflecting the present-day image to provoke contemplation and review. Artists like David Bowie and Midnight Oil show us how to stand on a platform of principles and sometimes even under threat of personal harm, cause the social order to consider its current position. May we all be so brave.

Drop the façade

We find that beauty abounds in nature, so We loathe, for example, the glamour industry’s improper use of Photoshop to re-create women and men into plastic impossibilities. And in recent years, We have gained a similar mistrust for our industry’s overuse of technologies such as auto-tune. Similarly, our over-employment of post-production polish has created an unsustainable expectation of perfection. Audiences, en masse, can no longer tolerate imperfect music in their diet, but the audient is not to blame. It is us. We need to start weaning our listeners off the sugary pleasure of perfect vocals and return them to the sustenance of narrative driven singing that is void of pleasure-inducing preservatives. May we all be so brave.

The love of money is the root of all evil;

An old proverb that still applies today. Notice that it is the ‘love’ of money, not the money itself that is the cause of so much pain. Money often captivates us with its promise of security and ease. When an artist becomes enamored with the pursuit of riches, they will do almost anything to collect more wealth. The responsibility of message and the self-secure presentation of an imperfect-self are often lost to the insatiable desire to be rich. The antidote to money’s allure is a life of moderation, generosity and humility. May we all be so brave.

The wisdom of age

Whitney said it best, “I believe the children are our future…” Our young people have so much enthusiasm and excitement to offer; not to mention talent. Sadly, though, we, as an industry, have become captivated by the cult of youth. In doing so, a disquieting cultural shift is sidelining artists who stand outside the ‘acceptable age’ of today’s performer has emerged.

Of course, we can all point to Bruce Springsteen and Celine Dion (among others) as admirable examples of artists who continue to perform into their later years successfully. We would, however, counter that these shining examples all commenced their careers in their youth, continuing their performance through to the present day.

We are keen to encourage older singers, amateur and professional alike, people in their fifties, sixties and seventies to bring their wisdom of age to the stage. Elders, your message is rich with life experience that our young people have yet to gain. As we enter our later years, may we all be so brave? We’re not so naïve to believe that any of the issues that We have raised are easily accounted for with simple solutions, but individuals can make very real differences, however so small and seemingly insignificant. May we all be so brave.


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