miércoles, 21 de febrero de 2007

An explanation of the history and current state of music according to Zach

There has always been the desire to listen to the “underground” bands that no one had heard of in order to be cool. No one wants to be the “poser” or be caught listening to “sellouts.” Now the internet has made it possible for everyone to be, at least on the surface, an underground music guru thanks to the abundance of cheap technology, which was once only available to large companies. Below is a history of the musical decisions made by the herd of general music listening public, and how we came to this current state of music that is know as “Indi Rock”. In our journey we will go from boy bands, to finding our musical identity, to Emo and then back to searching for a new identity.
Chris Anderson in his book, The Long Tail, explains, “In the past there was a scarcity of shelves, screens, and channels, so record scouts, editors, and executives made their living off of predicting what would be watched. Now search engines, blogs, and online recommendations filter out what already exists.” These post filters of search engines, blogs, and online recommendations create a market for things that are already available by stimulating demand for them. “Soon everything will make it to the market,” explains Anderson, “and the real opportunity will be sorting it all out.”
When I was in high school Back Street Boys and N´Sync were the top album sellers. How in the world could such crappy and fabricated music make so much money? It was because the music industry had finally reached their apex of marketing abilities to brain wash youth into getting them to buy what they wanted them to. The law of diffusion states that when things are in a tight space they will naturally spread out if the space is increased. When everyone was limited to the CDs available at Wal-Mart and what the radio played, everyone listened to nothing else, and thought that they liked it. As soon as the internet gave everyone a little more elbow room to explore different music, that is exactly what everyone did. Everyone started to spread out deeper into different sub-genres and obscure music. And that’s when the backlash to the boy bands began.
The first thing that brought on the backlash to the boy bands were the music downloading sites like Napster. Everyone was sick of being fed what to listen to by the record agents and executives and Napster opened a way to have more abundant choice than ever before. It was like everyone simultaneously had an epiphany when they realized that they could listen to something else other than what the record companies wanted them to, and everyone grabbed onto the first underground sounding music they could find, which in this case was Emo. Bands like Sunny Day Real Estate and The Get Up Kids.
Everyone thought initially that they had found some sweet underground music that was called Emo and were finally able to free themselves from listening to what the corporations wanted them to. Everything was making it to the market but the “sorting out” of it all, like Anderson explains, still hadn’t been fully achieved. People weren’t fully able to take advantage of the plethora of music found on the internet. Little did everyone know that everyone else was discovering this new “underground” music at the same time.
Then as everyone was realizing that their unique musical tastes were not unique at all, the once popular music style was lowered in coolness even more when Dashboard Confessional strummed its way into the hearts of a million young girls. Dashboard Confessional carried an entire genre to a new, younger audience that would have never before explored a style like it. With the advent of a younger audience that had made the conversion from New Found Glory to Dashboard Confessional, Emo became what it is today: a genre that makes many people cringe with the idea of wimpiness, whinyness, trendiness and fashion sensibilities. Emo then forged with the lingering popularity of pop punk and meshed into a terrible Emo pop punk mold which will plague history forever. Many critics say what is called Emo today isn’t Emo or punk at all, but gets passed off as such because it has a much bigger stage to act on and impress onto others.
Not only was everyone catching onto this Emo music, everyone wanted to start an Emo band too. The barriers to entry to the music industry were lowered as technology, information and distribution were democratized and gave rise to tons of Emo bands. This explains the fact that before Emo there was never a larger mass of copycat success and such a plethora of unworthy imitators in such a short time span. The remaining bands today appear to fit the genre solely because of their similarity to other so-called emo bands. Bright Eyes, Death Cab for Cutie, Fall Out Boy, Hawthorne Heights, My Chemical Romance, Panic! at the Disco, Senses Fail, Something Corporate, The Starting Line, Story of the Year, Taking Back Sunday, Thursday, and The Used come to mind. In many cases, the term Emo has simply been attached to them because of musical similarities, a common fashion sense, or because of the band's popularity within the emo scene, not because the band adheres to emo as a music genre.
This was the begging of the end of the Emo trend as everyone saw it getting too popular and therefore un-cool. The masses once again went back to the internet to find a new style that wasn’t as trendy. And by this time the ability to “sort out” the whole mess of bands on the internet had been greatly improved. Now not only music downloading sites existed, but advanced searches, Myspace, recommendations, and play lists developed a way to help people search deeper and deeper into different music subgenres. Now the term Emo carries with it such a negative connotation that most bands avoid it at all costs. Today we are now in the Emo backlash stage.
All of this searching deeper and deeper into different sub genres has brought us to where we are today, the days of the “Indi Rock.” Everyone now is completely equipped with their Myspace pages and their post Emo weird looking tight pants instead of tight sweaters look. Everyone learned something from their Emo days and they will no longer buy into trendy music at the same time as everyone else. Indi Rock is the new Emo.
In conclusion, the herd went from boy bands, to the epiphany of the internet, to the boy band backlash, to grabbing hold of Emo, to Emo/Pop Punk, to Emo backlash, to revisiting the internet, to the Indi Rock stage that we are in today. Now everyone can be, and is becoming, an underground music critic so that they will never have to be referred to as a “poser” again.

3 comentarios:

Marc Jorgensen dijo...

hmmm... interesting conjecture. however indie rock bands was a term used also in the 80's/90's or maybe even before. And I agree strongly with your main theme that modern emo music is a joke and totally lame.

Erik dijo...

The big transition for me in high school was when I went from listening to New Order and Information Society to Nirvana and Pearl Jam, when they released their first popular albums Nevermind and One. That was huge. Don't worry, most bands today will come and go with the fads. I'm still waiting for more talent. Folks who can actually play their instruments like Dave Groehl, Jack White, John Mayer, and that guitarist from Audioslave (names not coming to me, Rage guy)....the electric guitar will one day return!

Anónimo dijo...

ok that's fine, i just brought lots of new emo backgrounds 4 my blog