Music seems to be what everyone is talking about at the moment. With the Grammy awards and another tragic death, I could not help but think what music really is and what it means to me. I am a musician and have relationship with music. I believe everyone is different and thus their relationship with music, from the way they perceive it, to the way they play and understand it, will be different. This is just my thoughts, feelings and views about music.
Music for me is 1st and foremost about expression. For me that is what it ultimately comes down to. Music and the industry (I hate referring to a music industry) has grown and changed so much over the last couple decades, not to mention the centuries. Before (over-population) back in the day there would only be a few people who were gifted and talented at playing an instrument. They were either lucky or wealthy enough to study or naturally gifted enough to teach themselves. They were the few musical entertainers. Now, everyone can afford an instrument and are able to teach themselves through friends, schools and internet. Everyone can play a guitar and thanks to media hype, they have subliminally sold our musicians a life style. Everyone wants to be rock stars and earn crazy amounts of money by making music. The industry is now over saturated with “musicians” who have jumped on the band wagon to make a buck. They have exchanged their musical freedom for a false ideal of what they are lead to believe is the music life style. You see young musicians in bands who are so excited, so keen to make a name for themselves that they focus so much on promotion and getting fans that the music is only a small percentage of who they are. They want to do music for a living. They want to get paid. Who has the money? Record labels. The machine. There are so many possibilities using the internet that I think (and really hope) record labels will become a thing of the past. I see bands so concerned in turning their music into a living that they forget why they first started to play.
Mainstream music makes me ill. The way they do everything. There is always an ulterior motive. Record labels are more concerned about making money and pushing music to the population in order to sell more. The music has become a commodity, not an art. With the rise of technology the opportunist has snuck in and “produced” tracks in a computer and put some nursery-rhyme-esque melodies over same sounding electronic beats and passed it off as a composition. Now who am I to judge what music means to different people? I cannot rightfully say that music is better than that. We all have opinions. I’m careful when it comes to criticizing anything creative. No one is better than another, we are just different people on different a phase of our musical evolution. No right or wrong. What I do find wrong is people who take advantage of technology and just mindlessly create music just to sell. They sell to make money to become famous. But what makes a musician who is on all the radio stations, MTV and has all the festival gigs, more successful than me? Is it really that their music is more important than mine? It’s all about budget. Money. Money doest make you a better musician, just allows you better marketing schemes.
Musicians love the idea of making money of their art. They want to share it with others. But what do some of those musicians exchange for fame, money and good gigs? Their record label may convince them to write their songs differently, aim it at a particular market and tour extensively so all their billions of fans can enjoy their music. Some bands tour for years at a time and still make nothing compared to their bosses. Record labels end up owning the musicians art. They have record deals, sweet gigs, millions of followers and they get paid to do the thing they “love” to do. Their love and art has turned into a machine to make their owners (the labels) richer and gives the musicians a false sense of living the dream. The sickest part is that the label will own your art even after you die, continuously making them money. It’s an emotionless machine.
And for the few who take advantage of the technology to make music for idiots just because the industry has bred a MTV idiot generation, you are no better. Instead of spreading culture, consciousness and expression, you are contributing and feeding the machine. We are now too afraid for their to be imperfections in our music. We can correct everything with computers from timing to pitch. It’s this fear that has sucked the human feel of music right out of the mainstream. Everything is now computer generated or corrected. Music was never meant to be perfect. It’s the imperfection that makes one musician differ from another. I want to hear the musician with all their flaws. I don’t want to hear perfection. If music were suppose to be perfect we wouldn’t be playing it.
I play music for the love of it, for the expression of it. I love to share my music with others, but I wouldn’t do anything to get my music heard. Music has given so much to me that it would be an insult to create it with a preconceived notion of making money off of it. Pure music is love and I would be damned if I feed it to the machine, it’s better than that.
At the end of the day however, we have made our own bed to lie in. Our greed of the “lifestyle” has warped our mentality and we have exchanged our ideals for material wealth and fame. We are now living in the by-product of our choices. Are we too far down the road to make a change? I’ll continue doing things my way and I encourage you all, in whatever “industry” you are in, DON’T FEED THE MACHINE!