Originally Posted by harangatang
When Elton John was asked about his thoughts of the Ashlee Simpson lipsynching inident a few years his answer was the best description of the modern music industry. His response was that music industry no longer exists as it has become strictly the entertainment industry. There are good musical artists out there today such as Michael Buble but they don't reach the mainstream. In the mid to late '90's music itself started to push back with the onset of punk-ska and neo-swing genres seeing brief mainstream success. Ska-punk bands like No Doubt, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and Reel Big Fish tore up the radio with punk, reggae, and ska elements with catchy horn riffs and upbeat guitars. Neo-swing bands such as the Cherry Poppin' Daddies, the Brian Setzer Orchestra, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy started playing upbeat swing with horns, piano, etc. The lack of sustained mainstream success can be attributed to a couple things. First of all the lack of depth of the quality of bands attributed to an overall infiltration of the radio. The second and most important thing was the lack of the demand of the quality of music by the consumer. Most people these days don't want music. They would rather have the Britney Spears type acting like she's all innocent or a rapper rhythmically reciting erotic lyrically poetry to a 10 second cut of a Stevie Wonder song. It's really ashame that music hasn't improved with technology and it's kind of weird to note a retrogression in the quality with improved technology.
I really disagree. I think there's just as much good music out there as there's ever been, but people just have to work to find it. Elton John has always been part of a bigger and more public part of the music industry. With all due respect to him (and I love Elton John), his music, while good, has always been part of entertainment. People who are stuck in that world are bound to see that world. There is a huge underground music industry that is producing quality stuff that has little to do with mass entertainment and there always has been. I know a great number of people who make quality music that they love, either as musicians or as producers or as executives, and they do it for a living and are very happy with it. It doesn't get out to as many people as the "entertainment" genre, but it is most definitely there and it has an audience.
Many of the very best bands in history were largely unknown, but they survive. One of my favorite bands ever is Television and they certainly fall into that category. There were bands during their time who sold billions more records; Television didn't, but they're still touring and still good. That's just always been the case and will continue to be. The only major difference I see is that in the past, many major, popular bands were also viable musically, even regardless of personal taste (Beatles, Stones, Zeppelin). It's harder to find bands of that magnitude these days who are that good...but it's harder to find bands of that magnitude today, period, because the industry and the demographics of people buying records have changed so much. Fewer and fewer older people are buying records; they're spending their money on things that weren't available in the past: expensive electronics, DVDs, etc. Meanwhile younger kids have more disposable income than they used to so they're the ones buying records. Tastes haven't changed that much on a great scale. Demographics have.
I do think that the internet and so forth are good for music...any band can get its stuff out there to thousands in a second. It hasn't completely happened yet, but in time I think this will cause bands to really have to do something to stand out against all that competition, and it will be a natural weeding out of sorts. It's going to be very interesting.