Volume 95, Issue 4

Thursday, June 14, 2001


Rock'n'Roll is saved Static in Stereo to the rescue

Modern music little more than marketing

Disc of the week

Rufus proves he's Queer As Folk

Modern music little more than marketing

Where's Chip?
Dale Wyatt
A&E Editor

Comedian Chris Rock said it best: “The world is screwed up. I mean, the best golfer is black and the biggest rap star is white.”

But there are other troubling things about the music industry besides Eminem. For instance, it was not long ago that artists felt ashamed to admit they didn't write the songs they perform. 

My, how the times have changed.

Along came a slew of acts like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and many, many more. This somehow induced a large shift in the norm as people began to focus less on musical ability and more on vocal talent and the artist's ability to dance.

The modern music industry doesn't even attempt to conceal the fact bands are manufactured like computers. Acts like O-Town and Sugar Jones are not even mildly ashamed of their inability to write a song. They actually use their handicap as a marketing tool. Sugar Jones even made a television show out of it. What could be stranger than that?

Well, only one thing — the individuals buying the albums. People actually eat this up. But why? Let's not forget poor Milli Vanilli were forced off the stage with torches and pitch forks simply for lip-synching.

It's not that modern listeners are stupid. It's that tastes have changed, or rather, they have been altered through the industry's use of popular mediums other than the radio. 

Through television and the Internet, music videos have become the driving force behind record sales. Every video is a well-planned weapon constructed by a group of marketers to ensure the artist is wearing all the hottest outfits and dancing all the hottest dances. 

These changes have made it more about being an image rather than a musician and that has to change. If this horrible trend continues, Milli Vanilli will be back in full force before you know it. 

As this trend gains strength, even the lifespan of a song has changed. Bands like The Beatles and Led Zeppelin have written songs that have lasted years and will last for years to come. When it comes to mainstream pop, the average song lives for about a month before it fades away, never to be heard from again.

Meanwhile (and most troubling), there are still talented musicians that deserve the utmost respect. Hard-working bands that remain original in a tough, sales-driven market are the true heroes of the industry.

Chris Rock was right — this is one messed up world.

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