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How to save diversity & creativity from dying in mainstream music

                 Fictional Pie Chart

As a music lover, I am going to express my concern with the diminishing diversity and creativity in mainstream music, and propose solutions to revive these dying elements. I hope we see some positive changes in the future, because otherwise, the evolution of music will remain stagnant and I’m not sure what this will do to our culture in general.

I’m an avid music consumer.  I listen to it every day, and if I’m not listening, I’m most likely singing.  I’m an artist too.  I write my own lyrics, rap, sing and work with other musicians.  But in all this love for music, it’s hard not to notice the current impoverished state of the music industry.  And I sincerely wondered, with all this technology facilitating artists to create more new tracks, why are we continuously stuck with the same old artists and their same old overplayed songs on the mainstream airwaves?  Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against those artists nor their songs, I just wish there were more diversity in mainstream media.

I believe I can safely say that most songs that we hear by default (i.e. top 40 playlist diffused in most shops, bars, restaurants that we frequent) fall into just one big genre that is eating all the other genres up.  Take for example Taylor Swift’s move from country to pop:

Here is a video of Ms. Swift’s song from 2006:

And here is a recent list of her videos, notice how she is classified under Pop.


How about Black Eyed Peas’ conversion from Hip Hop to Hip “Pop”? Check out their video of a song that was released back in 1998; You will see that is far cry from the songs that they are better known for, such as “Boom Boom Pow” or “I Gotta Feeling”. Luckily, they recently released a song called “Yesterday”, which resembles, more closely, the songs that they had originally come out with.

 

But the fact remains, that for the most part, most music genres are all starting to sound the same these days when you tune in to mainstream media. IMHO (in my humble opinion, for those who are not familiar with this acronym), the reason for these decisions were calculated, and have largely taken into consideration the basic ingredients that have been found in making hit songs, which happen to fit into the pop-ular genre. Therefore, I do believe that if influential music labels want guaranteed success, especially when they are investing in promoting songs, they will take zero risk by ensuring that each song has the basic ingredients to make a hit, which means that it would have to fit in the homogenized pop genre. The problem? It’s killing creativity! And while practically no new sounds are being diffused via the mainstream media, diversity is also going extinct.

The solution: Give other artists a chance by taking risks with new sounds and bring back diversity in the music field. This is one of the ways that we can revive diversity and creativity in mainstream music. So, how exactly can we give other artists a chance? Get outside our confined boxes and search for music in the less-trodden paths. For example, listen to your community radio station; visit your local public library—even they will most likely have hidden gems in their music selection; in short: take a chance to find diamonds in the rough! When making a music purchase, make sure it’s from a distribution company that pays the artists their fair share, such as BandCamp, the artists’ own websites, and yours truly, Artists For Change. The more we support independent artists and distribution companies with good ethics, the more they can grow and expand as artists and companies, and the more chances that new artists will get promoted and played on the mainstream media. Take part in the expansion of music and be bold enough to explore beyond the current top 40!

And please, if you have other suggestions as to how we can revive diversity and creativity in mainstream music, please share your ideas in the comments section below. Or if you have found other ways of discovering new artists and music, please enlighten us and do share!