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Why It’s Time to Insist On Raising Quality Standards

                                               High Quality


Has anyone ever observed how the quality of products in most industries seem to have diminished over the years? Well, the music industry is not exempt from this quality issue. It seems that in most cases, quality comes second to profit. If a profit-hungry company could save money by sacrificing quality, knowing that the low price will attract customers, all they would see are the dollar figures on their side of the table at the end of the day. Take a look at your $5 t-shirts that are good to throw away after about 5 washes (maybe I’m exaggerating here, but you get the picture). What about low cost furniture? I remember getting a desk for about $50 and the color already started wearing off after a few scrolls of the mouse. I have since learned my lesson. If I want quality, I’ve got to be careful when shopping and I've be willing to pay for it, which is fair enough.

Who remembers the 2013 horsemeat scandal when it was revealed to the public that big food companies that sell frozen food and canned food were using old horse meat?! Well, can anyone be really surprised that there may have been something wrong with that $2 frozen lasagna? So, to get to my point, can anyone be really surprised why most new music being offered to the public has, ahem, that low-cost quality characteristic about it? What I mean to say is that most hit music these days don’t really endure the test of time. Be honest, for all of you who liked listening or dancing to Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face”, which was released only 7 years ago, would it still have the same effect on you now as it did back then when she was at the height of her career? What about any of Britney Spears’ songs? However, if you blasted out Coltrane’s and Ellington’s “A Sentimental Mood” on your speakers, even if you weren’t a jazz lover, I’m sure it will hit you in your soul—I dare you to try. Imagine, this song came out in 1935! Or take Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” released in 1968 or Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” released in 1971; I’m just listing songs off the top of my head, but the list surely goes on. I’m aware of the fact that tastes in music vary from person to person, but I bet that very few people can disagree that there are songs that just have that ‘timeless’ element to them. Well that’s the quality that I’m speaking about, that we don’t find very much these days.

Sadly, what I see nowadays, is that profit is much more important than the actual product that is being sold. So as far as music goes, the time invested in creating new innovative sounds is cut and replaced by trivial details like what kind of buzz can be stirred in order to make the product more appealing, because in actuality, the product is overplayed, changing just a note or two so it can be called ‘brand new’. And as the quality has progressively diminished over the past few years, now, for just a few bucks a month, you can listen to as many songs as you wish! It’s like paying $9.99 for an ‘all you can eat’ buffet; just don’t expect top quality, fresh produce used as ingredients. You’d just have to cross your fingers that no old horse meat was used.

The danger in all of this is that people are starting to get used to low quality products, as if those standards are the norm. Just do a quick check. For example, is that good quality coffee you’re drinking? What about your lunch? Your clothes? Your cologne or perfume? It doesn’t matter how much you paid for it, chances are, if you bought it from a large company’s chain store, the bigger chunk of your dough was most likely invested more in their marketing (or other techniques to gain more profit) than their actual product. And they are clever- a lot of times companies are able to fool their consumers into paying more for cheaper products, while people don’t even think twice about it! Check out the article by clicking on the image just below.

If this trend continues, people won’t even notice anymore between what’s good and what isn’t. The next generations won’t know anything else but what they’ve been offered since they were born. The truth is, if we don’t stop to think before we buy our next item, whatever it may be; if we don’t insist on its quality standards, we will keep on being offered mostly low quality products, and it will be harder and harder to find top quality ones. It will become more and more rare to hear music coming from treasures like John Coltrane, Otis Redding, or Led Zeppelin, while we continue to be bombarded with one-size-fits-all, one hit wonders.

What are you willing to do raise quality standards? Are you willing to pay more attention whenever you’re purchasing something? Would you be willing to pay a few extra dollars for better quality? Or do you contribute to the low-cost-cheap-product movement that is benefitting no one else except those who are entitled to the profit shares?