Author's Interests - Part II


Music

Something that is very important to this author is music. I would like to share some of my thought on the subject

Music is something that one can enjoy on many levels. Recording and alive performances are the primary ways that an artist can share their musical talents with the world.

Live performance is a special thing. And you don’t have to spend a weeks pay on nosebleed seats in an arena to get the experience. So often a regional area’s best kept secret can be its live music scene. Smaller clubs and venues are a great way to experience music on an intimate level. Local artists are a gift to any area. The music that you can here on TV and the radio often consists solely of major label artists. And while this author appreciates big label artists just as much as the next person, its almost a travesty that more people are not supporting independent artists, even the ones that come from their own back yard.

Music is a giant part of our culture and it should be surprising that it doesn’t even take a big town to at least have a karaoke bar. Small bars and coffee shops often have open mic nights. These can be great ways to hear some real hidden talent. Karaoke and open mic nights are great for finding diamonds in the rough, but slightly bigger venues that can house bands are even more exciting.

People that have taken the time and effort to write, rehearse, and perform on a local level are usually doing it as a labor of love. Playing a bar or club often doesn’t bring in much money. And local artists that sell recording of their music have usually paid to record, press, and distribute their recordings entirely out of their own pocket.

Studio time in even low-end home studios can still be expensive. So in other words, local artists are not usually in it for the money.

It also takes guts for local artists to put their music out there for the masses. In the age of social media, it’s not hard to find out exactly what they think of you. And even for every 10 fans there’s usually at least one detractor. Major label artists have press people and publicists to manage their image. Local artists just have to stay on their a-game because no one can clean up any nasty PR for them.

It’s important to go out and support these local artists. Nothing is more inspiring than a healthy and thriving local art scene. Music is a huge part of that. By supporting local bands and seeing them at local venues, you are also helping you local economy. Most bars don’t book local bands in the theory that the band is going to be huge one day and they just want to help out. They bring in the bands in hop that the people who come to see them will spend money at the venue as well.

The art and culture that is stimulated by a strong local scene is important as the modern music industry is struggling to provide any inspiration anymore. Gone are the days of Jimmy Hendrix, Frank Zappa, and other legendary icons. Decades ago it took talent and drive to break into the major label music industry. Now “artists” are being mass-produced. With pro progress of technology marching right into the recording industry, one doesn’t even need to have the ability to sing to be a singer. There are tools like auto tuning and other studio tricks that can morph someone into a vocalist. In the 1980’s a band call the Buggles had a hit song called “Video Killed The Radio Star.” And it couldn’t be truer. Image seems to be more important than inspiration. The music is not the product. But now rather the person performing the music is the product. That product must be marketable to be made profitable.

Pop music has been around forever. And because of it’s popularity it’s only natural that some would swoop in get a piece of the action and profit off of it. But those are the people in control. Not the singers and songwriters and musicians.

With the rise of the Internet came tools that people could use to download music for free. While there are many struggling musicians who would love to see their music so widely sought after, money became a huge factor. Record labels and artists who had capitalized on commercial success began to blame the music sharing community for the drop in record sales in the years that this activity started to get more popular. But perhaps illegal music sharing is not the reason that the record sales dropped. Maybe the masses just got tired of shelling out more and more money for a product that was sub par. With boy bands and girl groups being mass-produced, the only way to gain access to real artists was to download them. The Indy artists were certainly not getting their fair shake on things like MTV. Music labels and television corporations were telling everyone what to listen to because they would only showcase certain groups and artists. The music was not important anymore. Now the biggest question was is the image marketable. Most artists with integrity would not change their image just to be marketable, so the record companies found way of making marketable faces seem talented.

Now there are more sub genres than ever before, and the ones that get showcased aren’t necessarily there for their talent. And it all goes back to the local scene. Without people supporting their local music scene they allow the big labels to push them around and tell them what to listen to. If more people took a small chance on going out to see local acts, maybe we could start showing that musical talent is profitable too. Their acts that labor out of love deserve you chancing the $10 cover charge. Spending $5 on a local artists recording sends the message that we are still listening to the music. Flashy dance moves, elaborate sets, and pyrotechnics are not the only way to judge talent. Supporting local artists means you support true art, and not the manufacture product that is forced upon you.