The State of the Music Industry pt. II

The State of the Music Industry pt. II

Not only is Sunday’s guest post on its way to becoming one of the most popular (if not the most popular) articles ever posted on FatKidOnFire; it also seems to have hit a nerve for a few of you (although celebrated by others) – so much so that I’ve had multiple offers for response posts.

The following is the first I had, from producer Arkwright (I’ll be publishing the third and potentially final post on the matter later this week – a response from a digital label looking to get into physical releases).

Sam’s post is another intriguing take on the state of the music industry – but this time suggesting that all may not be as bad as first suggested* more of an extension to the post that went up on Sunday (rather than a direct response)…

The music industry has been dying and/or dead [perhaps evolving? – FKOF] for years. For over 50 years in fact – if we are willing to believe what we’ve been told.

Northern Soul, Rock ‘n’ Roll and Rhythm and Blues hit full swing in the late 50s; bringing a nation of classical bores together in a frenzy of stocking-showing and staying up past 9pm.

But the consequence of these fantastic genres becoming popular is that unfortunately not everyone likes to keep music ‘as it is’.

In the 60s, when the US had artists like Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix as national icons, Britain decided that we would, in fact, play with the three genres we were given in the 50s. This resulted in bands like the Rolling Stones smashing through the RnB scene, The Who eating every boundary rock and roll enforced, The Small Faces taking soul to an all time high and, unfortunately for people of the 21st century; 4 unlikely lads from Liverpool combining all 3 to form the world’s first ever ‘pop group’.

R.I.P music. Apparently.

The Beatles were the first ever band in the history of music to put so many genres together for a musical sound (apart from Elvis stealing blues and creating rock and roll, but we’ll discuss that another time) and hone it to such an extent that it gets its own name.

The music created by The Beatles was in fact so confusing people started calling it ‘popular music’, a title that would eventually be shortened to ‘pop’. Voila.

As a band that took the mod look, added blues and twisted the hippie movement over it, The Beatles were detested by hippies and mods – but loved by young girls and teens around the world. This caused the hippies and mods to announce a very early ‘death’ to their respective genres.

Fast forward to 1980 and electronic music has taken over English. America is going mad for rap and the UK underground scene is pushing it through. It’s 1983 and Wham releases a rap song (‘Enjoy What You Do‘). As a consequence, rap and hip-hop artists everywhere declare rap dead.

But as I see it (and hopefully as clearly as you can), hip-hop is clearly alive and well today.

Let’s take it even further forward. 1998 and the dance scene in England has completely blown up. Dancehall, breakbeat, house and techno invade every dance floor in the country, garage is climbing up the ladder from the underground dance sewers (and eventually paving a way for dubstep). Goldie, a pioneer of jungle and DnB has one of his tracks sampled by the king of English pop himself, David Bowie. Dance heads around the country declare a death to drum and bass forever, this genre will never again see the light of day etc etc.

10 years down the line. May 2008. Pendulum release DnB album ‘Immersion‘ – which hits number 1 in the album charts in its first week.

So here we are in 2012. Dubstep is one of the biggest dance genres to date. Justin Bieber is the biggest pop act to date – one who’s recently hinted at the release of a dubstep track [/ album – FKOF]. Will this be the death of yet another genre?

We’ll see.

If you agree (or don’t) with Sam’s follow up to Lawrence’s article, let us know in the comments – or find him on Twitter. Watch out for the next response(s) (from a label this time) later this week.

Peace, love and respect.


* UPDATE I’ve re-worded the intro here (as suggested by Sashwat’s comments below) to make things a bit clearer. Hope it helps!