I am sometimes told I need a blog, which I have always considered precarious ground. My opinions are not often the popular ones. In particular, a conversation this afternoon about the growing apathy of music listeners. Just in my 15 years in this genre, all 15 of which have been as a fan. Here is an excerpt, you tell me if I should start a blog and flesh this out:
“People are amazingly blah about new music. Somehow they expect that bands “have ways” to get popular, simply because they are bands and are already somewhat out there. In reality, bands need people to be excited and involved. Without that, popularity will fail.
People are more and more and more apathetic. Now, they are just sitting back and letting people tell them what to like; no one seeks it out anymore. They monitor Facebook, Vine, Twitter, Instagram… They see what is reposted, what people are talking about, and they themselves then go look into it. If they haven’t heard of it, they can’t be bothered to take a listen. It would be a waste of time, in part, because the music is often perceived as easy to make, but often even more so because so many, so many mediocre, barely competent bands churn out album after album of the same beat, the same lyrics, the same images, the same lack of any passion.
So, the popular bands, whether they have long since stopped caring, or were simply relying on an image that succeeded rather than music or not, get more popular simply by the momentum of their own preexisting popularity. It’s a self fulfilling cycle.
Thus, you end up with bands trying to to *shock* you to attention, since bribery doesn’t affect people in a world where half the musicians give the music away for free, and the other half is easily torrentable. And the adage is true – if something cost money, is hard to find, and you have to work for it, you tend to value it more. Hell, I know a dozen bands with thousands of fans, that do not have a full length CD out. This makes it pretty clear to me that these fans aren’t paying attention to the music. They are paying attention to whatever is thrown in their face; whatever is easily digestible and easy to find. This is a very big warning sign. The best things are not supposed to be easy, cheap, and readily available. This is why there are less than a 1,000 four star restaurants, and more than 100,000 McDonalds. Easy is popular. Thinking is not, even when someones health is concerned.
Hell, to me, MP3’s to me are disposable. If I buy them and lose them, I just buy them again. However, if I buy a CD and lose it, I am upset because I may never find it again. Music has, as everyone knows, become wildly devalued, and the worst part is that all this does is open the door for the bands that are popular to take advantage; to never expand or attempt to be more than they are, and for new bands to simply poorly imitate since people will likely listen to it as background noise if nothing else. Why not? It was free, and easy.
I remember the days, not terribly long ago, when I used to plow through used CD inventory, digging and sometimes coming up with a band I had never heard that changed my life. I found Wumpscut that way, I found Leaether Strip that way. Those bands led me to others, I found friends that liked those bands and they introduced me to more. It started a lifelong love of a music genre most have never even heard. It started my band. In a real way, it saved my life.
Now, those stores have closed. People consume one download after another, sometimes not even listening to the music, just “having” the MP3’s. Bands pass off a CD with 2 original tracks and 11 remixes to give you something new to consume. Bands have thousands of fans and no music. None. Bands release and re-release the same CD’s a dozen times. Bands have songs and albums so terrible and so trite that I shudder to hear them but, I do everytime I go out. Lyrics are so offensive to anyone who is thinking that they would not only stop listening, but be personally offended. They aren’t though. It simply doesn’t matter enough to be offended to most people.
You guys, the fans, are every bands judge and jury. You are the ones that can change it. It takes time and effort and work, and standing up to the masses of people who are mindlessly consuming.
This scene was something I loved, the depth of it, the honesty of it, the brutality of it from time to time. You guys can take it back if you want it. Or, you can do nothing.”