Music in our Culture
Music has been, and continues to be, a cultural necessity around the World; and it is even more accessible now, especially with the introduction of iPods, mp3’s, Smart Phones, and online digital music stores like iTunes.
But how much, if any, of the culture of music are we losing because the access to music is now so easy? For example, I could hear a new song on the radio, turn on my cell phone, and purchase the song within minutes. How many people actually take the time to travel to a record store, and look through the CD’s and classic LPs to find either what they are looking for, or to find something new? Not many.
The times to enjoy a few hours in a record store, and many of the record stores themselves, have seemed to have diminished. We want the music, but we don’t have the time to get out and buy the hard copy. It’s all about convenience now. But does convenience mean that the new music trend is somehow lacking because of the lack of its physical presence and acquisition?
Not only do we have the internet, but we have popular television shows with millions of viewers per night, all watching to see who will be discovered next. You don’t have to buy a concert ticket, travel to a local Coffee Shop, or local open-mic-night to see a new talented artist showcasing themselves for the chance at recognition… All you have to do is turn on the TV and find the latest reality-competition show playing and from the comfort of your own home you can discover an artist that you believe in and want to support.
The Cultural Impact of Music
There is no denying that music unites people and cultures of all different shapes and sizes. Music is emotionally relatable, capable of transcending any given number of emotions experienced by the listener. Music can be therapeutic, capable of building and maintaining better health practices. Music can be social, bringing together groups of people with differing life circumstances, all with the common goal or creating or enjoying music. Music can be aesthetic, both beautiful and aurally pleasing.
Music on the Internet
Websites like the ever-popular YouTube have allowed new and upcoming, unsigned artists, and even music enthusiasts to present their work to the public on a potential global scale… They can get a fan-base before even releasing an album into the public. Many of these hopeful artists offer so much diversity from the mainstream pop, hip-hop, rap, etc. that have consumed the mainstream radio stations. Lyrically and vocally there are some talented individuals out there that just aren’t finding the right opportunities to showcase their work.
There are however, a few potential downsides to this accessibility and global access to self promotion on the internet. One downside is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find true talent among the sadly dreadful hopefuls. The internet is overloaded with people doing song covers and advertising their own music… how is anyone supposed to find good, talented hopefuls among all this? More importantly, is anyone even looking?
Music on Television
Television shows, such as American Idol, X Factor, America’s Got Talent, The Voice, and Duets (to name a few), have really capitalized on this idea of giving people a chance. It is not easy to break into the music business on your own, and they profit from it; offering up both money and a contract if you have enough talent (and popularity) to beat out the competition. All the while, the World watches, votes, and hopes their favorites will overcome diversity and achieve their dreams of being an artist.
Does the national showcase of unknown musicians and artists create a new subculture of music, or is it helping the culture of music into the next phase of its existence?
Music through the Ages
It is a bit sad, but I’ve noticed that much of the younger generations really have no desire to listen to some the great musical classics of the last several decades. Many of those old enough, or interested enough, to go back and look at the journey music has taken and the adversities the entire industry has overcome, seem to have a greater affinity and respect for music as a whole. Personally, I find the world of music to be mesmerizing. Whether it’s the lyrics, taking me to a nostalgic memory I’d forgotten, or the beat allowing a moment of calm transcendence.
How many other mediums are capable of holding so much power, and between so many different groups of people?
It is interesting to think about where music started; the adversity Rock and Roll encountered, and the journey of Pop music, the history of Soul, and so many other genres. As well as the now historical popularity of record stores, the coffee shops, artists playing on the street and hoping for recognition; it seems the entire journey to stardom in the music industry has been recreated over and over again; always to appeal to consumer demand.
Music is a huge part of our world. It is a huge part of our culture, linking many people together that would otherwise be diverse and hidden from each other. Music is therapeutic, and calming, and without it, we would lose a substantial amount of joy and experience.