Has the quality of music deteriorated with more commercialization?

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  1. Kevin30 profile image59
    Kevin30posted 13 years ago

    It is said they don't make music the way the used to anymore especially if you're my age (30+). What do you think about the quality of music these days in terms of beat, lyrics?

    1. rebekahELLE profile image85
      rebekahELLEposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      you've hit on a subject that would really make a great hub article.
      the quality of music can't really be compared in a true sense because the music is so different from previous generations.
      I agree with bluedog that music changed within the industry when it became more about control and commercialism from the top.

      the hip hop beat becomes annoying after a while. how many beyonce songs can we hear? it's all the same, jonas bros? please..
      some groups that are still going strong, U2, have great lyrics and music, but they're not born from this generation.

      there's too much control, the creativity has been sacrificed for $$. 

      good thread. smile

      1. prettydarkhorse profile image57
        prettydarkhorseposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        thats a good idea, to blue dog, you can write a hub about that too...

    2. dutchman1951 profile image61
      dutchman1951posted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Artisty is lost, no real tallent anymore, immagination. Just same old same old, artists look like twins, same motif etc...

      no individuality, or if so not much of it.

    3. allpurposeguru profile image76
      allpurposeguruposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I wonder how many people realize that popular music, properly so called, has been around for a little over 200 years and was a commercial enterprise from the start? I'll probably blog about that some time in the near future.

      Anyway, from the start, the intention was for publishers (and now record labels and whatever else is equivalent) to issue large quantities of songs that were very much alike (so the buying public would be comfortable with them) but just enough different from earlier songs to be an attractive novelty.

      The complaint that writers of the latest songs don't know much about music is very old, and usually very accurate. Where, to my way of thinking, things really started to go downhill was right after World War II. Before that, popular music had been marketed to adults, and all generations liked the same kinds of popular music. It evolved slowly. After that, it was marketed to teenagers and children. Now every generation's music is nearly incomprehensible to every other generation.

      Stephen Foster's music was genuinely popular for a  hundred years after his death. How much of today's popular music will be of any interest to anyone after the generation for which it is intended grows old and dies off?

    4. beth811 profile image78
      beth811posted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I don't like music these days because they are far away from the music of the 80's when it comes to beat and lyrics. I always play music of the 80's because I have CD collection and when I download from the torrent, I searched for my favorite artists of the 80s.

      Commercialization, I agree, deteriorates the music quality.My example to this is Bono from U2. I don't like his latest albums due to its commercialization. His older albums are great and worth to listen to always; lyrics are great because they have meanings - political, war,etc.

    5. elisabethkcmo profile image78
      elisabethkcmoposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I think with more independent record labels and commercial-free satellite radio, it's much better now!

      1. camlo profile image85
        camloposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        I absolutely agree!

    6. Frankii S profile image61
      Frankii Sposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Popular music is terrible these days.
      I'm only 18 and I can barely tell one artist from the other, it all sounds the same.
      Thats why I stick to my underground punk rock, whether from the 70s, 80s, 90s or now!

    7. profile image0
      shazwellynposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      If you allow major radio stations to indoctrinate you, then you have been commercialized.  I think today, with the advent of myspace and niche radio stations, we are actually freer to make choices more adept to our own personal taste.

      Actually, I think the key here is how well you know yourself.  If you know yourself pretty well, you will find the right music choice for you.  If you don't you will be commercialized.  Does that make sense? x

  2. Uninvited Writer profile image78
    Uninvited Writerposted 13 years ago

    Like every other musical era, these days there is good music and there is bad. I like the music of people such as Adele, KT Tunstall, and Amy Winehouse for example. Music is always changing and we shouldn't just close our minds to what is new just because at first it may not be what we think we want to hear.

    However, I usually end up listening to the music of the 80s and the 60s rather than new music. Occasionally, someone will let me know about someone new or I will see a piece on them, and give them a chance.

    1. prettydarkhorse profile image57
      prettydarkhorseposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      i like the songs from 60s to 70s, i grew up with that kind of music because of my parents, am 30 plus now. I think that the beat and rhythm is becoming faster now unlike before they are more into voice quality,

    2. Maniac-Mark profile image59
      Maniac-Markposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      To me it doesnt feel like music is getting worse. In fact the lack of change is what seems to be weakening music. When was the last time you heard something really original. Record companies are doing the same thing over and over because thats what what they know will make makemoney. They dont want to take a gamble.

  3. blue dog profile image59
    blue dogposted 13 years ago

    one of the reasons music has changed is because label companies now dictate to recording artists what can and can't be sung.  likewise, radio stations, in conjunction with the label industry, help determine artist success.

    as in any artistic medium, gatekeepers determine individual success.  in other words, play along to get along. 


    1. prettydarkhorse profile image57
      prettydarkhorseposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      maybe because of demand from the buyers of music, us? those who listen to music also changed their taste through time

      1. blue dog profile image59
        blue dogposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        who, or what, created the demand?

        1. prettydarkhorse profile image57
          prettydarkhorseposted 13 years agoin reply to this

          oh well people buy this kind of songs, and in turn the artists earn a lot from it so they demand this kind of music (thats how capitalism works). It is sad thogh

  4. Dame Scribe profile image59
    Dame Scribeposted 13 years ago

    I agree with blue dog hmm I think only the tastes of the gate keepers are getting popular. I enjoy a whole array of music except rap and hip hop, no offence. Would be nice to hear more variety than one just one genre of music tongue

  5. profile image0
    L. Andrew Marrposted 13 years ago

    I'm only 18 but I must admit I love alot of old 80s music. New Wave and all that jazz (no pun intended); however, not all music is going downhill - classic rock is on the up (you know, the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, people like that) - it is only R&B which has truely changed music into a prostitution ring.

  6. Pseudonymous profile image69
    Pseudonymousposted 13 years ago

    I don't think overall musical quality has declined insofar that there is still tons of great music being created. However, you could argue that the quality of 'popular' or 'chart' music has declined. While this is fairly subjective its difficult to compare the Beatles with, for example, the Jonas Brothers without being underwhelmed by the latter.

    Of course, not everyone who is selling a lot of records these days is bad, but is there any commercial band today to rival the muscial quality of the Beatles, Beach Boys, Pink Floyd, etc?

    Just one man's opinion of course, and I still think there is tons of great music being created and thanks to the internet people now aren't forced to consume just the music that is pushed by the record companies. So while popular music might have declined in my opinion there has never been a better time to be a music fan.

    1. theageofcake profile image61
      theageofcakeposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      There are bands bubbling under the commercial music sphere that are frequently compared to the bands you just mentioned.  Animal Collective and Grizzly Bear are the first that come to mind.

      We live in an interesting age, because the distinction between pop and underground, with the accessibility of the internet, is becoming blurred.  For many, Sufjan Stevens is a household name, despite being rarely featured on the radio or MTV.  The same goes for the Shins or the aforementioned Grizzly Bear and Animal Collective.  M.I.A. developed a sizable following online before "Paper Planes" caught on.  Electronic artist Pogo had millions of youtube hits without any record label intervention.  The rules for commercial success, it seems, are beginning to change.

      While the artists receiving the most radio time suck more than ever, we can at least take comfort in knowing how much easier it is to find the artists with ambition and a unique voice.  My hope is that it won't be long before record labels are entirely obsolete, but this is mostly wishful thinking.

  7. Below-average Joe profile image60
    Below-average Joeposted 13 years ago

    I am so glad to be a 70s/80s kid growing up with such amazing music.  Music from that era is so much a part of pop culture then and now.  It is referenced and used in movies, TV, books, animation.  Think of the music playing today & do you really think it's going to be played 10 or 20 years from now, like the music from the 70s & 80s?
    Nearly all music from the mid-90s to present is like drive-thru McDonald's.  Consumed, momentarily enjoyed and then forgotten.

    1. theageofcake profile image61
      theageofcakeposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I don't understand why so many people remember 80's pop music so fondly - especially those who denounce modern radio.  The 80's music scene paved the way for the overt commercialization and mindlessness we hear on the radio today.

      Like every era, there was some good material, but in terms of pop, I think it was second to our current decade as music's least creative.

      At least the 90's had Radiohead, Missy Elliott, Bjork, Beck, Fatboy Slim, and Nirvana to spice up the airwaves.  Thats not even mentioning the artists who never quite made it big, but made waves in the underground circuit, such as Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, My Bloody Valentine, Portishead, and Neutral Milk Hotel.  Eclecticism was becoming the norm, replacing the homogenized sound of the decade preceding it. 

      If we experienced any progress in the 1980's, it was progress that we now realize was pointing us in the wrong direction.

      1. Below-average Joe profile image60
        Below-average Joeposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        The Police, U2, Michael Jackson, Peter Gabriel, Jane's Addiction and Dire Straits (to name just a few) pointed us in the wrong direction?
        There was admittedly some crap songs in the 80s (of course and there always is) but ALL crap?  No.

        1. theageofcake profile image61
          theageofcakeposted 13 years agoin reply to this

          I never claimed all of it was bad, but I do think the better artists contributed very little in progressing production values/song structures/content.  Electronic music saw some progress, but I think this was more in the underground than pop radio.  Even so, many would argue that the genre as a whole experienced its true renaissance in the the 90's when Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, Orbital, The KLF, Future Sound of London, Daft Punk, The Orb, Fatboy Slim, and The Chemical Brothers had taken it in several unexpected directions.

          The artists you've mentioned are solid, but did they really move music forward?  Mind you - good musicianship does not necessarily mean innovation. 

          Michael Jackson redefined music video more than he did music I think.  Same with Gabriel, although the songs he was writing certainly distinguished themselves in 80's radio. 

          I think the best band to challenge my initial statement would be the Talking Heads, who brought World Music into Western pop (which coincidentally, Gabriel picked up on as Talking Heads' popularity was diminishing).  Public Enemy and Grandmaster Flash also contributed quite a bit for politically conscious rap music, though that has - unfortunately - been abandoned (moreso in the 2000's than the 90's, since bands like Rage Against the Machine and Arrested Development kept it going in different, but equally impactful ways). 

          Like I said before, the 80's were not an entire waste of time.  But a side by side comparison of that decade with the decade proceeding it seems to provide evidence of the latter being a more creative and eclectic point in musical history.

  8. profile image0
    sneakorocksolidposted 13 years ago

    Theres deffinately been better.

  9. heart4theword profile image61
    heart4thewordposted 13 years ago

    On some stations they play the same music, over and over again, now for not just months but years.  There are so many talented Artist out there that are not given their chance in the spotlight of radio.  It is hard too, to understand why some music is recorded, that only have one sentence, or the same words over and over again.  We have so much more words available to us.  Some Artist need a Dictionary for Christmas:)  Music not only should be an Art, but Poetry to Our Souls:)

  10. camlo profile image85
    camloposted 13 years ago

    Anyone who says that music is not what it used to be is just getting old. There has always been good music, as there has bad -- but isn't 'good' or 'bad a matter of taste? Nowadays there's such a vast range of popular music available to us (which is better than things used to be) that there must be something for everyone. Anyway, popular culture changes. It has to - and very fast.

  11. camlo profile image85
    camloposted 13 years ago

    But wasn't popular music always commercial?

    1. allpurposeguru profile image76
      allpurposeguruposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Yes. Absolutely. By definition! Why else would it be called "the music industry"?

      I taught a course in World Music several years ago, and one chapter in the book made a distinction between "down home blues" and "commercial blues". It amazed me how many students made disparaging comments about "commercial blues". You know, complete sellouts like Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Robert Johnson, Billie Holiday, Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, B.B. King.

      Music doesn't become junk because some company makes (gasp) a profit. True, the music industry (since it's invention in England in the 1700s) has always been more concerned with churning out a quantity of product than with how good it is. Most of it is junk.

      But that's not because it's commercial. There's plenty of junk music that never even hopes to be commercial. And there's plenty that succeeds in being good despite the best efforts of music industry execs.

  12. profile image0
    LEWJposted 13 years ago

    The quality of Pop music has not only deteriorated; some forms of it have died as to artistic values.
    Prior to the 80s,  esthetic  and professional values such as lyrical depth and musicality were more respected and more common in the industry.     
    The extreme emphasis placed on bassbeats has been over-exploited.  It amounts to an aberration--insistence on a single musical element in the midst of a broad palette of musical possibilities.
    Rap music is the prime example of this phenomenon.   

    As I hear it, the form today that has most parodied and cliched itself is Rock music.
    As a dynamic musical form, Rock music is effectively DEAD.   It died on the examination table sometime in the 1970s.  It had lived for more than 20 years.
    The murderers are as follows: accumulated redundancy,  lack of direction, lazy lyricism, lazier composing, and lack of vision.     Total opposites of what characterized the form even in its infancy.   If talent similar to what went before is present, it is certainly well hid from public attention.     The form lost hold of its inventiveness and dynamic power somewhere along the way.     Very few have come forward with a unique and memorable sound worthy of serious praise since the 1970s.   Afterward, the original Prince produced some freshness.   Blondie and Madonna also made interesting contributions in the post-70s.  I remember Peter Frampton's popular wah-wah guitar style in the 70s; but he disappeared like reversed lightning with no stronger substance remaining.    Elton John, The Stones, Bowie, and Led Zepp were notables in that period, and worthy of praise at their best, but as far as wide impact is concerned I don't think either of them created a style or sound that opened up a channel for dynamic growth.  Maybe Bowie, but where's punk Rock now on the scale of cultural values?   Maybe the Stones, but where's the clear imprint in the form of an equally creative sound that bridges into yet another dynamic form?   Till now both have been more musically inimitable than musically expandable.     Only genuine talent in that genre could manage a musically authentic takeoff from either one of them.   

    Rock music, including its offshoot genres, has become a potpourri of hish-hash and re-hash, just another commercial forum for career debuts in general.   Anybody can put in an application, just come in and take a number.     
    Of course, if noise generation is all that's valued by those who listen to it the outlook for Rock music is fine, with a rosy future ahead indeed.
    Rhythm and Blues did'nt die out in the 70s like Rock did, but I suppose commercialism will destroy any good thing if given enough time to.

    1. profile image0
      LEWJposted 13 years agoin reply to this
    2. profile image0
      Ghost32posted 13 years ago

      My wife and I feel music has hit the ultimate low--if you judge by commercial jingles on TV.  The current (and intensively repeated over the air) ad sponsored jointly by Dove and Wal-Mart, "Do Your Ears Hang Low", is a direct ripoff of an old Marine marching song asking the question about a much lower pair of body parts and DEFINITELY not appropriate for young G rated ears to hear.  Gross.

      The advertising loony who came up with that campaign must be SO proud of himself/herself.

    3. Pr0metheus profile image59
      Pr0metheusposted 13 years ago

      Short answer, no.

      Long answer, STOP LISTENING TO THE MAINSTREAM SH1T.  It is just that!  Fecal matter excreted from the likes of Kanye west and other supposed producers.  Armin Van Buuren got voted the top DJ of the year.... he's terrible.  Mau5 FTW!

      There's lots of GREAT music out there (especially now that people can produce music with software on their computer), you just need to know where to look.

      Music hasn't degenerated... pop culture has.

    4. dondata11 profile image60
      dondata11posted 13 years ago

      it's all about the song dolla dolla bill yall yall. but like biggie smalls says "rest in peace" the more more we talk about the more problem you see. everyone is not truly working on their artistic side other than the money they can be making and that's why the industry to me is now garbage or a one hit 2 step soulja boy.

    5. profile image0
      LEWJposted 13 years ago

      Really easy to discern why pop music has deteriorated; why work harder when the system pays you so well to work less?       In that kind of commercial atmosphere, is it a wonder that so many less-than-truly-dedicated performers have shown up in the music industry?
      Almost makes you wonder whether the music and dedication level would improve if the industry went back to paying less for more....   At least it might weed out the imitation artists, sending them on to more appropriate careers where they'd be harmless to the music industry!
      Then again, a realistic comment has been made here that accurately points the finger at the execs and their greed for cash benefits---a fair observation.

    6. Shinkicker profile image89
      Shinkickerposted 13 years ago

      Mainstream music is definitely worse. It's become bland, processed junk food to appeal to the mass market and keep profit margins up.

      Quality music is out there, you just need to go look for it yourself now.


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