Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Tuesday Guest Post - Listen to what you Like? sound?

Today's post comes from Andrew over at Carry You Away. Andrew has been on a quasi-hiatus lately, so there hasn't been a lot to read over in that neck of the woods, but over the last year and half it seems that we've gone back and forth with posting on quite a few bands. I'd post on something and then find out he posted on it previously, or vice versa. In talking with Andrew lately I've come to find out that besides being a big music fan, he's a sci-fi nut as well and writes about his other love over at worlds in a grain of sand, where you'll find his musing on space and science fiction from a historical perspective (and an occasional movie or TV show review). Really quite interesting stuff. Anyway, here are some of his musings on music and its place in the cosmos.

I listen to music because I like it. There are many components to a song that can make or break it. The overall tone and feel, the lyrics, the vocalists (or lack thereof), and the instruments used. Often put together, these elements are put together to form an opinion, to laugh or cry, to tell a story or for any reason that someone decided to sing on that given day.

This is what makes music enjoyable. Oftentimes, while I read over a number of music blogs around the internet, I'd read a lot about music and from there, I could get a sense of what a reviewer was like, how they approached music. Through this entire community that has come online, I came to despise the indie crowd.

There's no one reviewer or blog that I can really point to, and this certainly isn't a universal trait, but as a collective group, the entire group is shallow, vain and superficial, and while their tastes in music are generally good, the arrogance here is palpable.

This community is characterized in popular culture with movies such as Juno and albums like Vampire Weekend; products that utilize overly quirky characters and mannerisms, big words out of the normal vocabulary in an attempt to seem far more intelligent than they really are.

There's a hypocritical nature to this. Through my time blogging music, I came across some of the most ridiculous arguments against various artists. Band X sucks because they've signed onto a major record label. They've turned their back on their fans by changing their sound. These guys sold out because they sold their song to a television show, commercial or film. The people who make these arguments miss the entire reason for why musicians go before audiences. Before the love of music or the art of the craft, musicians work. This is their livelihood.

The notion of a community where the art flows free, and the artists are able to pursue their art through any means is a nice one, but it is both misguided and simplistic. The art world is a business world, and while the album market has taken a hit with something like 40 billion illegal downloads in the past year, it still is, and will continue to be, a profitable one because they have a product that is universal: Music.

The internet is becoming an increasingly important element of the music industry. Music distribution through online vendors has become a huge market, giving people an unprecedented new way to listen to, distribute and enjoy an ever increasing number singers and songwriters. But, after all that is said and done, it is still essentially the same thing, a product.

So, listen to music because you enjoy it. Not because it's cool to be seen listening to.


boyhowdy said...

Wow...we're really ripping this whole indie thing a new one this week, aren't we. What's next, a goth/industrial perspective on how indie blogs/musicians/antilabels need to stop co-opting their influences and labeling them indie, lest someone get a stompin'?

Sean said...

LOL...you're completely right, and it was completely unplanned. I didn't realize that you and Andrew would be thinking along the same avenues when I penciled you in for back to back days. Unfortunately, no goth/industrial perspective tomorrow - that is unless another reader out there with expertise in the area would like to step in and write one. If so, e-mail me tonight and we'll whip it together like a 10 minute meal!