I think it’s safe to assume that some people believe that the music industry basically works like this- a label decides they need another hundred million dollars, so they hire someone to write a bunch of pop hits, then they pick someone based on image and that person becomes the “artist” or band and performs these songs. This is shown in South Park’s episode “Something You Can Do With Your Finger” about boy bands (Season 4 Episode 8). I think the quality of pop music backs this theory up as well, and honestly, even though a lot of us might understand that this definitely isn’t always how it works, this really does happen often enough.
In order for an “artist” or band to get big, they really do have to push their image. People will see you before they hear you and they will judge you based on your image. If you don’t believe me that the music comes second, turn on a radio. If you can’t tell by some of my older posts, I’m not a fan of radio. But anyways, think of it this way- let’s say a band gets signed but the label wants to replace one member; could that be considered something along the lines of this theory of the industry? Maybe. Maybe the label has some songs written or a writer they want you to work with. This is not your music, maybe not even your style, but you might be contractually obligated to perform and record it anyway. These are small examples, backed up by the fact that most pop “artists” (there’s that word again) don’t write their own music. Side rant- What can we call these people? Entertainers? They’re not artists, they’re not musicians, most of them can’t sing worth a shit, none of them write their own music… Pions, I like that word, label puppets who own almost none of “their” songs and are only where they are because of- you guessed it- image.
Max Martin. I didn’t know this name until yesterday, but it didn’t matter what the name was, it could have been anybody or a combination of people. This time it just happened to be one person. Max Martin is a Swedish songwriter and producer. You’ve heard many of his songs- Half of anything Katy Perry’s ever performed, Hit Me Baby One More Time by Brittany Spears, Everybody Backstreet’s Back, Dynamite by Taio Cruz. The list goes on (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Martin), and his name was brought to my attention by Boyinaband (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2DHuugaxWk). Max Martin seems to have found the formula for writing songs that sell. Now on to the problem.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad for his success, and I’m not going to sit here and tell you why most of his songs are lowest-common-denominator bullshit. He’s found a method that’s made him a killing, and that’s good. That’s what every artists dreams of. No, the problem isn’t Max Martin. The problem is society. His songs are all radio pop garbage because that’s what sells. People buy this stuff by the millions. If the majority of people wanted to hear quality music with meaningful lyrics, I’m sure he’d write that. I have no doubt that after all these years and all his success he’s capable of it. But it doesn’t sell. No, my problem is with all of you who listen to Katy Perry and Lady Gaga outside of radio. If you listen to stuff like Pitbull or Flo Rida outside of a dance-club setting, you’re the problem.
“Yeah they suck but it’s catchy.” I hear this way too fucking often. You say you don’t like it, but “it’s catchy?” That’s like watching shitty movies just to laugh at the low quality. You’re still wasting your time watching it, providing money to the creators and therefore encouraging them to keep making shit films, and basically I think people who do this are fucking stupid. You know what? If you’re truly a fan of these “artists,” then good for you. To each his own. I don’t like it but I have nothing against you if you do. I just don’t understand why. Seriously, if someone could explain this to me, that would be great. Is it the Family Guy mentality, where you’ve done a long day at work and you just want to relax with something mindless and not have to think about it? That’s what I like about Family Guy and similar shows, lots of jokes packed into a short episode so I can quickly move on to something else.
Maybe that’s the problem. Attention spans are down the drain now. Everyone wants to take shortcuts in every aspect of life and wants everything handed to them. This mentality means that in 20 years there won’t be songwriters under 40. Lol, and you think Auto-tune’s bad now… That’s something else I don’t understand. As a label, wouldn’t it be cheaper to find a performer for your pre-written trash who can actually sing? Auto-tuning a “singer” takes time, and in the studio more than anywhere else almost in the world, time is money. I hear so many people tell me how bad a pop singer’s voice actually is, and I think the use of Auto-tune is proof of this. If you need auto-tune, take vocal lessons or quit singing. I have no respect for “artists” who use auto-tune. Vocalizers are another story. Eiffel-65 sounded auto-tuned before auto-tune because that was the point- to sound synthesized and sometimes robotic. This is something used specifically in electronic music. You won’t hear it today on the radio.
I was going to go on about quality in music, which is my main beef with the radio industry (by that I mean the music industry and it’s lack of standards), but it was really going on and so it will be another post. Anyway, look Max Martin up at the link above to see all his #1 and top ten hits and so on, and check out Boyinaband (the second link above) if you haven’t seen him before.