I’m hardly qualified to talk about this. But, I’m gonna.
A lot of thought and energy and money has gone into modernizing the music industry, for the record company revolution that ain’t happening. In case there is any uncertainty or unfamiliarity, people are not paying for music. If they do happen to have a moral compass, they are no longer buying complete albums; singles are king. This is a huge problamo for the business and their current paradigm. Profitability, where for art thou?
Music is so human. And it would be beyond tragic to lose business surrounding the cacophony of sounds and delights. Bottom line is people are not investing moolaa in this type of artistry. If no/little funds are being directed towards music, less music will be produced. Less good music will be produced, hindering advancement. Just listen to the radio if you have any qualms about this. Consumers buy products that are important to them. And is without a doubt that music is incredibly important to all of us, so why is the record industry having so much difficulty capitalizing upon this human need?
They have been unable to stay abreast with the current culture and its zeitgeist. It continues to be a hard transition, with their lack of adaptability to music sharing, the asinine nature of getting radio play, and the rapid pace of information. We’re voracious for that new music. We are no longer bound and broken to listening to full length compact discs.
And this is the point- you cannot have a revolution without an evolution. I don’t want to pay so much lip service to this issue. I want to get to the bottom of some musical artists that are forward thinking, innovators, and integrating different forms of media. They are changing the model, successfully.
Every once in awhile, there is a truly great pop artist. And Lady Gaga, meat dress and all, has filled this role. Not only is she an impressive writer and musician (a little piano lady, if ya please), her main talents lie in performance. There is more to her appeal than catchy singles about Alejandros and poker. She shocks and awes. But behind this flashy, sassy, loco gimmicks, is a an artist. She integrates her music, her fashion, performances, and weirdness. She has taken her video to the next level, making them little dramatic tv episodes. Hello, Telephone? Could product placements be funding these avant-garde endeavors? People are goo goo over gaa gaa, because she is offering us something we haven’t seen before- this theatrical and interesting spectacle that is Lady Gaga and her brand of entertainment.
What inspired me to write this post was watching Kanye West’s new short film Runaway. I thought the cinematography was breathtaking. Besides the point. Again, disassociating from your personal beliefs about what kind of guy he is, he is taking his music to a different level. This upcoming album is non tradish. First off, he has collaborated with eleven different artists. This may seem exorbitant, and we will see how it pans out. However, I find it very interesting to bring musicians like Bon Iver to the mix. A indie troubadour seems out of place with hip hop, but Kanye is crossing categories, perhaps attracting different types of fan. With this short film, and what seems like a fresh maturity, he is creating a more sophisticated composite of hip hop. The difference between Mr. West and his contemporaries, is that he is incorporating different mediums to showcase his talent.
So I argue, that the future of music is an aggregate of different elements. To succeed commercially, an artist is going to have to be more than a pretty face and write a song about partying hardy. Said artist will really have to move the populace with not only their music, but additionally will have to be performers. Or perhaps like Lady Gaga they will have to incorporate creative houses that will help bring this sort of exposition to life. And don’t start to think that this is about a celebrity selling champagne in cans or put their name on a shoe company. It’s more than brand extension. Kanye West has said that Lindsay Lohan’s fashion line for Ungaro was the 9/11 of fashion lines for the famous. It has to be in the realm of entertaining. It is still to be determined, but I know that I, personally, am much more interested in Kanye, and his upcoming album, because of this film and his latest performances, collaborations, and film noir.
I think that music will take on new dimensions that could coalesce theater, fashion to industrial to graphic design, to comedy, dance. In the future, maybe a musical artist will be working together with an actor, magician, tattoo artist, and an animator. The idea sends me. Oh the possibilities! The amazing things that could be created looking at the arts agnostically or neutrally, ignoring traditional demarcations. Renaissance.
Culminating, perhaps the music industry needs to stray from trying to sell singles, and start selling entertainment.
Probably more on this at some point. Congratulations if you read the whole enchilada.