This blog post is dedicated to all of the musicians I know who are doing the best they can to live the dream, making music for pocket change and sometimes struggling to survive because they have found and are following their passion – the music.
DISCLAIMER: This may seem a bit of a rant, but there’s hope at the end, so bear with me.
There is no shortage of good music in the world. That statement probably runs counter to what most people, including myself, say most of the time. Unless you are a “tween-ager,” you are likely unimpressed with the Justin Beibers of the world. Cocky punk kids who take over the airwaves with their “Baby, Baby, Baby, OH’s” are not likely to send the average 25+ into a blissful state of musical ecstasy. The addition of autotune has compounded the plight of genuine musical connoisseur and performers alike, allowing mediocre talent to woo audiences from auto-tuned albums to concerts only to perform off key to screaming fans who can’t hear them anyway.
And so, those of us beyond the 25 year mark (and some below it) are becoming disenchanted with the music scene altogether. BUT WAIT! Before you completely give up, there is still good music out there to be discovered. Yes, continue to enjoy your LP’s, CD’s, and playlists of the artists you love from Sinatra to Santana to Sound Garden, but keep digging. There are some brilliant songwriters and artists who are trying to eek out a living on nothing more than their take from weekend gigs. In a world of $1.99 downloads and youtube sensations, the average (or even above average) singer/songwriter is struggling to make a living and play some good music when the opportunity arises.
I am desperate to see these folks supported by my generation. We are responsible for bands like R.E.M., Nirvana, even U2, but somehow, we’ve begun to allow the industry tell us what good music is. I’m sorry (not sorry), scantily clad twenty-somethings blaring single entendres while twerking in my face is a far cry from my taste in music, so why does the industry sell it? Because somehow a generation has been convinced that it’s edgy and new and hip and good. Well, no, it’s not any of those things, and it’s definitely not clever. Music is supposed to make you think or feel. It’s meant tap into the most primal parts of us and then draw us beyond – out of those primal selves – to something deeper, more beautiful, more human. We the consumers must begin to change the face of music back to what it should be.
What can we do? Simple. Support. Take your kids to a concert. Hire these artists for a show. In Duluth, GA there is a man who’s been doing his part for years. Eddie Owen has been discovering, promoting, supporting up and coming singer/songwriters since Beiber and Swift were in diapers. Now operating Eddie Owens Presents At the Red Clay Music Foundry, he’s still doing his part to make sure that good music doesn’t die. While we can’t all be Eddie, we can do our part. We can support these types of venues, and the artists who perform there. We can buy their CD’s and tell our friends. We can buy and spread good music.
A friend recently reminded me of power we have in social media. How many times have you heard a song you love and then forgotten about it? Have you been to a wonderful concert and forgotten to tell anyone? Next time, tweet it, Facebook it, post it to your blog or tumblr. The thing that has made the musician’s job more challenging could easily be our best tool to revitalize music. It may seem frivolous, but for generations, the industry has spoon fed us what “they” considered to be good music. In this digital age, we are able to have a voice, and of all things in this world, music has the most significant power to shape future generations.
We can help make sure the music doesn’t die. Good music needs us, and so do the artists who live by it, and so does a generation that is being sold a candy floss coated pile of dung and told it’s music. They need to hear the good stuff. We need to share it with them.
“We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of the dreams.” – Arthur O’Shaughnessy