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Is pop music just money driven?


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Please DO NOT get offended by this. But any ways, I was thinking and watching MTV. Although I don't know how you can do both. But, it seems that main stream music or mostly pop music is all about the money. I know this may seem obvious, but what has happened? I mean what has happened to the music? The "singers" don't sing that well and they sell millions of copies and make millions of dollars. Why is this all about money? I mean music should be just about the music, shouldn't it? (Once again, im not trying to offend anyone) I just see all of these things happening, like they can take a person off the street and make them a star. Where has the talent gone. I know that there are tons and tons of bands and singers who got famous off of there own merits, but I'm talking about the people(mostly pop stars) who don't sing well, didn't earn where they are in the world, and doesn't deserve what they're getting. Music now is about sex and sex sells. But, am i just getting too mad over nothing? I'm not saying that all of the pop stars and main stream stuff is too perfect and the people couldn't actually do what it is on their records, but. . . . Am i alone in my opinion? Is music changing just to fit the finacial needs of those in the music business? People obviously have talent(or at least some) if they've made it to the top, but it isn't usually about the MUSIC. The companies might see them as "money makers". PLEASE: don't post any thing about how they have talent and im just too over hung or anything negative(or at least that would hurt my feelings :cry: , just joking) but, what do you think on the subject?
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I completely agree...with JDL, and I also agree with Ashley Judd..man it feels weird saying that!. Music, in the "pop" industry, by which I mean BS, CA, the boy bands and such, is marketing. It has nothing to do with making music or giving people something other than an image to copy, which means more money spent and more money made. I stay away from that. It's actually pretty easy to find really, really good music that hasn't made it big, and maybe that's what's kept it good. The people know what it's about. That's the reason I hate autotune and things like that. I mean, for correcting maybe a slight mistake in an actually good person's recording, I don't object, but I wonder, why not leave the mistake in? It is part of the soul of the song. Look at Miles Davis, that was basically his philosophy. He let mistakes in his solos go, because they're part of it, I don't think they could even be called 'mistakes'. err...now I'm ranting ;) Summing up, I know how you feel, JDL. I mean to offend no-one...just how I look at things. :D

"If you're flammable and have legs, you are never blocking a fire exit. Unless you are a table."

-Mitch Hedberg

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Well the short answer is "YES". But just remember there is a difference between a musician and an entertainer. Take Pat Boone for example. My father worked for him. I remember Pat refering to himself as an "entertainer". Most of the Jive Records products are "entertainers" this is nothing new! Look at Vaudville. I feel your pain. We whom work so hard and never breakout to the big time, see some dolt dancing like a scarescrow on MTV, and wonder Why arn't my talents getting notice? Well, it is the same reason some of us did not get laid at 15.
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It's about balance. There have always been artists and entertainers, and sometimes even artsts who entertain. As I mentioned on another thread, there should be room for both. Sexuality and sex appeal have always been very important for pop stars, and movie stars. In the past people took sex symbols for what they were: Sex-symbols. It was very hard, if not impossible for sex symbols to ever be taken seriously as artists. Now these distinctions don't apply. Sexuality, as a talent, has been legitimized. So the balance is slipping away. To answer your question. IMHO, yes pop music is money driven. Has been for a long time.

Jotown:)

 

"It's all good: Except when it's Great"

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There have been several similar topics to this thread... If you're really curious you might try searching... always some good comments about this issue. Part of the assumption in your post seems to be that it is "uncommon" or "wrong" that pop music is all about the money. We all KNOW it should be for love, art, posterity, sharing emotions, and so on. But the thing called pop music IS about money. For the most part it always has been. Since the dawn of the mass media, (radio, TV, CD's, records), the "popular music" of the day always financially rewarded the businesses that supplied and merchandised it. Remember the function of radio... It's not to disseminate music or anything... it's about a platform to sell advertising. Music is the sweet smell on the fly-paper... the more you can attract to your station, the more you can charge the advertisers. For most of the history of pop music, the music was produced and controled by the industry. The record companies found "stars", hired others to compose music for them, hired musicians to perform the backing tracks, and packaged and marketed the whole thing. In the 60's, by a quirk of timing and the huge economic power of the boomers, musicians like the Beatles altered pop music in a rare way. They tried to make it mean something. And to many people it did. There were clear and unstated messages, and the music you listened to said alot about your world view. They wrote and performed their own art, and lo and behold, the masses bought into it big time. To the masses the Beatles were first pop stars, then they evolved into artists. But to the record industry, the Beatles were something else. An enormous cash cow. A MEGA-HIT. It's hard to remember now that Beatlemania was so overwhelming. I think they had the top 5 songs on the top 10 at one time. THEY WERE HUGE... and the MONEY was HUGE. They broke every record. Not for making art... the records that the industry cared about were SALES FIGURES. It didn't take long for the record industry to do what it always does. If something's a hit, find similar performers and flood the market with similar stuff... who knows, lightning MIGHT strike more than once. And in this case it did. In a wide and diverse way. LOT'S of people wrote some great songs and the masses bought them in huge numbers. So we had a period where the "singer-songwriter" was sought out and supported by the industry. Heck, the industry actually felt good about itself, promoting "art" to the masses. They weren't just making money, they were shaping the culture. But the masses evolve in their tastes. And the formulas of yesterday, don't become mega-hits today. So the industry starts to fracture. To allow experimentation to take place. Because you see, as much as we think they can MAKE people into stars and songs into hits... they can't. They can promote things heavily, but the masses have to BUY. So it's a trial and error thing. So when a concept like say, "boy bands" WORKS, (I think N'Sync sold like $300 million in 2001), they JUMP on it. And if little Britney is what people seem to want, well you can have it, plus a hundred Britney clones to match. And on and on. Ironically, meaningful self-written songwriting had a LONG time at the top of the pop heap. Nearly 30 years. Maybe it will come back some time. You can never tell. The masses are fickle. Some "fads" fade quickly. It seemed that DISCO would NEVER die, but for the most part, it has. Rap seems to be one of the latest "flavors" but we'll have to see it's staying power. Pretty girls who can dance is another flavor... who knows how long it will last? But it's ALWAYS been about the money in pop music. Even when songs "meant something", you only heard them through the mass media because someone was making big bucks on selling songs with "meaning". Or am I being too cynical? guitplayer

I'm still "guitplayer"!

Check out my music if you like...

 

http://www.michaelsaulnier.com

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I have no problem with pop music being about money.Everyone pretty much accepts that. What I don't like is music being a marketing tool for the fashion industry.Even punk was about fashion.They made the kids think it was all about anarchy and rebellion against society,but the Sex Pistols were really the brain child of Malcolm McClaren,a fashion designer.The industy had the clothing and the look boxed,and ready to be sold. The same thing happend with hip pop,Grunge,and disco.I suppose 50s,60s,and 70s rock n roll was not much differnt.It all started with the invention of the T.V. set.
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Pop music is not money driven. If it would be, there were good music. Majors are losing money, losing billions! People are bored by 1 week stars, and as they can hear a song 479 times a day, there is no motivation to buy the crappy and musically empty CD. I think that (and now everyone will shoot me) the world's most important lobbies, (those with industrials, politicians, psichologists) have always driven the music industry: During the II world war they pushed romantic music, to alleviate pain, during the '50 boom, the music was very adrenalinic, because they wanted people to be strong and productive, and now? The music has no soul, it's a continuous beat, no time for romantics, no time for love, just run run, and produce, and now, with a big ($$$) war coming, there is no time to think, to use the brain, just let's make people like robots, so they will obey to petrole industry needs. Ok, now you can shoot me

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Excellent post, guitplayer. Thanks for taking the time to eloquently summarize the history of pop music for us. :-) This is the only statement that cocked my head: [quote]Originally posted by guitplayer: [b]Rap seems to be one of the latest "flavors" but we'll have to see it's staying power. [/b][/quote]Rap music has been around for more than 20 years now. It's certainly not just a fad. How long is this bias against rap going to go on? You figure that lasting a whole generation would be long enough to call it legit, no?

Alex Westner

VP Marketing & Prod Dev

Wave Arts

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[quote]But it's ALWAYS been about the money in pop music. Even when songs "meant something", you only heard them through the mass media because someone was making big bucks on selling songs with "meaning".[/quote]All business is about “the money!” There is nothing evil or wrong with that. The difference now I think is that it is only about the money. If you are a cabinet maker and you love what you do. You love the smell of wood, the feel of wood. You love the way the light hits the finish and shows off the grain. Now if you are in the cabinet making business, that love of wood and your pride in the craftsmanship would show up in every cabinet you made and sold. If you didn't sell enough cabinets to make a living you would not be in the cabinet business very long. That kind of craftsmanship, and love of the product is sorely missing in pop music, and the music industry in general. The music business has always been populated and controlled by business men. From the greediest, to the benevolent. The actual people responsible for the music though, were for the most part music lovers. The Arif Mardin's and Jerry Wexlers, and George Martins, and Barry Gordy's, were all lovers of the music. The music came first. In the last ten years this has changed dramatically. The corporatization, (is that a word) and globalization of the music business has taken the musical decisions out of the hands of the music makers and music lovers, and into the hands of the accountants. The money is first now. In this kind of climate it is almost impossible for a truly original, unique creative artist to emerge. Those singer songwriters you mention were part of a trend, but they also were the product of music people who championed their careers because they believed in their talent, [i]and that their talent would make them money[/i]. There is nothing wrong with that. In my opinion that is the biggest change in pop music. Now the industry isn't about developing the artist talent, but about developing their marketability. That is a huge difference.

Jotown:)

 

"It's all good: Except when it's Great"

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[quote]Originally posted by WaveArts: [b]Excellent post, guitplayer. Thanks for taking the time to eloquently summarize the history of pop music for us. :-) This is the only statement that cocked my head: [quote]Originally posted by guitplayer: [b]Rap seems to be one of the latest "flavors" but we'll have to see it's staying power. [/b][/quote]Rap music has been around for more than 20 years now. It's certainly not just a fad. How long is this bias against rap going to go on? You figure that lasting a whole generation would be long enough to call it legit, no?[/b][/quote]~ Thanks for the comments on my post everyone. ~ Wavearts, I didn't mean to say that Rap was new... but its time as a mainstream "pop" medium hasn't been long. I remember early rappers complained loud and often that the pop world ignored them. No question that's true. Like many forms of music that wasn't in the mainstream, I remember rap started gaining pop industry attention through a white artist... Wasn't it Debbie Harry and Blondie and their song "Rapture" that sort of exposed rap, (albiet lame rap), to mainstream pop audiences? I think it was RunDMC that finally "crossed over" with their merge of rock and rap... and certainly there have been a multitude of artists who have stepped on those shoulders to make their own mark. I think rap is currently on its highest pop wave yet, and the fact that eminem's new hit movie is bringing in big audiences confirms its "pop" status. I have to admit I'm not a fan of all rap, (but I do like some), (nor am I a fan of all types of other pop music, but some is ok)... but I wasn't trying to say it wasn't legit... :freak: It is. guitplayer

I'm still "guitplayer"!

Check out my music if you like...

 

http://www.michaelsaulnier.com

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Seems that most music getting played on commercial radio is being produced by a few "hit tanks". It's been that way for a while, and it's probably the reason that once someone comes along with something different, yet connects to common ground, the majors all tend to follow what they see as the trend. Maybe music is what it's always been. Creative people making good music and starting a "movement" that gets beaten to death by people saying "Hey, they are making money, we can too!" The next true pop/rock superstars will have to connect at least two generations of listeners. Maybe three. Then, watch out for the clones.
I really don't know what to put here.
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[quote]Originally posted by felix: [b]Is pop music just money driven? What genre of music isn't? I mean, if it's signed and released by a label, isn't the goal to sell units and make money? It's not just Pop that's money-driven, and I don't think Pop is any less legitimate a genre than others.[/b][/quote]Felix makes a good point. Pretty much any major lalbel recorded music is money driven. I guess that makes live music and indies the last refuge of true artistes.
I really don't know what to put here.
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Only if someone is supremely cynical. If you watch MTV, it may give that appearance. If you dig a little and find all the wonderful things that pop music can still do, then the clear answer is happily: not always.
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[quote]Originally posted by Jotown In my opinion that is the biggest change in pop music. Now the industry isn't about developing the artist talent, but about developing their marketability. That is a huge difference. [/quote]This is spot on, Jotown. I'm an artist by nature. Oftentimes, I wish I could approach the industry in a more business/political kind of way. Unfortunately, I don't have those politic'in skills. I've never been good at kissing ass, or trying to fit in. However, as an artist I still need to (guess what) MAKE MONEY. Everything still costs in this life. I would like for my artistic endeavors to be able to take care of me and mine. So I'm definitely trying to make money on my art. I say all of this to say, that we are all money-driven in some respect. Yet, any truly inspiring or great business always had to be about something more than just the money. Making money is a given. Lincoln Ross Dead Black Jedis

"All conditioned things are impermanent. Work out your own salvation with diligence."

 

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First of all, what is a "fad" in music? Big Band didn't last long in the grand scheme of things, but it still exists to this day. And it, like "Classical" music, WAS the Pop of it's day. Hip Hop music has existed for roughly three decades, and the world was first exposed to "Rap" music with Rapper's Delight in, what, '79? Secondly, it is about the money. Not in a primary, solitary goal, but, as has been stated, it IS the Music BUSINESS. Ask anybody for advice about starting your own business and all the successful people will tell you to do what you love. I see zero wrong with making money off of what you love, it's been done in one way or another since the beginning of time. But, I do have a HUGE problem with people who solely want to be in "music" for the money. Lastly, who is anybody to say who deserves what, and how fame was just handed to the ones on MTV. The Britneys and JayZs and even the NSyncs didn't just wake up and become stars overnight, over year, or over multiple years. Just because Britney doesn't have the talent of Carole King doesn't mean she didn't do SOME work (no jokes, please!). You CAN NOT MAKE STARS! You cannot make people buy records or go see movies or eat a certain candybar. Period. People buy what they like. They might try it and not like it, but nobody can force them. That you or I wouldn't buy it doesn't make it not good. AND, you can't say that Max Martin (there goes that name again) or the Neptunes or any of the artists don't love what they're doing and wouldn't, or didn't, do it for free. There are some who would not work for free, but don't make a blanket statement that the sole purpose of Pop performers and producers (or anyone else of any genre) is to make money. Peace
If at first you don't succeed, keep on sucking 'til you do suck seed!
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Has the business of selling records ever [i]not[/i] been about money? While at various times there have been record companies that were more friendly than others toward "artists" (a dangerously misguided self-concept for anyone in the music biz), there's always a bottom line to meet...& there always has been! Those who wish to pursue a less commercial line---or, more properly, a less [i]mainstream[/i] line---now have the best oportunity (via the Net) to set up distribution of their own work that's ever existed...certainly better than when The Residents started Ralph Records in the DIY 1970/80s. (It's a crowdeed field, however!) BTW, their Roxtox Manifesto might be good reading for all interested in this topic!
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