This is a scary story for sure, but it’s no mystery.
Most of you have read a mystery novel where 10 or so strangers are invited to an isolated mansion, find they are trapped there and can’t escape, and one by one, are killed till only one is left. Gruesome for sure. But that’s fiction right???
Now transfer that basic scenario to all the musicians in the world! This is not fiction.
Months ago I noticed that more and more media coverage was devoted to fewer and fewer musicians. They were getting more media attention in the corporate media than all the others combined! The record companies – and there are only 3 now with Warners, Universal, and Sony, controlling 80% of the industry – were putting more and more of their promotion into fewer and fewer stars.
I began to chart who made that select list. Start with all the millions of musicians in the world – thousands of them are first rate. None but 8 made the list:
We now are down to 8
Here was the first list I made (judged by music media promotion in 2014).
Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber Justin Timberlake, Miley Cyrus, One Direction.
Note they all sound very much a like with what some would call and overproduced dance pop sound. The rest of the musicians in the world, had a day or two of reviews or an interview here or there, or made the papers when they had a hit, or did something outrageous, and then were quickly marginalized like the millions of other musicians in the world.
Soon Justin fell off for being too old and having a weak record release. Miley was dropped for acting too weird. One Direction had a big but limited fan base that was… one dimensional…
And then I saw that we were down to 5:
Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and Justin Bieber.
Bieber got into legal troubles by acting out some bad behavior over a month or two, and Lady Gaga’s latest release didn’t do as well as anyone thought, plus she gained a pound or two and then lost it, so …
And then there were 3:
Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Beyonce,
Taylor Swift was all over the map, her coverage could not stop. She had daily coverage on what she was wearing! Beyonce matched that with a big tour, plus elevator drama that instead of reducing her media coverage, multiplied it. Perry had another hit but … somebody had to go!
And then there were 2:
We now are down to Taylor Swift and Beyonce.
If the pattern holds, then one of these two has got to go. But which one?
The bizarre corporate music world wants to keep weeding out more and more variety and people in the world of music – they are down to two very popular, somewhat generic sounding, over produced in an auto tuned way – pop music – diva – talents.
Which one will go and which one will be left standing. The scenario is scary, just like a creepy, isolated mansion mystery!
Never in history have so few musicians got more press than all the rest. Never in history have the music business been mostly 3 companies (Universal, Warners, Sony). Never in history has the major media companies owned the music companies too, so they can make the music, promote the music, and then give themselves great reviews without ever leaving the house!
We need the vitality that a little music rebellion would bring. That’s what postmod music from Dallas is about. Not music to celebrate a handful of beautiful trendy pop stars. But music that is great music no matter who makes it – opened up to the entire world, not closed down to all but two … or one!!
Filed on #1 day of November.