Photo courtesy of sxc.hu.
The music world today is filled with incredibly talented bands and solo artists who put their heart and soul into the music they create; however, by listening to the Top 40 radio stations, you wouldn’t know that. Some of the top songs on the radio today sadly are “Blah, Blah, Blah,” and “Your Love is my Drug” by Ke$ha. These songs demonstrate the lack of talent needed to be successful in today’s music industry. Everything is so Auto-Tuned and digitally enhanced that even the most average singers can be edited to sound incredible. Several other top songs are those by artists who are not much better than Ke$ha. They don’t write or play their own music and rely heavily on special effects to make their live shows entertaining. The music industry today is primarily concerned with making money and because of that, we are bombarded with generic pop stars that sound just like everyone else out there.
One of the huge problems out there now is the abuse of Auto-Tune. Originally, Auto-Tune was created so that producers could touch up imperfect notes after recording. Now, it seems like most pop artists rely completely on them so that they can sound decent. According to an article in Time Magazine, producer Rick Rubin says, “Right now, if you listen to pop, everything is in perfect pitch, perfect time and perfect tune. That’s how ubiquitous Auto-Tune is.” This has changed people’s expectations of artists because they expect to hear perfect vocals when singers perform live. Those perfect vocals are usually not the case, unless you’re Britney Spears or Ashlee Simpson and you don’t actually sing during your performances. Of the half dozen producers interviewed for the Time Magazine article, none of them could recall a time recently when a pop artist did not use Auto-Tune. There are actually artists famous for using it, like rappers T-pain and Kanye West. Musicians should be famous for their talent, not for what a computer program can do for their music.
Another problem with the music industry is the over-saturation in the market of these untalented performers, particularly the Disney Channel stars. I can’t go anywhere, including my job, without seeing something Hannah Montana, Jonas Brothers or High School Musical. They are on clothes, toys, school supplies, accessories and more. It is incredibly annoying. I know that there are many pre-teen girls who will fight me on this issue, but most people are tired of seeing that everywhere. By this point, these artists have become more of a brand than musicians. It’s not fair to those who actually are talented and deserve the publicity.
For all of the cookie cutter pop musicians out there, there are many more talented musicians that go unnoticed. These are the people who write music because they love it, not just to make money. I go to many local concerts to see bands who give up everything to do what they are passionate about. These bands make hardly any money and spend most of their time living out of a van while on tour. To them, making music the way they want to is the most important thing. This is unlike the pop stars that make music the way the record companies want them to. These bands should be the ones on the radio and shouldn’t be penalized because they don’t sound like everybody else.
Of course, there are many people who think Miley Cyrus, Ke$ha or The Jonas Brothers are amazing artists, but that doesn’t mean that they should be able to overpower the market so that different types of music don’t get a chance to be heard. Instead of making music that all sounds the same, the industry should embrace the fact that there are so many different styles and genres out there. Instead of hearing the same songs over and over on the radio, which is irritating to the people who don’t enjoy the songs that happen to be popular at the time, a variety of different music should be played. If some of this new and different music got the amount of air time that the top pop songs get now, they would do just as well.