What is Happening to the Music Industry?


Remember the days when talent was everything, and to get anywhere in the world of music, you had to have it and know how to use it? Sadly, for the most part those days are gone. These days, if you have enough sex appeal, enough money, access to the internet or just bored, you have a shot in the music industry.

It started with talent shows, Popstars, Australian Idol, Australia’s Got Talent, The X Factor; when reality TV began scouting for “talent”, it was clear things would not bode well for the music industry.

The X factor stage – image by christianrocabado

Reality TV and Music

It wasn’t true talent that got these people contracts with leading record companies, it was their ability to make fans vote for them. And that usually took no more than good looks. The most that these winners got was 15 minutes of fame. They were nothing more than flavours of the month.

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It was not talent, it was their ability to make fans vote for them – image by lbcanaacp.org

Looking at the list of artists who were made with the show Popstars all around the world, almost all of them have disbanded or have done absolutely nothing after releasing their first album right after the show.

These people got the chance to make an album, the opportunity to really make it in the music world, but they did nothing with it.

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The show Popstars – image by tvnz.co.nz

There are bands and artists, with real talent, out there that struggle every day to try and make it. Some do and some don’t. But those are the people who deserve it. Not these contestants on TV shows that are just in for a quick buck.

The Internet and Music

The internet has done a lot of good for up and coming bands and artists. With the ability to have your music at the fingertips of so many people around the world, it is an effective and cheap way to promote your work. Unfortunately, it also leads to fads, fakes and for anyone to upload anything they please.

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The internet has done a lot of good for up and coming bands and artists – image by qtctech.com

Just look at the latest internet trend, Justin Bieber. He was just a kid uploading videos on youtube, and by chance the music manager, Scooter Braun, happened upon his videos and organised to have him meet Usher, which then led to him being signed to Raymond Braun Media Group in 2008. Now, of course this is good news for the now 16 year old.

Justin Bieber

But, in all honesty, he really doesn’t have the talent he his claimed to have. He is just boy with a cute face who would attract a huge amount of attention with the pre-teens; and of course, it’s always good for Usher’s image to be seen helping this young boy.

One thing that can be promised about young Bieber’s career is this. It will not last long. He may be wanted by everyone now, but when the new “it” person comes along, he’ll be pushed aside. There is a long list of music sparked by internet phenomena.

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Do Justin Bieber really have talent? – image by billboard.com

For example, the band OK Go, won a Grammy for their music video “Here It Goes Again”, thanks to the internet. After that they were barely spoken of. They tried again with the music video for “This Too Shall Pass”, where the band performs among the workings of a giant Rube Goldberg machine.

The song title itself, indicates the band knew it would just be a fad. And once again, OK Go have faded away from the forefront of the music industry.

OK Go is a band that does music sometimes – image by chicagotribune.com

There are other examples that play out in the same way. An acapella group, “Straight No Chaser” put their rendition of “Twelve Days of Christmas” online and in 2007 it went viral. This led to a signing to Atlantic Records.

It is now 2021, does anyone know where these guys are?

Straight No Chaser acapella band – image by fwembassytheatre.com

There are plenty of bands out there in Australia, and across the globe who work hard, do it tough, try and make a thing of themselves by playing any gig they can. But, unfortunately, for most of these artists, they don’t get the big shots and chances that these fads have. People are too afraid to take a risk with a band that may have potential for a long career.

Most of these artists don’t get the big shots and chances – image by istockphoto.com

They would rather play it safe, stick to the trends and flavours of the month, because they have a guarantee of making money for the time they are “in”. Some of the music industry officials need to take a better look at what’s around. Fads won’t last forever.

Good, real music by talented people will. All you have to do is look at The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Black Sabbath, etc. The list goes on.


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