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Before MUS203 my understanding of music was simple, there was always a good song and a bad song. As I progressed in my studies at college, I was enlightened, and my understanding of music grew more. By the end of this class, I understood how complex music actually is and how complexity cannot be ignored when trying to understand history. We learn from books people like Nina Simone that music is very complex and that in order to understand it one must look at it from several points of view and take into consideration all events occurring or all the actions that affected this event, in short, it is complex.
Popular music is very much like history because perspective has a great play in both. When studying popular music, one must take into consideration the complexity behind the period of time. We see this with history too. When looking at history one must take in to consideration all of the input and outputs.
Music itself is history because normally tells a story. I have come to the conclusion that music tells a story about society itself with its success and not so much with its lyrics. For example, when looking at Nina Simons career one can see that at the time because she started to oppose to segregation, she lost fame. What this tells us about American society at the time is that it was racist. This though isn’t the only situation where a famous artist has lost their fame or money for not continuing to supply with what the market wants.
Popular music mass consumption is generally an industrial product that does not pursue artistic intentions, but to meet the requirements demanded by the market and that we have seen increase in recent years tremendously.
The social drama that this generates is important to mention in order to see in the crisis of cultural identity that a large part of the youth and adults in Nicaragua and a large part of Latin America go through. Listening exclusively to music by Wisin & Yandel because it is cool and generates a certain ‘position’ within a frivolous environment speaks of the enormous abyss of culture in which youth are. The anti-culture, then. On the one hand, the creation of light music establishes behavioral models that are subsequently imposed on the society that takes them for granted, without this realizing that behavioral models are imposed for purely commercial purposes. And on the other hand we see that these models are easily adopted due to the lack of penetrating models in society due to a lack of generalized social values. This has contributed to the emergence of social movements in the youth strata. Umberto Eco tells us broadly that the growing presence of youth in music, from a general point of view, is a relatively new fact in current musical consumption if we take into account that the traditional musical media (radio, television and Internet) , they focus almost exclusively on their exclusivity in these niches. This presence has shaped the musical medium in recent years, and business and commercial practices of enormous influence in popular culture have turned towards them. It can be said that the culture industry has become an expert in mass youth psychology, appropriating genres such as pop to exclusively extend its monetary spectrum without any cultural value.
Music and how it is composed has begun to change and instrumental music is losing grounds to made up sounds from a computer. In the last decade music has started to shift from being good to being sellable. One of the issues I believe have affected how music is made is the market. The market and demand for music is so big and powerful that it now controls the music. Before music would shape the market, what this means is that music was made, and people enjoyed this music and if you didn’t well to bad but now, if one doesn’t like music then music shapes itself to comfort us the people of the market. We see this with Nina Simone, Lil Pump, tekashi69. By now you must be hitting your face thinking how dare you even mention these people in the same paper as Nina Simone, the answer is change in history.
As mentioned before music no longer holds the ropes of its future. Now we are in an age where not music, but the market molds the outcome and quality of the music produces. One of the points I believe should be mentioned is how Nina Simone’s career kept getting hurt just for expressing her ideas towards society. With this comes the dilemma that I believe every artist faces at some point in their professional careers, to fight for what they believe in, or to give the public what they want. Staying quiet to the injustice happening at the time was the easy way out. I like to believe that Mrs. Simone knew this was going to affect her career but did it anyways, because it was the right thing to do. The worst part is that it still happens, as we’ve recently seen it with Collin Kaepernick, a professional athlete standing up for his ideals. Using the platform that he has built for himself to express his ideals and being punished for it. It’s the same with Nina. She had a platform that she built with her hard work and ended up getting punished for using it for a good cause. As said before Nina Simone’s mental health state was never in a good standing and I believe this led to a lot of her issues. Main issue being her ideal of solving segregation with violence. Nina Simone was rejected thought her whole life this made her internalizes rejection and project this rejection in the form of hatred and violence. Therefore, she tended to align more with Malcom X ideals more than Martine Luther King. The new musical era measures success by views or seen on social networks or on YouTube channels. This provides artists with a solid platform for their development. Not only does it quote and grant popularity, but it gives them level, increases their rates and positions them in the great musical contests. It is a growing phenomenon.
A happy pandemic. The young people are hooked. It is no longer the music of the canteens only. There are several radio stations grinding popular music. And social networks are full of that music with guitars and accordion. Things have changed a lot in the recording industry. Mainly, now it is much less expensive. Recording from a song or an album costs much less because there are now many more options to record. Before there were only large studios, however today we have small studios, or home studios, which in my opinion can have the same quality as large studios. Another big difference is that now the world of recording is becoming, in its majority, digital. This means that giant consoles and so many peripheries are no longer needed to obtain good quality sound, which previously only gave us analog equipment. Now we can get excellent quality, as long as we always take care of the details. The record industry has been almost completely renewed due to a very important factor: discs in physical format are no longer sold.
However, there was a hero, some years ago, who saved the music industry when piracy seemed to end it: Steve Jobs, CEO and founder of Apple. Platforms like iTunes made the music industry get up and started digital sales in a much more formal way. However, the years went by again and with it the trends. The streaming came to renew the industry again. This caused people to stop buying music altogether (of course, with their exceptions as artists like Justin Bieber and Adele who continue to sell millions), and now pay a monthly rent to consume unlimited music. This has meant that there is now another IMPORTANT trend for the music industry, The playlists. Now people do not listen to albums. Listen to individual songs that are grouped by the curators of the platforms in the playlists. The music industry before vs. the music industry today is quite different. However, something different does not mean it is bad or worse than before. It’s just that: different. We have to adapt to the new trends and what is changing year after year. Who knows if tomorrow can bring new changes that make everything that today is a trend, tomorrow is something obsolete.
However, That’s the incredible thing about the world of music. Continue learning and keep discovering new ways to do it. I believe that one of the factors that will help determine how some music will react to the test of times is how this music is stored. One of the reasons some music didn’t age well is because most of couldn’t be accessed as easy as today. To find a song now one just has to search on the web in places like YouTube, Spotify or Google. Before of was really difficult to obtain a song from 20 years ago if it wasn’t well known
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