Mainstream media is quick to offer up the latest in new music to listen to but, so often, the only thing new about it is the wardrobe that the current artist is wearing. There was a time when record executives and producers were willing to take a chance on something new and different. These people are mostly gone and have been replaced with a new breed of fat cat. These new people will only bet on what they think is a sure thing.
Even towards the end of the ‘Golden Age Of Rock N’ Roll,’ record companies started to want to only work with their ‘pool’ of successful artists. Hence we saw such unlikely combinations as John Lennon and Elton John. Record companies moved forward with the conviction that what sold before would sell again and, as Led Zeppelin put it, “The Song Remains The Same.” New fashions in clothes, superficial changes in styles have been applied but songs have basically been done in the same Rhythm and Blues structure since the nineteen fifties to the present day.
More and more emphasis has been put on this outward appearance in the hopes that people will become so fixated by this that the actual content can become of no consequence. We see this trend in books and movies and videos. It’s as if there’s some agreed to formula that a plot must only be a surface concept with no development and no particular resolution at the end.
Perhaps we could coin a new term for this; ‘Distraction Marketing.’ Everywhere in society, this distraction is going on to the point of people not being able to follow through with a single line of reasoning. Meanwhile this is pulling the teeth on our culture and art.
Of course, new music to listen to is still around because you can’t actually stop this from going on. At one time, I ran an internet radio station and I personally selected the artists that would get air play. I was astounded by the number of excellent submissions I was getting from around the world. All independent artists, of course. I did interviews and many had stories such as Judith Owen who had a record contract with Capital Records. At one time, this record company had many different divisions representing numerous musical genres but these were all shut down and they informed her that they were shelving her music. They owned it and she could not use it but they were also not going to do anything with it. Fortunately she got a lawyer and got her music back.