Publicity over Passion

With the rise of internet, celebrity culture, and auto tune, musicians are forced to be more uniform in their sound. This contrasts with artists who defy this norm and show passion in their music.


Monica Scott, Staff Writer

With the rise of internet culture, music has been overcome by shallow values, reliance on publicity, and mass production for monetary gain, causing a lack of authenticity and genuine passion. Who is to blame for this phenomenon? To put it simply, the greed of the mainstream music industry. Artists are manipulated into producing music that follows a uniform sound and are ultimately motivated by monetary success over creativity and meaningful connection with fans. It is more important for these artists to maintain their public perception over anything else, which puts a damper on their artistic expression. While the measure of authenticity varies from genre to genre, and does not necessarily correlate with how “good” music is, it is an important factor in appreciating and critiquing music, evident with artists that defy the norm.

Pop stars who are associated with major labels are not valued for originality and creativity but simply for their presence on the internet and in public and how easy their music is to be consumed.

In a way, these artists are more like celebrities because of their shallow pursuit of fame and fortune. They hide behind the mask of notoriety, autotune, and publicists who plan their every move.

This phenomenon is exhibited through virtually any mainstream pop artist, as most of them have no say in the production of their music, and they are forced to conform to trends due to the presence of wealthy music labels and their managers.

On the other hand, an artist that defies trends and mainstream media can be valued for their raw and creative music production and unique sound. Taking inspiration from art forms of the past, a genuine music artist understands the importance of creative expression and defies the norms that are enforced upon the music industry. These artists don’t necessarily create better music, but they possess passion and value freedom of expression over conformity.

In the words of Dave Grohl, whose authenticity, passion, dedication, and raw talent brought him success in his alternative rock bands Nirvana and Foo Fighters, “Because you have things like ‘American Idol’ and you’ve got radio stations that play music made entirely by computers, it’s easy to forget there are bands with actual people playing actual instruments that rock”. Grohl is referencing the shallow artifice of the world of music today, and how many artists that defy the popular sound are under-appreciated and ignored. Whether the artists that Grohl references “make it big” or not, their passionate purpose is what defines their artistry. This isolates them from the mainstream music industry, which is incentivized by greed to produce music that is guaranteed to reach the top charts and make the most money. After all, who cares if a song has genuine meaning? As long as it is played on the radio constantly, it is valuable!

     While generic lyrics and auto-generated instrumentals are valuable to some, others find appreciation for a world of music outside of what is mainstream today. After all, music should be created for its artistic and emotional contents, not for monetary gain and quick fame. Unfortunately, the demanding industry desires nothing of the sort as popularity, conformity, and artifice define modern music.