Originally Posted by Dean Roddey
It's not the place of the music or the movie industry to preach to people and tell them what to think.
This, which you have repeated, is EXACTLY my f**king problem - not with you, my anger isn't directed at you, or your well stated opinion - but with this idea, promulgated again and again in our media. This rant isn't directed at you, or anyone in particular, at all, I want to make that clear, but at a rhetorical "you" of those who put profit uber alles in our current society.
IT IS EXACTLY the job of ART to challenge, bludgeon, and force forward the human race. The job of the artist - and by extension the job of those who are in the art business - is to examine the human condition, and then express something that reframes our perceptions on it. Otherwise, you are merely entertaining with aesthetics.
This crossroads of art vs entertainment is another argument entirely, but the notion that capitalism has within it these mechanisms is just f**king bullsh*t, and exactly the reason why our economy has melted down in the first place. "The market" is made up of people - greedy, selfish, complicated, idealistic, fickle, noble and idiotic people. No amount of "market forces" is EVER going to account for that.
Treating everything in this overly simplistic "let the market fix it" worldview is completely mad, as unrealistic and as helpful as "let God sort it out".
CBS, Baldwin, Rose Moriss, Thomas Organ, et al discovered nearly half a century ago what the cost is of treating certain products to the ole "corporate engineering". Same with the American auto industry. ANY company that compromises product for profit sells it's long term soul to the quick buck Devil. And that's what the current music industry does.
Along with the aforementioned Clear Channel phenomenon, you had another thing come along in the late 90's that ALSO changed the musical landscape - Boy Bands. Most specifically, Lou Pearlman's Boy Bands. And now, almost 13 years after that, you have an entire generation of people raised on the post-grunge pop explosion of Backstreet Boys, Britney, Xtina, N Sync. This profit model - bolstered by shows like American Idol - was leaped upon by record labels in a frenzy that made the Great Seattle Musical Rush of the early 90's look like nothing. And this party-time-pop profit model has taken over from hardcore Gangsta Rap - once touted at the "CNN of the ghetto" and morphed it's cartoon bad boy image into the "let's all get nekkid and fuk" anthems of Lil Jon, Ludacris, Nelly, and a wash of anonymous female singers trying to be as illiterate as Mariah Carey.
"Ironic" looks like freakin Shakespeare next to "Umbrella" or "Poker Face".
In the post-grunge era, yeah, people were tired of everything being all serious and emotional. But now the market has taken that backlash and - like the housing bubble - exploited it and sustained it far beyond it's natural swing in order to milk every drop of cash from people they are desperately trying to keep within a specific consumer mindset. It's a lot easier to sell the party than the reality.
Instead of using the web and small market economies to maximize profits from many smaller acts, they force large acts into a given profit mold regardless of anything but maximizing short term gains. Instead of bringing costs down to produce many smaller records, each perhaps with a small but rabid fanbase, they mass market fluff, and then wonder why the consumers have no real attachment to the act. Well, heck, Mister Record Exec, if YOU don't believe in the artistic merits of the act, why should your consumers?
Art, unlike dish washing soap, is a critical element of our very existence. There's a reason why we developed paint before the light bulb. To say that it doesn't matter is to ignore the very fabric of history. Indeed, that very fabric is woven of hymns written to express the greatest longings of Man's desires towards Gods and Heroes, of stories and myths to uplift us to our highest aspirations, to illustrate the cautions of our darkest fears. Paintings have brought down Popes, songs have brought down governments, books have felled Kings.
But in this day when all humanity crumbles around us into one big over-marketed mess, please, by all means tell me that ART HAS NOTHING TO SAY YOU WANT TO HEAR. That art's job is to uphold this sickening and frightful status quo. Leave it to the priests of the Almighty Dollar to tell us that the one thing we need most - real, honest art - "is not the job of the industry".
Not everything is sustained by profit. In some things you have to BELIEVE. Mark my words, there's another Nirvana coming, and the major labels are NOT going to be ready for it.