Problems with Contemporary Trends in Rock Music
There are a vast number of problems with the way the majority of music is going today. Part of it is due to the record labels, the other part is due to our inherent nature (or should I say most of us) to want to be famous and well known. Obviously record labels still hold a great deal of power in the industry or you wouldn’t have subpar bands like Nickelback selling albums and you certainly wouldn’t have local bands clamouring and fighting over coveted record deals.
A few of you may suggest that bands have more power and control over their music and the direction they want to go due to successful avenues of media such as YouTube, MySpace, and Purevolume. But do they really? Sure by using the DIY method they are sure to gain more dollar per CD sold and more profit per tour done, but this quickly tires a band out. Its hard enough making music that stands out I’m sure, let alone handling marketing, promotion, booking, and all the little business details that essentially come with running a band (aka a business).
Most bands that are serious about music are using MySpace and such sites as merely a vehicle to get to the higher level of fame, money, and of course giant fanbase. Its like a stepping stone to get to the major labels. Sure nowadays any band can be heard but that creates just more competition for bands pushing in line to get signed. Just today I witnessed a band getting a major record deal because of their following; suddenly their songs are no longer available for download and suddenly their myspace is flooded with people requesting favors and the like.
Whose to blame for this warped system where bands have all the freedom they could ever want, yet still view rockstar success in terms of inking a major label deal? One can’t blame the bands for trading years of DIY and blood and sweat and hard work for professional studios, tour busses, sponsorships, and potential worldwide fame. Some call these bands ‘made’ others call them ‘sellouts’ and most say ‘successful’. But again it comes back to the idea that bands are compromising their sound and message in order to get picked up by a major label.
In closing I believe that major labels are really the problem behind watered down, pop-inspired rock music. Bands want fame, they crave fame , and hey they deserve it if they work for it but they are being forced to tailor their music to match the label’s demands and needs and that just isn’t right. Its not to say there aren’t some large labels working hard to promote new and unique music, but when you have a label looking for money they fronted you; you need to do whatever it takes to get albums sold and get that money.