Changing Music Industry Struggles to Survive

Haley Macray, Veritas Staff

Recently, popular recording artist Beyoncé released her critically acclaimed self-titled album. It’s no shock that this album did phenomenal in sales on the day of its release but what is shocking is how it was released.
Beyoncé chose to surprise her fans by dropping her brand new 5th album digitally on iTunes without any previous announcement or advertisement. The CD, which includes coinciding music videos for each song, was available only on iTunes until days after its release when it began to be sold in stores.

After hearing about the surprising release of Beyoncé, I started to question the new music industry’s impact on our generation and ones to follow. So much of the music that is a part of our lives is downloaded off the internet and that seems to be making an impact. But are these recent changes providing a positive impact or a negative one?
One of the negative aspects of the music industry transformations is that most artists but not all seem to be in it for the money and the money only.

“The music industry in recent years has stopped caring about actually producing good music that is insightful and tasteful, but more about what will make more money,” says senior Chris Catania.
The new internet based music industry is not completely filled with all positive factors or all negative factors. It seems to have a mix of each.
“With YouTube you can stream anything for free at anytime to hear any song; that’s absolutely a positive,” says Pop Culture teacher Mr. Brian Smith. “It’s a negative in that you don’t have to buy an album anymore. I feel as if most artists are rarely going to produce a full album that has some continuity to it.”

While some people like aspects of such an internet dominated industry others feel that all that pop music is concerned about is the next single and what will draw the most attention and publicity for that artist.
“If you look at the style of individual who comes into music today the scary things that they do to get attention from the media will impact people,” says Mr. Rich MacAllister.

He continued, “The harm that they put themselves in to act as a shock factor to get more and more ratings unfortunately does work. I think [it] is a little bit unnerving to see what type of an impact that will have on the youth in the future.”

It seems that some artists are pushing the limit and creating these shock factors to get tweeted about or blogged about. Shock factors and catchy beats might even be covering up themes and lyrics about horrible things.
For instance, Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” was a huge hit. His raunchy performance of this catchy song with Miley Cyrus at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards stirred up plenty of controversy.
Proving that any publicity is good publicity, the song continued to top the charts even though some people and critics find the song to be demeaning to women and accuse it of having an underlying theme of rape. It seems as though the VMA performance and other factors seemed to cover up these claims.
“The music industry will most likely ruin lives of young girls by idolizing people who promote mistreating women in their songs, but people overlook that because it’s catchy, and ‘fun to listen to’,” says Catania.

“I feel that the more we promote bad music, the more we promote the harming of the youth. If we let our kids grow up listening to music that tells them to demean women, how do we know that they won’t?”
Catania certainly has a point. If the music industry and all of the people that are a part of it are just focused on internet promotions and how much a new single can be tweeted about, that could drastically affect the way people look at music, how they perceive the world around them, who they are as a person, and also how they interact with other people.

“Growing up and getting to high school listening to things that weren’t on the radio really shaped me in the end to be different and not just blend in with the crowd,” says Catania.
Whether Beyoncé released her album exclusively on iTunes to be unique and surprise her fans or just to make a powerful attention grabbing publicity stunt it is safe to say that her shocking release made a statement.
Music has a huge impact on people’s lives so hopefully artists recognize the importance of a positive message and not just selling records.

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