The McDonaldization of Music

I hate what consumer culture has done to the music industry and music production in general. The Black Eyed Peas, Britney Spears, Lady GaGa, LMFAO, Tiesto, Justin Bieber, Ke$ha, Taio Cruz are but only a few manifestations of what has gone wrong with the music the younger generation listens to today. Their generic sound and approach at creating music is all too familiar to the ears of our cultures and it absolutely needs to stop. The mainstream music industry has become more of an advertisement technique and a trendsetter than a legitimate output for expression. All too often, I even meet people who think that the “Top 40” chart is itself a genre!

I think taste in music among teenagers has become so generic and alike mainly because of two reasons: we are bombarded with advertisements of these artists and because it is easier to fit in and relate to other people who all listen to the same kind of music. It is somewhat contradictory that teenagers try to flaunt their individuality while at the same time generally listen to the same big label artists that all sound alike. It is a shame that they don’t find their true potential of music appreciation through the broad range of music diversity of more “authentic” independent music that exists hidden underneath all this rubbish.

The main difference between mainstream music and more artistic and authentic music I think is that the latter usually have more musical training and “talent”, and depend on being innovative and creative. Everyone is different and experiences life differently. These music producers try to express their own perspective of the world (or aspects of it) that reflects their individuality and unique state of self and emotion. On the other hand, mainstream music tends to be very catchy and easy to listen to, but also musically limited and lyrically and emotionally superficial. It is easy to see why the masses can appreciate songs about partying, relationships, heartache and so on. The problem is that these artists always take on such broad subjects, oversimplify and generalize them so that thousands and even millions of people can listen to their songs and easily say without hesitation “OMG! This is my song”.

Maybe, someday, the general public will come to appreciate music about the complexities of life, or the intensity of love, or the abstractness of our thoughts and dreams, instead of me singing about how “I throw my hands up in the air sometimes, saying ayyyyo!” We can only hope… —Laurent

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