In today’s column I deliberately made only a vague reference to the fact that the quality of music, or lack of it, might have some small impact on music sales around the world. While music execs have glibly blamed the migration to digital to cover their own ineptness, at some point it bears noting that there is a lot of good music out there being ignored by the publishers. Funny, the same thing happened to the movie industry and the book publishing industry is going down the same path now as well.
Whatever style of music you like to annoy your neighbors with, the industry’s real problem is that it has focused on trying to find only mega-hits for too long. That is why the music charts are full of the same things over and over and over.
If you cruise the internet music sites you will find hundreds of unpublished musicians and bands doing some really superb work these days, but they never seem to get picked up. While boomers tend to lament the end of the early ’70’s creative period, there is just as much good stuff around today. You just can’t find it.
As I aim the column more and more at the 50+ age group, you will probably hear a lot more about things like this. To me, the biggest problem with getting older is seeing how almost everything has been cheapened or is deteriorating in quality. Some days I envy younger people who don’t know any better. To them, eating off paper plates with plastic forks standing in a mall may seem perfectly normal, but many of us miss traditional meals, eaten on a clean table with dishes and silverware, in the company of friends or family.
It’s the same with the arts. Parading around in a skimpy swimsuit with flashing lights does not overcome the fact that the thumpety-thump pop music came out of a computer program. It’s not entertaining and it has no substance. I’m sure plenty of youngsters will disagree, that’s their prerogative. Our culture has lowered the bar in all areas and there is apparently no changing that.
In coming weeks please watch for more and more articles specific to life after age 50. I will make an announcement of the change in the column and you’ll see a new column “logo.” It used to be “For Boomers Only,” but that word “boomers” still gives me an itch so I’m trying hard to avoid it, at least in titles and graphics. This will not be all doom and gloom, far from it. Life is short, and getting shorter, and it’s time to have a little more fun than we’ve had over the past 30-40 years. Still, there are serious topics to tackle and information to pass on about life in the new millennium.
The next time a young person brags to you about digital music and downloads, you can smile and just reply that we had streaming music long before they were even born. Just don’t tell them it was called the radio.