Proper music vs the music industry

I’ve never understood why a lot, and I mean seriously an awful lot of people, only listen to chart and/or pop music. There’s an attitude of “I haven’t heard of them, they must be rubbish”.  The problem with such a narrow viewpoint is that it is a circular argument.  They will never will hear anything new unless it pops up in the charts or on mainstream radio.  So usually anything beyond their extremely limited outlook is dismissed before its even been listened to.

It’s because I’m a musician and song writer that I don’t have this attitude. I love music and will listen to pretty much anything.    I appreciate when someone has taken the time and effort to produce a song and if it sounds a bit unpolished then it’s usually all the better for it.  Granted, I may not always like what is produced but to me it’s like the difference between home made food and a processed ready meal.

Music industry.  Now that’s an oxymoron if ever I heard one.  But that’s who I blame.

You see music should be personal, you need to give at least a bit of yourself to creating or playing it.  Whether expressing your thoughts or mood or maybe even using lyrics as a way of vocalising something you find hard to talk about, like a child who talks through a puppet.

So when there is an ‘industry’ churning out the same regurgitated sounds, looks and songs I am not compelled to buy into it.  To me it is mostly bland and pointless, only a way for them to make them money.

I’ve recently read a book by J M R Higgs called KLF – Chaos, Magic, Music, Money.  I would highly recommend it, although it’s not a biography of the KLF as such, more about what influenced them and drove them.  It certainly covers a lot of seemingly unrelated topics yet somehow links them together. I don’t want to spoil it too much but it is very interesting read, even if parts are hard to get your head around.  Since reading it, I am starting to see more and more why The KLF had the attitude that popular culture was thrust upon them, they didn’t want it so they should be able to do what they want with it.  Which is why they sampled huge chunks of songs and promptly ended up in trouble for copyright infringement.

It’s also got me thinking about the expression ‘selling your soul to the devil’. It has always been associated with the music industry and dates back to the days of Robert Johnson before the term ‘music industry’ was even thought of.  To me this really means that you can become very popular and wealthy in the ‘music industry’ but the price you pay is that you lose touch with the spiritual side of music, i.e. having little or no input into the writing or production process and being styled and told how to act however they see fit.

And maybe that’s the crux of the issue.  I’m often in trouble for saying I only like proper music but have never been able to define the term in any meaningful way.  I would suggest that to me ‘proper music’ has that personal element and some intelligence to it and is not mass produced using a tried and tested formula and/or computer programs with little human input.

Having said all that, there’s one point that can’t be denied.  The most annoying thing of all.  Sometimes you have to buy a ready meal because it is really appealing at that point in time, even though you know you should have something home made instead.