Everybody’s in their own silo.
Only in this case, hip-hop is the coasts, the “New York Times” and the “Washington Post.”
And everything else is Fox News.
That’s right, hip-hop won. The only people who don’t know are oldsters, who are irrelevant. In this case it’s the opposite of politics, as in the old people are inconsequential and the young ones count. It does not matter what baby boomers say about music whatsoever. Peter Tork just died, and Frampton just announced his retirement from the road. Sure, oldsters will line up to overpay to see their classic rock heroes, hopefully before they die, but they’re not subscribing to streaming services, they’re not going to clubs and they’re certainly not haunting Soundcloud to see what’s developing.
But, the insiders are out of the loop. Just like Trump upset the apple cart in politics, the same thing is gonna happen in music. Because despite its domination, a great swath of the public does not like hip-hop, does not pay attention, does not care at all, even active music consumers.
But they are ignored by the music business.
Radio plays records that are already old. Streaming services do a subpar job of breaking records. So many have tuned out completely, because they just cannot fathom the present world.
But many like genres other than hip-hop.
And major labels and the media refuse to acknowledge this.
Think about it, the internet has turned the world into the Tower of Babel. Yet in music, we’ve still got one chart of hits that we see as tablets from the mount. Does that make sense?
Look at it another way, does Netflix just make sci-fi? No, they make superhero shows and distribute English dramas and make comedy specials, they’re doing their best to appeal to everybody, although not caring if you’re buried in your own little niche.
But in music, we’re just appealing to the hip-hop and pop crowd.
Kinda like that inane story in “Billboard” about Ariana Grande breaking the Beatles’ chart record. That’s like saying a kid hit 60+ homers in Little League and broke the Babe’s home run record. It’s two different worlds! You couldn’t avoid the Beatles, everybody knew them and their music, oldsters and youngsters. But I’ll posit at least fifty percent of America has not heard Ariana Grande’s new album, if not more. Howard Stern did not know who Childish Gambino was and his show is centered on pop culture!
So what happened in politics?
Blowback. The underserved, when given a chance, got rid of the status quo. And rather than understanding their motivation, the coastal people just told them they were wrong, had contempt for them. Proving, if nothing else, that there is no agreement.
Our nation has broken apart. Our world has broken apart. Elections have proven this in politics. As for the internet, you can tweet, but there’s a good chance no one will read it. Medium failed. We’re positively lowest common denominator, i.e. Instagram, it comes down to showing a picture of yourself and trying to gain followers. Meanwhile, it’s all fake, because no one posts a bad pic. Music, when done right, reveals warts and all. But today, everything is streamlined, no one shows vulnerability, everybody’s FABULOUS!
But we know that is not true.
Hell, most genres are not played on terrestrial radio. And a huge slice of the public never tunes in to the over the air band, despite the disinformation campaign of stations. Ain’t that America, we deny problems until we collapse.
Hell, we had a more equal distribution of musical styles in the sixties and seventies than we do today! Just look at an old chart, Sly coexisted with the Beatles who coexisted with Petula Clark and I could go on, but you get the point. But now, when every genre can surface online, we’re narrowcasting and thinking everybody’s interested, BUT THEY’RE NOT!
Meanwhile, there’s not enough money in the music business to appeal to the young intelligentsia, so the landscape is still run like the gangster operation it always has been. Just ask an act if it trusts its label…
So, the music industry could prepare for the coming tsunami, but it won’t.
Yes, now is when major labels should be developing acts. They think if anything gains traction they’ll be able to hoover it up. But that’s so last century. To prepare for the future you invest, you broaden your portfolio. Kinda like Apple, the iPhone is their cash cow, but they’re constantly creating new products to prepare for the day, which may have already arrived, when iPhone revenue craters.
But not the music industry.
Nobody owns anything and everybody’s looking for their bonus.
So be prepared for the audience to turn over the table.
It’s gonna happen.