Who Owns The Future Of Music?

“I have no wish to get caught up in heated debates about the state of modern music.”

Unsurprisingly, complaints from older generations directed at younger ones is certainly nothing new and usually it’s harmless banter. However, it’s a different dynamic when people (of any age) rail against a particular genre of music. Then we get into the darker, unwelcome territory of prejudice.

Anyone with a passion for making music deserves respect. Whatever means they choose to make a mark. As listeners our ears will favour a particular arrangement, frequency and volume, depending on our cultural needs or personal enjoyment. We might like to dance, meditate or feel excited.

There is an audience for everyone

In recent years I’ve thought more deeply about the history of popular music. I’ve read many great books by both historians and music stars. In the days before recorded music, people entertained themselves. Playing an instrument or singing was common, irrespective of whether it was technically proficient.

Records changed all that, you became a fan. You could be an audiophile if you wished. Though in my experience, buying records was definitely a luxury pursuit. Radio became the real driving force behind the success of pop music.

Music making is now democratic

Getting into the music business itself was much harder when I started. Throughout my lifetime, musical equipment has been fairly affordable. It was easy to arrange a gig at a local pub or recruit new band members via ads in magazines or a music store. However, recording our music was the biggest barrier we faced.

I had to give up my dream of making it in music because there was never any sign of making the kind of money that paid rent. Of course some things don’t change. Music making has become more democratic but it’s also become less equal. There are signs that things are changing, with Bandcamp’s better deal for artists.

Singing around the piano again

Popular music’s long history has now come full circle. More people than ever are making music. For exactly the same reasons people sang around a piano 100+ years ago, for entertainment or self improvement. I too feel empowered to be creative with music, more than ever. The results are irrelevant. But of course I want to improve and move listeners if I can. That is what all musicians strive for, making a mark.

A silent world of pictures

I am also inspired by my late Dad whose passion was painting. He spent most of his life working for the UK Postal Service. The rest of his time was usually spent with oils, watercolour or sketching. He would thrive in the highly visual world of social media. We all (literally) “like” pictures.