I’ve been following music for a long time. In high school and college, I thought it was easy to keep up with the scene. As I grew older, I began to struggle with finding and listening to new music, but figured that it was easier when I was younger because I had all that free time on my hands. Well, maybe. But I read a recent article by Neil Shah in that great music publication, the Wall Street Journal, that got me thinking very differently.
It turns out that the amount of music being produced globally has skyrocketed. There is, believe it or not, an overabundance of music these days. When I was in college in the 80s, the number of global music releases numbered around 100,000. In 2016, there were 250,000 physical albums, singles and other music released. And for albums alone, check out these numbers: nearly 150,000 albums came out in 2017, but in 2000 that number was only 36,000. According to Shah’s article, the amount of music released in 2017 is roughly 7 times the amount released in 1960. Holy crap!
I guess that helps to explain why a lot of us are drowning. I like finding new bands, but damn, who can keep up with this output and still lead a normal life? OK, point taken that I could never lead a normal life because I’m just not normal, but you get the drift. It’s both good and bad.
Part of the issue is the relative ease in which a person can produce and release music – an instrument, a computer and a solid piece of software is about all you need, and then you just upload it and hope that you become Justin Bieber. And part of it is that music streaming has led artists to push out more and more music so that they can tour behind it and make a living. Some band named King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard released FIVE albums last year. And streaming makes it virtually unnecessary to own music in the traditional sense, and therefore record labels don’t have to manufacture, package and distribute physical product, making it much cheaper for them to push out new product.
Of course, much of this product is crap. But that was also true back in the day, as Barry Manilow haters will attest. One byproduct of all this music is the need for the mega-stars to always be in the spotlight, and for labels to push out reissues to capture the tried and true markets. That means that we are overindulged in other ways: the constant onslaught of the “big” money bands, and the competition for our attention from bands that haven’t put out a new album in decades. New bands are having a hard time breaking through the noise to reach us. But there are still some great old bands out there that do deserve our attention, like the Ramones and AC/DC (who also purvey wine?).
I’ll keep trying to get you tuned in to bands that I think are worthwhile (both big-time and up-and-comers) as well as directing you away from bands that should get lost in the shuffle. If you find someone worth listening to, let us all in on the news, but do it with a thick skin. We’ll either agree with your astute observation or toss your suggestion onto the large musical rubbish heap that we all have.
Hey rockers, I saw a great documentary on an illustrator named Christoph Neimann. Here’s a link to his website:
He’s done over 20 covers for the New Yorker and his illustrations and graphics are all around us. This guy is just remarkably creative, and what he comes up with is really interesting, thought-provoking, and fun. Just check out his website if you don't believe me. The documentary is Episode 1 of the Netflix series entitled Abstract: The Art of Design. It’s worth the time.
Oh, and speaking of Netflix, be sure to watch Wild Wild Country about guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (also called Osho) and how he and his followers descended upon the tiny town of Antelope, Oregon to set up a new community called Rajneeshpurum. It’s all happy commune b.s. for a while, but ultimately turns into attempted murder, poisonings, massive amounts of money and Rolls Royces, and AK-47s. Osho is one of those guys who use the cultist technique of hypnotic induction to seduce young and wealthy westerners who find him profound. It’s a six-part series, but will keep you interested throughout.
Do you like the pictures I sprinkled throughout? They’re all royalty and copyright free from pixabay.com/ It’s a fun site to waste some time on while you’re at the office pretending to work.
I’m off to see some great live music this weekend in the City of Brotherly Love. I hope you do something fun, and if our paths cross, give me a shout. Thanks for reading, and check back soon.
My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.