Maybe It’s Just Better?

I just ran into this article:

And it begins with;

Old songs now represent 70 percent of the U.S. music market, according to the latest numbers from MRC Data, a music-analytics firm. Those who make a living from new music—especially that endangered species known as the working musician—should look at these figures with fear and trembling. But the news gets worse: The new-music market is actually shrinking. All the growth in the market is coming from old songs.

Could it be…err…that the old songs…err…are better?

Or, at least, are more interesting?

In fairness, it’s more complicated than that, as Ted Gioia’s well-worth-the-read article discusses, but I think it’s a big factor. There is lots of great music out there, but the top of the charts today don’t compare to those of the 60s, 70s, or 80s.

I suspect the second major factor aligns with this:

As record labels lose interest in new music, emerging performers desperately search for other ways to get exposure. They hope to place their self-produced tracks on a curated streaming playlist, or license their songs for use in advertising or the closing credits of a TV show. Those options might generate some royalty income, but they do little to build name recognition. You might hear a cool song on a TV commercial, but do you even know the name of the artist? You love your workout playlist at the health club, but how many song titles and band names do you remember? You stream a Spotify new-music playlist in the background while you work, but did you bother to learn who’s singing the songs?

It is too easy to listen to too much music. When I was growing up, which was before the FCC ruined radio by allowing even small markets to be saturated, you didn’t have a zillion songs available at your fingertips.

You listened to the local station(s), spent hours replaying your limited set of albums (becoming one with the liner notes), and listened with your friends.

I love Spotify, but with most of what I imbibe from its awesome curated lists, I have no clue who the artist is, let alone the song and album names. Hardly ever do I take the time to figure out who that great tune is by.

Maybe modern music is getting killed by too much choice. Give me a menu with too many items, and maybe I settle on a familiar favorite.

Please check out the article and let me know what you think.

P.S. And check out this video about Gioia’s piece by Rick Beato:

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