It really is shocking how fast the music industry of today evolves, especially when compared to the one the world knew, oh say, 50 years ago. Sometimes I become lost within my own mind, pondering the issue of whether it really is an artist himself that shapes the kind of impression he leaves on the world, or if it actually has more to do with the industry surrounding him. Let me explain:
The Beatles are known to a rather large portion of people as one of, if not the greatest band in history, and this is likely due, in large part, to the near legendary status the band has achieved through the extended amount of time they’ve spent in the limelight, the worldwide, simultaneous acceptance of their music, and to the stories that have thusly been passed down through several generations (although as of this month, the stories will very likely cease to be passed on, and will hereby be replaced by “Rock Band,” and quite naturally, an entire generation of children shouting, “Hey wait! How did those guys know Rock Band songs before the game was even invented?”). But let us, for the sake of this point, pretend that the Beatles had started their revolutionary work in 2009, rather than in the 60’s. If their music had been able to spread across the world in a matter of only a couple minutes, rather than several years, would they have made such a substantial impact? Or would would the constant music stimulation from blogs and instant media sources allow them to fall out of the mainstream just as easily as they came into it?
Either way, there’s no denying the fact that today’s music industry moves very fast. I recall a time only a few years back when dj’s who chose to drop an electro track at a party would quickly find themselves either spinning for an empty house, or would be continuously bombarded by the infamous, “Can you play something I can dance to?” request. And yet here we are today, listening to MSTRKRFT‘s Heartbreaker on mainstream radio and watching Will.I.Am morph into Zuper Blahq. That means that it took only three years for electro to go from completely unheard of to full on mainstream, and I’m convinced that this is, whether or not we want to accept it, the way of the future.
So what, you might ask, got me thinking about all this hypothetical junk? Strangely enough, it wasn’t the Beatles, and it wasn’t electro; It was dubstep. In thinking about this emerging genre, it is impossible to ignore the plethora of ties that it has to the electro world (and no, not it terms of sound, but rather of progression). Electro started out completely underground, and then gathered attention by including hip hop verses and associating itself with the mainstream hiphop world, and in an astonishing parallel, dubstep started out as a peculiar British phenomenon that struggled to fill even the smallest of venues, and has since gathered considerably more attention by associating itself with the electro world.
So what does this mean? Has today’s music industry really changed the way music itself evolves? It it still possible for a single artist to remain at the forefront of the industry for more than a couple years? How far will dubstep go? Will it follow the same evolutionary path that electro did?
Here are a couple of pieces to get your mind thinking electro/dubstep hybrid. And naturally, should they provoke any interesting ideas, feel free to share.