2000-2010 – The Decade That Music Perished

The Billboard charts have seen a steady rise in the number of top ten songs over the past ten year. Songs that are popular on radio stations by the masses are recurrently in rotation to delight us. These songs are popular and appeal to a specific audience, which often allows those in the music business to profit from the chance to attract new fans to the most popular music genres. Some of the music today is no longer as popular, and true music fans often turn to their childhood CDs to find the music they love.

What is “good music?” According to music industry executives, good music is any music that is able to capture an audience’s attention. For listeners aged between 20 and 30 years, “good music” means music that is worth listening to for many years.

If the music industry has only released “good music” in the last ten years, why then is it that listeners in their thirties, forties, and thirties don’t find it worthwhile to listen?

A representative from Atlanta’s LS Muzik Group said that “most of today’s music has a certain appeal that reflects that trend.” If snap music and crunk music were the prevailing sound at the time, that will be the trend. Rarely would you find “good music” from the likes R. Kelly, Usher Mary J Blige or Anthony Hamilton. This excludes good folk, country, gospel and blues music, as well as alternative rock music by some great artists. There aren’t many artists that have the potential to last beyond these few. These artists are sold to the public to sell records. It is doubtful that half of these artists will still be around to sell out arenas within the next ten year.

The company aims to bridge the gap between listeners in their twenties and thirties by releasing music with meaning that has good quality. It is a Motown-style approach, signing talented artists and releasing songs.

LS Muzik Group has the intention to bring back quality music, but there is still a certain audience that the company might struggle to reach. This is mainly because music has captured their attention over the past ten year with a unique sound, a sound that has captivated the group with what LS Muzik Group considers over-synthesized sounds. The company’s plans for winning over this demographic are not clear, since they only know what the music industry has given them.

Because of this, there is a gap in the music industry. This is because true music fans aren’t as interested in listening to synthesized sounds with little or no substance. Over the past ten year, this has hampered record sales.

The music industry has made clever marketing efforts to attract true music lovers. However, this effort has not been enough to influence their decision to listen to music today. Most of the music today doesn’t go platinum or gold despite the marketing strategies. This is due to the Internet and because true music fans in their thirties and thirties who love good music aren’t buying what’s most popular. If Chris Brown or Trey Songz are the most popular, how can they survive in an industry where their success or failure is determined by their marketing?

“Record companies are becoming more sophisticated in how they market and release artists. It’s not the same idea for Chris Brown and Trey Songz to be released on the same Tuesday that Robin Thicke or K Jon. One industry executive says that Trey Songz and Chris Brown may not have the highest record sales in the first week, so marketing Trey Songz against K Jon would hinder their goal to go gold or platinum.

This is a common scenario in today’s music industry. Album release dates are often rescheduled due to industry executives being more aware of the competition. Sometimes, the competition is seen as a rivalry between the two. This was evident with Kanye West’s and 50 Cent’s 2007 releases. This type of rivalry can be used to cleverly market records, which will often drive record sales skyrocketing within the first week. Artists are even able to go platinum. But at what price to record companies? Record companies can spend millions to promote an artist, but they will lose the love of some true music fans. It is a gamble to win the few loyal fans they believe will follow them. Hoping that the artists do their best to keep [the fans] loyal,

Artists are finding it difficult to produce good music that will keep true music fans glued, despite record sales being a disaster. The Motown Sound, Disco and P-Funk eras are long gone. This practice of “sampling”, which is a way for artists to get their music out there, has made music so boring that it’s hard to find anything that appeals to true music fans. To win their attention, they will need to listen to music by great artists such as Teddy Pendergrass and The O’Jays.

How can music be given a new lease of life and attract the attention of music lovers? According to LS Muzik Group “bring back live music and artists who are passionate about love, family values and life.” It could be true considering that the majority of radio music is all about sex. “Where are the family values we hear in the songs that we hear today? They aren’t there. Today’s parents don’t want their kids listening to radio. It’s all about sex. Songs like “Invented Sex” by Trey Songz and “Number One” by R. Kelly have saturated commercial radio, leaving a bad taste among true music listeners.

R. Kelly, an artist with a loyal fan base of true music listeners, is known for releasing songs such as “Number One”, which is often well received. This is because an artist his caliber can release almost anything and go Platinum.

R. Kelly’s music has enabled him to survive in an uncreative industry. He manages to keep in touch with his fans while adapting his talents to fit both older and younger audiences. Can the same thing be said for an artist like Trey Songz? “Trey Songz is a talented musician. However, his fan base is completely different than that of Robin Thicke or R. Kelly. This is not only due to the way he is marketed but also because he appeals primarily to an audience that doesn’t know good music. Consider what he sings. Remember that we are talking about a group who may not have grown up listening to the “good music” of the 70’s, 80’s, or 90’s.

Trey Songz has been able to maintain a fan base that is entirely based on his skills as a singer/songwriter and producer. This allows him to create music that his record company considers worthy of being released to his fans. The music industry caters to this audience of younger listeners without second thoughts. This is why? This is because the majority of Billboard’s top ten songs are created by artists under 25 years old, who create music for their age group. Teenagers and young adults have been able to use their income from part-time jobs, holiday and birthday money to buy music. This allows them to inject a little life into the industry and keep it alive. What happens when this age group becomes more mature and older? Is it possible that they will even be interested in listening to Trey Songz and Chris Brown ten-years from now?

Trey Songz is a great example of how marketing and talent can work together to make them a success. This is due to the current industry trend. Record companies can capitalize on their talent now and maybe tomorrow depending on the terms. In the days before Motown, “good music” was enough to make an artist a success. Berry Gordy was a pioneer in the development and release of artists who could produce “good music” that is worth listening to for many years. The artist development process was a crucial element of the music industry until 2000 when record labels began to invest in artist longevity.

But if music has become a hot topic for the past ten year, then LS Muzik Group is looking to reverse the industry’s trend and bring back great music with great lyrics.

It is possible that “good music,” with a motivated team of professionals and talented musicians and singers such as Jackie Watson, can make a significant comeback in commercial radio.

What would be the down side to all this? There would be a major drawback to discovering more musicians like Jackie Watson and Mr. Tao Jones who are passionate about writing and singing “good music”. Another problem is reaching the twenty-five year olds who have been captivated by what’s been on the radio over the past ten. This group of listeners grew up listening to music that was either synthesized or sampled. They don’t know where the music they listen to came from.

To this day, music from the 70’s and 80’s as well as the 90’s are considered obsolete by younger audiences. This has left room for a new hip sound that is all synthetically made like fast food. What was once outdated is now fresh again.

Take Monica’s “Everything”, a melody-based rendition of Denise Williams’ “Silly”. This classic example shows an artist who is passionate about love, family values, has great talent, and understands the importance of “good music”. Monica, like any other artist her age from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, has to face difficult decisions.

An artist who was once in high demand would need to adapt their skills to the current music industry trends in order to survive. It doesn’t mean they should change the music they have been making for years. Instead, keep doing what they love while adding a hipster sound to appeal to both generations.

Artists are not always able to adapt and appeal to a younger audience. Monica is one of the many artists who are discovering that the industry has changed significantly over the years. The new sound has made it more difficult for them to adapt and make a comeback. Sometimes, an old-school artist can come back and be platinum. Take Charlie Wilson, former member of the famed G.A.P Band or George Clinton architect of the band Parliament-Funkadelic, these artists have set a perfect example on how to readjust their talent in rap music to accommodate the trend of the industry to reach the younger audiences. This is how Charlie Wilson and George Clinton were successful in reuniting with rap artists such as Snoop Dogg or Ice Cube.

 

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