Music is in a much needed transition. In a time when everyone copies what the other does, and rather follow a trend other than being earth-shattering or avant-garde, the path where music is headed to is not convenient.

Music has turned from being an enjoyable affair and an artistic expression, to a money maker machine. And it is acceptable to a certain extent because artists, producers and songwriters cannot live off people’s enjoyment off their work, but question is, how much is too much?

The music industry plays it way too safe; it is always concerned of what sells and what does not sell. It is their business and their job to ensure they deliver quality craft out there so people welcome it, so they can consequently earn. But after bringing the same over and over to remain ‘stable in sales’, people will eventually become sick of being treated with the same ‘product’. They can remain stable by trying new things and renovating what they have offered before instead of repeating themselves, duplicating and recycling music they have already released, slightly altered with a different loom.

What happened to experimentation, being edgy, innovative and different? Artists on these days even rather rip themselves off in their past works, or what made them successful to stay relevant other than transcending or advancing as singers or performers. They generally seem too scared of taking risks so they rather draw a line between what reassures they will sell and impact the market and what does not; smart move, but in time, it will become tedious.

Take Shakira for example, after her electro-pop trialing She Wolf bombed in the charts, she decided to start work on a new album almost immediately after promotion for the ill fated She Wolf finished. Concerning the new record on the way, Shakira has stated she will go back to her Laundry Service days (when ‘Whenever, Wherever’ became a worldwide hit), openly remarking the music will be along the same lines. Take Ciara as well, after her venture into more pop with Fantasy Ride, she has now decided to retake her sound from her debut Goodies, go hood and reinstate the street sound her first record had, stating she wants to ‘go back to her roots’ and cater to her urban fans as an excuse; it sounds more as an undertaking to sell for once after the underperformance of her previous record, and to avoid being dropped from her label; the same pertains to Shakira.

Producers revise what becomes a hit and instead of taking it to another level, they rather stick to it to guarantee another hit, tricking people into thinking it is something new and different, when it in fact is the same done over again. Same synths, same bass lines, same instrumentation at different tempos are reused to validate yet another copy of something else. There is a serious lacking of ingenuity, novelty and vision to push the precincts thwarting the music world.

Artists seem to either rehash what others release or rework what they set a mark with; it is starting to swirl around the rim of becoming vicious. Independent musicians who offer something different and unconventional to the table are only minority and are not promoted as mainstream music is (which is how they should be promoted by all means), so that the industry reaches some sort of equilibrium.

The social error of opting for what is popular and in-style, is already pulling strings in the social context of music as well, as people prefer trash and tendency over quality and gist. Artists and people in general should strive towards becoming unique selves, individuals separate from the rest, not just another of the bunch. They should shed their own light and not steal others’ in order to be recognized and successful.

This is exactly what is happening in the big machine on present day. Some scheme into new musical territory but then everyone jumps in the bandwagon and take away the originality of the previous material, thus making it a trend. Labels and their signees need to stop mimicking what has already been delivered.  Repetition generates catchy, but they should also keep in mind too much repetition becomes monotonous.

Artists and the general public favor what is popular, generally speaking. They rather lose their own taste for music; their identity, to fit in a community where trendy and mainstream are cherished, other than individuality and self-choice. As artists lose themselves by doing what the rest does, the listener also loses itself by giving in.

C.Perez