Talk about music icons and you’ll hear the glorious names of Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra and the Beatles thrown at you. But stop by for a look into the playlist of an average music listener’s iPod and find yourself struggling to make sense of the names. The last couple of years have seen an unprecedented change in the music scenario.
Back in the day, music was made to be heard. Today, it may seem, music is made to be seen. It has been quite a transformation from discussing vinyl covers to hair colours. With the advancement of visual media like the TV and the Internet, this is quite a logical step though. Presentation is just as important as sound. It is important that a song looks as good as it sounds and vice-versa.
Some may be quick to mourn the gradual death of real music, but we beg to differ. We believe in beauty – in sound, music and looks. Let’s not forget that it is this multimedia revolution that has opened up avenues for independent musicians and given birth to various genres of music.
There’s no denying that pop culture plays a major role in shaping music trends. The sale of Lady Gaga’s next album is directly proportional to the eccentricity of her costumes, Nicki Minaj’s to the colour of her wigs and Pitbull’s to his ability to recycle his limited vocabulary. But it is this culture that has seen music channels and shows like Arab Idol and Coke Studio take centre stage. Pop culture isn’t just shaping music trends but also becoming a means to scour for raw talent and nurture and encourage it.
Without pop culture, would we see Emiratis belting out tunes on a stage? Most likely not. Would we hear hints of Arab notes in Western music? Probably not.
Don’t just love music. Live it.
In 2011, the U.S. music industry alone released 76,875 new albums that sold at least one copy and this is not counting online releases and independent artists. With such a motley pool of music splattered all across the web; it is only natural for music to be picked or trashed within minutes. However, one can’t ignore that there are multitudes of people looking for and listening to music more than ever before. There is a higher demand for all audio products ranging from earphones and headphones to audio systems and accessories.
What has always existed in sub-cultures has now become a fashion trend. We find ourselves stylising our music; with neon headphones, powerful amplifiers, beautiful docking stations. And that can never be bad. We aren’t just consuming music, we are living it.
What you listen to and how you listen to it isn’t just a matter of personal preference. It isn’t simply about enjoying a lazy Friday afternoon or the drive back home.
It’s a lot more. It is a lifestyle.