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Passing The Torch: Should “Aged” Musicians Retire?

Good morning, folks. My friends shared some “exciting” news today. Green Day are expected to release new music and a new album in the year 2021. To my surprise or shock, this news to me was anything but the sort. It may be my lack of interest over the years for a band who were in their prime, but have seemingly “past it” – or it could just be the simple fact that there are far better, and far stronger upcoming artists and bands who’d I gladly listen to instead.

HERE COMES THE SHOCK – No shock at all, retire already!

In the music industry right now, with the rise of streaming lurching us into the scary thought of not being able to control our music in the future, there are more artists and more bands than ever before on the Internet. Striving for our undivided attention – which is always divided, mind – the industry has desperately become convoluted and over-saturated. And it seems to be music with a tarnished reputation or music with no reputation at all.

Is it time fo rthose “old” musicians or “retro” artists who have had their moment in the spotlight to stand down, postpone making new music and make way for those upcoming artists who equally deserve their moment on the stage? In a perfect swan song, it may seem fitting for these experienced professional musicians who have actively made music going on 20 years, to retire and share their pearls of wisdom to the next generation. That’s the cycle of life, no?

If it is a case of these musicians simply doing it for the love then (it won’t be for money, that’s for sure), by all means, showcase tours and gigs, but do not litter the rich music media already with talks on how ‘this old band that we used to listen to in the 90s are back making new music’, because it does nothing but clutter the clogs of communication again. Leave those opportunities for the younger generations who work just as hard to make it somewhere in the music industry. I mean, there’s plenty of them, right?

Foo Fighters have been a fine example of this. An album that is lacklustre throughout with no inkling from the “Wasting Light” era – and yet, it still tops the album charts. Why? For the simple fact that consumers buy it for the name of Foo Fighters. The name will continue to carry them to stardom because of their impactful reputation within the industry.

Now, I’m aware of how controversial a topic this is among the community, as these are some of our favourite bands who we’ve grown up with, and their legacy will never be forgotten, that’s for sure.

But is it time to pass the torch?

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Let’s Talk: Are we over-saturated with music?

G’morning all, let’s talk. Are we engulfed with too much music? In what seems like an album release every week, it can be very hard to keep on top of everything in today’s industry.

Especially with the amount of time we’ve got on our hands now, bands, musicians and artists are finding it more and more difficult to grab a listeners’ attention just for a few seconds of our time.

Music streaming catalogues and libraries hold over 50 million songs as it is – and with 40,000 new ones being added every day, that’s a lot of music to get through. Consumption is certainly outweighing musicality, in this regard.

Now, with popular music becoming a “glamorous wallpaper” instead of regarding it for what it is – art, I’m finding one or two worthy releases of my time where I would repeat over and over because I like them so much, and then, I would often overlook all the ones I’ve missed that would have the same treatment as the first one or two good releases.

But, is it worth arguing over having too much of something as paramount as music? Surely not, right? Where I would overlook these releases, there would be a niche group or collective that most certainly wouldn’t. You can’t have too much of a luxury or better yet, an art form that helps us through our daily lives. When you put it like that, I’m sounding simply ungrateful posing this question in the first place.

However, is there simply more choice and options, simply because we’ve made it what it is? Streaming services – and its ability to have everything at a touch of a button – has made the market so densely populated. And it’s all this new material from new artists just wanting to do the same as their predecessors before them. We’ve brought on our own downfall, as we’re at risk of over-saturating our own market!

This is the question I’m posing to you on this Tuesday morning, then.

Are we over-saturated with music? Let me know.

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The Rise of Powfu: death bed

The rise of “death bed” from unknown and out-of-nowhere artist, Powfu, represents a new model on how songs circulate through the twists and turns of social media, and are churned out of the other side as mega hits. And a multi-platinum single.

With a record deal signing often being the last step, musicians right now are making their own success, their own way. And Powfu is a fine example of that. With the song considered as lo-fi hip hop – a term that usually states unpolished beats and samples from unknown producers – it is not exactly expertly made with musical expertise at the helm. But, the catchy samples (which was sampled from “Coffee” by Beabadoobee), the alluring percussion beats and the mumble of the rapping allows the song to flow and melt within one another, creating a melancholic song – a song that was perfect at the time of its release – when we were amidst a worldwide pandemic.

The song took many meanings and was interpreted by many different people across social media. It peaked when it hit the videos of TikTok. With the song used by many users to confess their love to one another, the song soon became a number one hit, accumulating 800 million streams on Spotify alone.

With its simple production, melancholic sounds and a story where literally everyone can relate to, it amassed a huge following that brought this lo-fi hip hop style in the limelight.

And, many artists soon followed.

Guccihighwaters, Iain dorr, Sarcastic sounds, iamjakehill, Lil revive, Aries, Guardin. They all had the same formula, too. This lo-fi hip hop cup-of-tea melancholic freeform of progressive beats, uncooked samples and incoherent vocals, This was often matched with a name that was neither conjoined throughout or host neither a capital or a name that made sense.

But hey, it’s annoyingly catchy, highly addictive to keep listening and above all else, they’re popular. So why stop?

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The Tragedy of Streaming Services .. the saga continues!

In the next story of the “streaming saga”, avid drummer of distinguished brit-pop group Blur (and now-councillor for Norfolk), David Rowntree, spoke in front of the House of Commons committee and the BBC on the tragedy of streaming services and how “terminal” it all can be for the industry.

Whilst the labels yet again stick their head in the sand, and stating the artists are happy, Rowntree is speaking for all of them, and simply stating they’re not.

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“Bands like mine will be fine [Blur], but the next generation of bands will be hit – bands living hand-ti-mouth like we did for the first 10 years.” – David Rowntree.

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Singer-songwriter Bevan also edged in with her comments on the way streaming services pay royalties and how backwards it all is.

She stated that typically out of every £1 spent on streaming services, 30p goes to the streamer (such as Spotify), 55p goes to the publisher, which is then distributed to the artist and songwriters.

Considering the artists and songwriters make the damn stuff in the first place, it seems that we are last in the chain when it comes to remuneration and being fairly compensated for the work which has given the said publishers and said streamers those clicks, streams and ad revenue to begin with.

The fear is growing within the industry, even now as we speak. More talented industry specialists and artists are simply going to disappear from the spotlight and the up-and-coming, simply because the industry is at a stage now, where it is impossible to survive. Especially at grass-root level obtaining a living wage.

What are your thoughts on it all?

READING AND LEEDS 2022 LINEUP: Best line-up in years?

The first wave of acts for Reading and Leeds Festival 2022 was announced earlier today in a bid to get all us festival goers excited again for next year. In what seems like a turning point for the once-mainstream rap/hip-hop festival, it’s shaken itself down and brought up a new line-up for the ages. Is […]

ISLAND: “Yesterday Park” – Album Review

We’re no strangers with the work of ISLAND on here. Encompassing the soothing tones of underground indie/alternative rock scenes in dingy London studios, we have felt at one with this band before with their eclectic debut, Feels Like Air in 2018 – a story directly inspired from the time on the road. Following their success […]

Singles Review: “karma” by Arlie

On this relaxing pyjama-Sunday afternoon, I thought it be best to do another topical singles review by none other than alternative American misfits of Arlie. Measuring litres-worth of ultra-alternative and dance pop works, Arlie are an American musical group that doesn’t do much by halves. Crashing down to a North America tour next year, the […]

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LOOK, LOOK! How has our Attention Span Affected the Music Industry?

The average human attention span is 8 seconds.

The goldfish is 9 seconds.

That’s right. We now have less of an attention span than our fishy friend here.

The online world is strife with content that fights and depends on your attention for merely a minute. (If the above is true, I have lost your attention already.) As every hour passes, avid creators and consumers on the Internet are finding new ways to grab your attention quicker and sooner. Like greedy street sellers, they implore with you, relate with you and confide in you to click, consume and buy with every passing minute and passing hour. Is it any wonder that 30-second videos with TikTok and Instagram Reels has become such a tenacious force? We can’t keep up with anything else. As our attention spans falter furthermore with the presence of these social media outlets that clog and litter up the consumption of culture, the ‘stream-ability’ of music has no doubt come at a cost for the musicality, too.

If consumers can’t keep watching the same video for 3 minutes – how do the expect the same said consumers to listen to a song of the same length?

One person’s gain comes at another’s expense – and this has always been the case for the music industry. With the confines of streaming becoming a waterlogged pipe-dream for musicians to earn a sliver or even a lick of that royalty pie, artists and labels are struggling to fight for attention in a corrosive world where online media is determined with the number of clicks it has.

We determine if we like a song or not within the first 10-20 seconds of us playing it. Skip after skip. We rarely get to the end of a single song. A lower threshold of consumer holding their attention spans, results in quicker introductions and explosive choruses right from the gate. A consumption plan and song restructure we have seen in chart music for years, ever since the music world turned digital. Music consumption is overriding the musicality of artists’ choices and labels’ marketing preparations. We need to steer the ship before it’s too late.

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The attention economy is becoming a malign force for culture … ” – Mark Mulligan, Music Industry Blog
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View other discussions within the music industry and its struggles below:

Also, be sure to check out Mark’s informative deliverance on this topic via his blog –

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