Posts Tagged ‘Taylor Swift’

Music promotes diversity, and there’s a place for all of it in this world. It’s a global form of expression, irrespective of race, culture or geography. It’s an art fueled by passion and creativity. It’s inspiring, healing and moving. But that seems to be a thing of the past. Like people, music evolves and changes over time. Nowadays though, music has changed so much that is has completely lost its meaning.

Maybe it’s a generation thing; maybe today’s artists are bored and can’t find anything to sing/write about, so they find anything to sing/write about. The Beatles reached such great heights when they did because their music promoted peace and love in a war-torn planet. Musicians were making statements, standing up for what they believed in, using their creative energies to tell us how they felt. But the current generation of musicians is part of a society that is so driven by money and excess. Every career decision is based on profits, while the quality of music takes a back seat.

Maybe it’s the Internet’s fault. A couple of decades ago, social media wasn’t even a term, and now everything revolves around the online world. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts are used to keep fans in the loop, along with YouTube and Vimeo. As a result, people care more about Kimye, than Kanye’s music. You hear less and less about a musician’s work, and more and more about their personal lives (ie who’s dating who, etc) This generation of musicians lives off social media, and knows how to use its power to their advantage. As such the quality of their music suffers, because everyone (themselves included) pays less attention to it, so what we get is (at best) decent karaoke singers with no appreciation for the art of music:

Take the recent Twitter feud between Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj. Synopsis: Minaj felt shortchanged because her video wasn’t nominated for some award (even though she was nominated for other awards) and she blamed it on racism towards black female artists. Her track “Anaconda” did have millions of views, but here’s a thought: maybe people watched it because of its shock value, or maybe because of how much it resembled porn. Swift, who sings about ex-bfs and ex-bffs, took the Tweet as a personal attack, then they argued about feminism, then everyone apologized. Petty and narcissistic, not to mention, don’t they have anything else to talk about?

Recently, rapper Meek Mill accused Drake of not writing his own lyrics, which lead to a rap beef between them. Instantly, Drake (or his ghostwriter) put together not 1 but 2 diss tracks to claim the throne in this battle. But when 2 people got shot at his after party, he goes silent for days. Maybe because his PR people told him to, maybe he didn’t know what to say. But how about you rap about that, Aubrey? How about you use your mega-super-ultra fame to address that, instead of (having your ghostwriter) post a blog about it. If he’s revered as one of the best rappers of his time (so lucky Tupac isn’t around anymore,) why doesn’t he prove it and actually say something?

Maybe it’s the fans’ fault too. We eat up the drama too easily. We salivate at controversies, so those in the music industry don’t actually have to care much about their music. They can rely on auto-tune, image, production tricks, and other cheats to make themselves appear better, so why bother putting in any hard work, when they can take the easy way out? Because we let them get away with it. We let them make money off sub-par material, because our expectations for quality music are so low, even mediocrity stands tall. This Rihanna track is a perfect example: here’s an incredibly talented artist capable of so much more, but decides this is what she wants to use her success to say. Where’s the substance?

I get it. There’s enough crap and misery going on in this world, not everyone wants to hear about it in the music they listen to regularly. I also get that music is subjective, so I’m not saying every artist has to be dark and brooding, or that every musician has to make political statements or start some sort of revolution. I’m even okay with fun songs designed to make you dance in a club. But just because a track has a dope beat, that doesn’t give it the right to be about nothing (ie “Turn Down for What.”) I’m just asking for a little more effort on the musician’s part to make music for the love of making music; not because they need even more money than they already have. Their music should make us feel something, really feel something inside; it should mean something. But only a select few artists (like these guys) are doing that these days.

Music today doesn’t require the same amount of artistry as it once did. Anyone can be a DJ, all they need is a laptop. So many musicians sample beats from older songs, and just put a new spin on it. It’s like there’s nothing left to make music about, except there’s so much left to make music about. Musicians aren’t musicians anymore; they’re just fads. The majority of the current generation of musicians don’t seem to care though. They have so much reach, so much influence, so many people paying attention, ready to listen. But they use their voice to make money instead of making a difference. They no longer create art, because they don’t have to. That’s why music’s dead.

Superfame means raking in hundreds of millions, not just millions. It’s having your record go multi-platinum, not just platinum. Young musicians (YM) are as quickly adored, as they are forgotten. In an era of tweets, posts, texts, comments, selfies, hashtags, today’s younger generation is a distracted one. YMs are forced then, to rely on the following elements of superfame in order to stay relevant.

1. Make it Easy

Music is already accessible, but YMs make it even moreso. Subscribe to any (or all) of their pages, and you will constantly be fed, on every feed, some news about them. A click of a button, a tap of a screen, and you can download Taylor Swift’s new single that dropped 1 minute earlier. The push notification on your phone told you it was available.

2. Be Everywhere

That means when they drop an album, drop multiple versions of it over an extended period of time. A deluxe version, and acoustic version, a live tracks version, or even a mixtape. To add to that, minimize the time between consecutive albums, so fans don’t have time to forget about you.

Then, appear on any and every talk show willing to have you. Tour across every continent in the world, and hit as many cities as you can (along with doing radio interviews in each city, combined with some sort of giveaway for VIP passes.) This may seem like Marketing 101, but in today’s generation, it’s beyond overexposure.

3. Social Media, Social Media, Social Media

Use it. A lot, and all the time. YMs have to be involved in social media in order to exist at any level of superfame. They need a Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram account, YouTube channel, etc. Essentially, any form of narcissism so fans get to look at them. Constantly.

It’s a smart, yet creepy way to keep people in tune. To create a “personal” connection with fans, to make it harder for them to ever walk away. While they’re at it, they might as well make up hashtags that can be used across all kinds of social media platforms; after all, #yolo.

4. Change Things Up

Collaborating with another YM at the top of their game; it’s guaranteed success. You reach audiences that normally may never give you the time of day. If your partner is chosen wisely, you’ve now just opened yourself up to a brand new fan base.

Alternatively, inserting themselves in something gossip-worthy is always a good way to do. Even infamy is a form of attention. High profile date, arrest, getting caught with drugs, telling off another YM via Tweet. Anything to turn wandering eyes back onto them.

5. Diversify

Not only saturate every aspect of the music industry, but also to involve themselves in other industries. Write a book (or get their mom to write a book about what it was like living paycheque to paycheque before their kid made it big.) Make a behind-the-scenes (scripted) movie so fans feel like they know you. Star in a TV show. Start a clothing/perfume/accessories/shoe line, or become the ambassador for your hometown basketball team. That way, even if people aren’t listening to your music, they’re seeing you everywhere else.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying the way these musicians approach fame now is right or wrong; it’s just excessive. Though in a way, it has to be in order to keep up with the way the society is going. There seems to be an obsession with what’s hot right now, what’s trendy, as opposed to quality music that’s able to stand the test of time. But today’s generation seems more concerned about being able to follow someone with an Instagram account.

Superfame is necessary in this day and age. YMs have to go above and beyond, have to push themselves. The problem with drawing constant attention though, is inevitably it leads to oversaturation. Inevitably, the instantly gratified generation will get bored. Will move on the next one, because it’s what they’re programmed to do.

I refuse to get into it. If you want to know why Miley Cyrus’ performance at the MTV VMAs was so atrocious, there’s plenty of internet chatter about it. Aside from disturbing a lot of individuals, the worst thing it accomplished was it took away from some much more noteworthy moments. So let’s talk about those. (Note: MTV has done a great job of keeping all the relevant videos on their own site, so to see any or all of the awards show, click here.)

1. Besties

Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez seemed attached at the hip. Total bffs. Dancing together, making comments to each other, probably bonding over the trials and tribulations of dating bad boys (ie One Direction’s Harry Styles and Justin Bieber.) They were even dressed alike and hugged the crap out of each other when either one won an award.

Jimmy Fallon’s uncontainable man crush on Justin Timberlake as exemplified when he presented him with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. He was excited, giddy and his voice kept getting higher and higher pitched. It was kind of adorable.

2. Robin Thicke

A bi-product of Miley’s horrid performance was how ridiculous it made Robin Thicke look. It made it seem like he was a total perv who wanted to get with her, because he agreed to this duet for his hit track “Blurred Lines.” Why is the only question that comes to mind. Regardless of whether he knew what she was going to do, Miley Cyrus doesn’t add anything to any song. She outdid him by being even raunchier than the video for “Blurred Lines.” Saddest of all, he didn’t even win any awards.

3. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

It’s impossible not to love these guys. Independent hip hop musicians, a white rapper and a DJ, singing about real issues and still scoring some awards. Having said that, why were they seated so far away from the stage? At the tail end of their performance of “Same Love,” Mary Lambert and Jennifer Hudson got into a bit of a beautiful sing off. They should win awards just for being so darn awesome.

4. ‘N Sync

During Justin’s epic and lengthy performance, he enlisted the help of his ‘N Sync boys to perform “Girlfriend” and “Bye Bye Bye.” It was a treat to see for so many reasons. Lance Bass clearly could not keep up with the choreo and kept trailing behind; JC was so obviously reliving his famous days as the “other lead singer” and even tried to take over the spotlight for a second. Justin very quickly took it back. Joey and Chris made it through the mini dance routine but seemed exhausted after. Man, what age does to you.

5. Drake

When he starting getting into “Started From the Bottom,” I cringed a little because that song is so illogical on so many levels. What “bottom” did he start from? Rihanna was unimpressed, every rapper in the crowd was jamming like the song was their life story. Best of all, Jaden Smith seemed so enamored by Drake, he looked like he might even cry. Drake acts like he’s from the ‘hood and somehow has garnered all this street cred. He was wearing a cut off tee, but it seemed like it was made by a designer. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m laughing at how ridiculous Drake has become. I just can’t help it.

6. Justin Timberlake

You can hate on him as much as you want to. You can dislike him music with a passion, go ahead. But he dominated that arena with his performance and you can’t deny that. The moves, the voice, the interaction, the ease with which he does all of it. He even got ‘N Sync back together! He deservedly won “Video of the Year” for “Mirrors” – he has a dance off with himself in a room full of mirrors. Who else can pull that off?