I present exhibit A and exhibit B – two articles containing the words “Rebecca” and “Black” in the title, both of which make a statement that suggests an answer to a question will be forthcoming in the article.
Published on UK’s Guardian website, one would be forgiven for presuming that the article will actually attempt to enlighten its readers as to just what exactly it is that Friday says about the state of pop. Does it? Allow me to answer that with a quote from the article itself:
“The problem is that it all has very little to do with pop music, or Black herself.”
At no point in the entire “article” does the writer even attempt to address the statement made in the title. In fact, all it does is say “Rebecca Black (kinda) sang a song. No one liked it, but it got famous anyway. What do you think that means?”
Exhibit B: Why Rebecca Black is Bad News for Pop Music
Posted on that site well-known for its topical, relevant and hard-hitting articles – Yahoo. So, why is it that Black’s song is bad news for pop music? Yahoo’s answer, according to what follows, is that, actually, her song is pretty much the same as most other pop songs that are in the charts these days. Oh! Now everything’s clear. Thanks, Yahoo!
Do you think this kind of journalism is legitimate or worthwhile? Is it ok to make a statement, tell everyone what other people are saying but in the process neglect to provide content that qualifies the statement, then at the end repeat the statement as a question to your readers?
If it is then I just wrote an article worthy of publication on The Guardian. Woo hoo!
Ok, so I can easily pretend to be an idiot, but I’m (pretty sure I’m) not. I get why these articles are not only written in the first place, but why they’re given such misleading titles – they’re crowd-drawing, and therefore revenue raising, filler.
Kinda like a lot of chart-topping pop music, huh?
What’s been bothering me the most in all this, however, is the predominant statement/accusation that’s arisen in the aftermath of Black’s Friday – which those two articles hint at, but utterly failed to address. That being:
Rebecca Black represents everything that’s wrong with the music industry today.
Really? Everything? Are you sure? How about this, instead:
The state of the music industry is a reflection of everything that’s wrong with people.
Personally, I think the truth is somewhere in the middle.
The “music industry” is a vast, complicated and intricate thing, encompassing far more than the by-product that is produced and manages to land at the top of the pile. I call it garbage, but it’s with the understanding that one person’s trash is another’s treasure – if you like it…good for you, I guess. My point, however, is that one song, one genre, one label, or even one trend does not an industry make.
The music I look for, listen to, love and support – you know, with actual money, not a click to a file-hosting site – is miles away from the kind of music Rebecca Black and others of her ilk produce, and if it’s released on a label it’s those that, by and large, are doing it out of love and passion. That is the best part of this so called “industry”, and there’s nothing wrong with that aspect of it – what’s wrong is that not enough people are paying attention, but go on to complain that what is brought to their attention isn’t good enough.
If everyone has so much contempt for what’s on offer by “the industry”, as the reaction to this song would indicate, why does it continue to be offered? Maybe all those big shot music executives missed the day at Tycoon School where they taught a successful business relies on profit. Maybe they fund their releases and advertising by collecting cans for recycling, then take The Homer Approach, mixed in with a little Sally Field Philosophy™.
Step One: People will like what we tell them to like.
Step Two: They like us! They really like us…and that’s enough for us. Group hug!
If you’re not convinced the consumer is a big part of the problem yet, I offer Exhibit C for your perusal. The following are just a few questions I found during a quick search on Yahoo. I know that many questions on there are by trolls and not to be taken seriously, but I can assure you these were asked legitimately.
That’s right, there are actually people out there asking to be dictated to; asking the esteemed members of the internet what songs are “good”; if their taste in music is better than their friend’s taste; if it’s normal to listen to music you didn’t listen to 3 years ago; what guitar chords to learn; whether or not they should buy the new Michael Jackson CD because they already have the first two compilations released after his death; which band out of two – that they’ve already listened to and liked – they should listen to some more; asking ‘record dealists’ (let that one sink in for a moment) if they’re interested in signing them; whether they should start a band or learn the guitar; where they can steal music from before it’s released…
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Before you absolve yourself of any responsibility for the state of the industry as you see it, ask yourself a) just where it is you’re looking; b) if you or anyone you know is responsible for contributing to it in the manner as exemplified by those questions; and c) if you’re doing anything about it other than complain, read articles by other people who are complaining, then going and clicking ‘Dislike’ on YouTube.
Oh, and why does everyone who is writing articles about Rebecca Black suck?
Because I have not seen one yet that isn’t as irrelevant, self-serving and gratuitous as the song they’re talking about, and they do nothing but contribute to the big pile of crap that is disposable media and entertainment.
PS Because I’m sure you’re dying to know, it was decided that Linkin Park got soft when they matured. We’re all still stumped as to how to go about getting into this singing business, though.