Well me happy fellows, welcome welcome to 2010. I hope your new years’ were all more exciting than mine, spent immersed in CSS (code, for those of you who do not live lives as sad as mine,) but I was considering my position as far as music changes, decade to decade. Ten years ago I was standing at the threshold of my teenage years and I think this is where it all goes wrong for a lot of people but I was lucky – my Dad was a main feeder of my music addiction and my childhood was happily spent with rock, reggae and blues. It is also probably no small measure of ’sad’ that I remember buying my first album at the tender age of 11 – Oasis’ ‘What’s The Story, Morning Glory’. I make no apologies for that – it was good at the time and I was young and impressionable. But what has happened to influence music in the last decade?
1. The X-Factor/American Idol/Pop Idol – A no-brainer, this one. They’ve been some of the highest rated and most watched shows of this decade, and they are still just soap operas with people singing. (If you all want an opinion from me on this; I don’t think it has enough power to ruin the music industry, but I don’t think it’s doing us any favours either. By ‘us’, I mean my ears and my brain. But if you disagree, feel free to comment below! *hides from the storm*)
2. The New ‘Indie’ – The sort of ‘indie’ that classifies itself by sound, rather than by status. Much like ‘pop’, in fact. Examples? Kings Of Leon, Bloc Party. Most indie kids (including myself) classify ‘pop more often by sound, after all. It’s a kind of musical double entendre. Happy faces for that one – hopefully it will mean less snobbery and more appreciation of good music, no matter where it comes from.
3. Folk/Alt. Folk is now officially Cool – Well, at least it is here in Britain, which is a turn up for the books. You’ll be seeing more bearded, glasses-wearing blokes in pubs, with pints of real ale, surrounded by people talking to them rather than around them, looking nonplussed by the whole experience. That can only be a good thing.
4. Supergroups – I’m not sure when this term originated but it seems to have seen a resurgence in the 00’s, not least with the appearance of Them Crooked Vultures. I think I’ll leave the jury out on that one.
5. Illegal Downloads – The jury’s out on this one too but we do know illegal downloading is at an all-time high as we enter 2010. Despite this sad-face however, studies have shown that people who torrent and rip music actually buy up to 60% more music legally. I have friends who are proof of this – they’ll torrent an album by a major band then buy three by lesser-known artists just because they’re addicted to the feeling. Some artists have even set this up as a strategy – publish or ‘leak’ your new song/video, then your willing punters might just go out and buy the album. Cheating major labels out of money? Yes, certainly. A small measure of satisfaction from that fact…? I’m afraid I can’t comment, but I’m sure many indie boys and girls would be happy to. Look, labels – there might be a golden niche here if you stop whinging and start getting smart.
6. Recession-proofing – I’ll admit that the days are gone where you can get new albums for seven quid, but with many releases now offering free digital downloads of the tracks (if you buy vinyl) or artwork and EP packages (if you buy digital) we’ve at least started to get a fuller ‘experience’ for our money. Which is better than nothing.
Stay tuned folks, and have a great new year!