Everyone loves music. Each person has there own unique taste. Sometimes this is based in what age you were born in. It’s quite common for older generations to criticize today’s pop music. They claim that’s its unoriginal & repetitive. Normally we would pass this off as the change in times. Yet there seem to be a growing population from the current generation who share the same opinion. The term mainstream music is often used in negative connotation by millennials. Many tend to stay away from mainstream music preferring to listen to more indie-produced music. The main question seems to be “Why has today’s pop music gathered such a bad reputation?”. Though the argument can made that pop music is just not understood there does seem evidence supporting the opinion of it being uninspiring as well as repetitive. If you take the time to listen to a list of music produced in the past couple years you can se a pattern emerge which correlates the popularity of a song in relation to how the song was structured.
It seems popular music has seemed to hit a rut. The music industry is suffering from a lack of creativity and originality. If you find this implausible then really think about the songs that you’ve heard on the radio recently. How many of those songs include a lone man with an acoustic guitar singing about his lost love, or rapper spitting rhymes about how rich & awesome they are, or a electronically produced song that follow a certain beat and just repeats the same phrase over and over again, or an empowering song featuring a strong female figure. While these might not necessarily be bad songs they are formulaic. They follow a certain trend because these tropes have been known to sell well in the music industry. When you hear people say that these songs are very similar is because they are. They were designed that way. Whenever a certain trend in a song becomes popular, others artists will try to replicate the formula in order to sell their songs. Thus the music will sound repetitive and uncreative.
One of the best examples, that emphasis the repetitiveness and lack of creativity, is the over use of the I-V-VI-IV chord progression. If you know anything about music theory then you’ll know that this is an overused chord progression that is present in an innumerable amount of pop songs. To explain it to those who don’t have a degree in music theory, when you play a song that song follows a flow of chords that create the melody. Meaning that many of these songs follow the same melody and are identical in their structure. To really understand it look up the list containing the I-V-VI-IV chord progression. Or listen to the song 4 chords by The Axis of Awesome.
Here is where the problem lies. Currently, in the music industry, quality of music is based on popularity and profit. Both the audience and the record companies are very critical to what kind of music is released. Artists aren’t given space to express themselves fully. Any change might spark controversy, which might lead to an artist losing their audience and thus their career. If a song seems to be to much outside the norm then it will most probably be frowned upon by the audience, or ignored at best case scenario. This also explains why many artists would rather release singles than an entire album. The audience will enjoy the single that was produced but will most likely ignore an entire album because they recognize and are comfortable with that one song. Listeners would quickly shun any deviation in lyrics or music style. These kinds of reactions have put a major constrain on artists today. The have had their creativity narrowed down to a few select formulas that are guaranteed to sell.