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Posted Jan 9th, 2015 (1:10 am) by James Hughes
The Evolution Of The Audience In The Modern Age
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As the ever growing music industry continues to blossom in the post internet era, many are flooded with endless catalogs of music at their fingertips. The quickest delivery system, the internet, has granted users the ability to listen to music within minutes of the artist releasing the track. Interfaces like SoundCloud, Bandcamp, Hypetrak, and Audiomack have paved the way for the modern day music listener. This instant access has negatively affected us as an audience.

How many times do you check your phone a day, really? All of those moments where you are bored you just whip out the phone and jump into your favorite application. You can always find something to distract you. In an article by Russell Poldrack in the Huffington Post back in 2010 Poldrack made the case for "cultural ADHD." Our screen culture has driven us pay less attention and demand something new at the drop of a hat. This demand causes the recording industry to flood the market with the homogenized sound of pop culture with an aggressive boom or bust mentality.

This shift has been anything but glacial. Only three songs since 2009 have been on top of the Billboard Top 100 for more than 11 weeks, and the last huge track to reign as king was Robin Thicke’s hit “Blurred Lines (Feat. T.I. and Pharrell Williams)” at 10 weeks, and that song was EVERYWHERE. It even had a 24 hour music video. Since that point in 2009, the variety of the in the king of the charts has increased

The trend in the increasing number of those looking to produce the next hit song forces many to produce similar products. This pop-music focus creates stereotypical hit tracks, i.e. popular rap/club-pop/EDM, and has dumbed down the industry. This flood has curated a perpetual desire for singles among fans. An audience will buy a single, but they will probably illegally download the album because of the minimal impact. Even artists like the Foo Fighters, who have been around for decades, leaked four tracks before the release of their Nov. 2014 project Sonic Highways. This has them creating as much hype as possible for each tracks release, and hopefully build enough hype for the album.

The single heavy mantra may be helping the consumer but it has lowered the bar for full-length projects. Do you think 2 Chainz, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Future, or Taylor Swift are consciously focus on creating a conceptual album? In today’s world you make a name for yourself with hits. Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool, Childish Gambino’s Because The Internet are not getting praise for their conceptual development as compared to their predecessors. De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest thrived in an era where the album ruled overall and there was no ability to just get music for free. The project needed to hold the audience from beginning to end because there had been a monetary, and musical, investment on both ends. Tracks didn’t get leaked early, and every track on the album was a new experience to the listener.

We as an audience need to push for a higher creative standard otherwise this trend will continue to become more prevalent. If we are going to continue to call these individuals artists, let’s push for more complete works of art. The single is fun, but hits do not have any staying power anymore in today’s world. Albums must need to have resurgence in popular music.

How do you feel about the our evolving listening habits? Please comment below and you can find me on Twitter and Facebook below.

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