Heroes Or Zeros?

The educated elites can’t fathom the pop stars. Built on an assembly line by multiple workers there’s nothing behind the facade and the music is formulaic.

Meanwhile, the youngsters and the uneducated flock to these performers, what gives?

The pop stars are aspirational. Their fans believe they too can become famous, can replicate the formula. You don’t have to be a member of the mostly nonexistent school band, you don’t have to practice your instrument in isolation for a decade, you’ve just got to sharpen your will, work on your countenance and promote the hell out of yourself on social media.

The performers of yore, who built careers over years, who spoke of their deep feelings and performed benefits, have not stopped complaining since the Napster era. You see they got all these tools, but their income and reach declined. They’re angry. They feel shut out.

Hip-hop is a way out of poverty.

And country is a way to give the middle finger to the elites who govern, who tell them they know better.

And everybody loves Taylor Swift, because she reaches the most people and she makes so much MONEY!

So, we’ve got a thin layer of mega-successful acts, basking in the adulation of the unformed wannabes, and…

Everybody else is left scratching his or her head.

The focus on money is both a turn-on and a turn-off. Classic acts lament they cannot make enough and fans feel closed out completely. Ticket prices are sky high and there’s no way you or me can ever make that kind of dough, meanwhile the acts keep saying they love us, their fans, but we read in the gossip columns how they party with people we’ll never know at places we’ll never get into having flown there on a private jet while we’re crammed into a plane with no overhead bin space because the airline is nickel and diming us to the point where everybody’s taking their luggage on board.

What’s going on?

Are the Kardashians winners, or the harbinger of a great divide, a great disaster, wherein everything we think we know is wrong?

How much can we venerate winners of a system that we can’t even compete in, whose spoils go to those we believe worthless?

When is change gonna come?

Turns out there’s a lot of turmoil in the entertainment business culture. We’re all at home, trying to get ahead, but the truth is we’re just data for the marketers, for the websites. They overload us with ads, pour on the cookies, and when we use adblockers they cry foul and tell us if we don’t disable them there will be no more websites.

And if we stop posting on Facebook the site will implode.

But this is all we’ve got, this low-level entertainment where we alternately burnish our image and hate on our brethren while the owners laugh all the way to the bank.

You can’t compete with Facebook, never mind Google, Apple or Amazon. The door is closed. You can write an app, but you can’t get any traction, you can’t make any money, no one will ever see it, never mind download it.

And they keep telling us YouTube is the new frontier, that anyone can make millions. But it turns out you need views in a triple digit million amount to get paid reasonably and I don’t personally know anybody who’s won this lottery, do you? We’ve got all these tools but no success, because all the spoils go to the man, but we keep plugging away at the keyboard, even though odds are as bad as the lottery.

There’s a great dissatisfaction in the country today. And the elites, the winners, don’t seem to understand. They think they deserve their spoils, that the gravy train will never end. As if we’re still listening to prog rock and hair band music, as if Rick Astley and a legion of has-beens still rule.

But they don’t.

We haven’t had a new sound in decades. Used to be the slate was wiped clean on a regular basis, but now the industry doesn’t want that, they want formula, they want insurance, they want no risk.

So, when it feels like you’re getting screwed, you are.

If you’re an act that doesn’t make Top Forty music you’re looking at a life of low-paid indentured servitude to your career.

If you’re a fan music might be cheap but tickets are expensive and so is merch and after pledging your undying fealty you’re left with nothing in the end, like being a fan of Bobby Sherman or David Cassidy way back when.

The landscape is ripe for acts that speak to this dissatisfaction, who are less about lifestyle than truth, who are not about embracing the trappings, but the music and the music only.

It’s coming. Unrest has been brewing. A vacuum needs to be filled.

And it’s gonna be.

Comments are closed