I know this is dark for a friday but i'm in that kind of mood!
I feel that alot of creativity in music is being strangled these days by pressure to conform to certain unspoken constraits formed by the state of the record industry today.
Ok well we all know there are 5 major record companys that have about a 90% share of the market and they are also in control of the majority of distribution for themselves and for indie labels.
This is, I think putting pressure on some bands/musicians who might otherwise push boundaries and write in creative ways to 'dumb down' and produce 'marketable' music. This is not to say that the more interesting music that they may have written would not have been marketable its just that its a risk which a band might not want to take.
Do you write an album for a year which might be really great, interesting, cult, challenging (which might not get released or get good distribution) or do you join the band wagon knowing that you can write an album in a year and get a release (and live off it)... albeit with the dilemma and knowledge that (a) that creative masterpiece will never be heard and we'll never know if it would have been the start of something special (b) that you'll never be totally happy with the recording and album made as you have much more emotional attachment to the creative album which was never made, as it probably represents the members of the band/group much more than the album made.
Financially though, and its not all about the money but, major labels are not willing to take many risks these days, they know the formats that have made them money, they know the type of artist who will attract commercial sponsership (and therefore mostly like sell more records. Indies are still the source of the underground the intersting and challenging, record labels like 'touch and go' for example still seem to be releasing interesting albums, but really, there isn't the same amount of variety as say 20 years ago even (and i realise alot has changed).... even tho things like myspace have democratised music...
ahhh... rant over... I think really i just want to say good luck to all those people who feel they have something truely artistic about them. Roll on the next Hendrix, Cypress hIll, Prodigy, Tortoise, Slint( not the same but equally exciting). Have integrity and willing, please push boundaries and challenge... I can't wait to hear it!
Ps. this post is not about Pop vs Rock or anything like that, I believ there is room and a place for all types of music.