The scales have shifted. The big machines known as the major labels have lost their power. They are reduced to producing bubble gum pop, and picking up those artists who against all the odds make it to the top on their own, so that they can capitalise on all the hard work the artist has already done… Artists have become more real in the past few decades. The secretive life of the starts has become thing of the past. People want more “real things” in life. The built up persona of an artist is no longer that interesting to the general public. They want to be able to relate to the artist. They want to be able to feel a connection with the artist, like they were one of us.
There is new-found respect for hard work. People, especially those passionate about music understand the difference of someone made famous by a TV show and someone who worked their way through the underground for years and built their loyal fan base, nurtured them and made great music without the big budgets of the major labels.
The sound of 2015 is the sound of real music. This does not mean that we all listen to punk, metal, dance, country… We listen to all of it. Sure the mainstream is still there. Sure there are people in a board room who decide who is going to end up as the number one in the charts next week. But the underground is bigger than it has ever been before. There is a niche audience for almost everything, and with a little digging the passionate music fan can find almost everything they fancy. MTV does not have the power anymore, The Rolling Stone magazine does not have the power anymore.
The passionate music fan goes online in search of great music. The bloggers have become the influencers, and they do not play to the wallet of the major labels. They are also passionate music fans, writing about their passion. They are human beings, just like modern artist that has a conversation online about their favourite places for a coffee with their fans. And most of all they both are human beings, just like the passionate music fan.
I was sitting in a hotel bar last weekend in Killarney, which is a beautiful part of Ireland, and I observed a family of four sitting down for some food and drinks. For the first ten minutes while they waited for their food to arrive, the family was in silence as all four members were concentrating on their mobile phones. It was a moment portraying what we perceive wrong in the digital age, but what we never notice is the fact that after the phones were put down, they all proceeded to spend some quality family time, talking about the food they ordered and the day they had exploring the national park.
It is so easy to blame the new digital age for limiting our social interaction, but sometimes I feel we look too hard for something to blame. In the past if I was to sit in a bar and read a book, no one would think I was antisocial, but if I read a download book on my iPhone, suddenly I am labeled as antisocial, or hooked to the technology. The technology is here to help us, not to replace or substitute the human being.
In fact, I believe it has helped us to understand the value of a real human being in things like art and music. It has connected people at a global scale in a way that was never possible before. If anything, it has helped us to understand other cultures, where as the old media still keeps trying to capitalise in old stereo types.
I for one believe we have the tools for a better world in our hands. Sure it will take time for us all to get adjusted to the information overload, but at the end of the day, we are tribal species. It is in our nature to look for contact with another human beings. And maybe, just maybe us artists can help bridge that gap by bringing people together.
The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE