Assault On Rockstar Culture. The Underground Musician’s Guide To The Music Industry (Part 2).By Nick J Townsend Frontman and Guitarist of Weak13 and Riff Yard Media Collaborator18th August 2022
Following on from his successful satirical The Underground Musician’s Guide To The Music Industry (read HERE), Nick J Townsend follows it up with Part 2. Prepare on an Assault On Rockstar Culture.
There’s no simple way of explaining this but the majorly of modern musicians have become extremely boring in recent times and here’s why……
(1) Rise Of The Fan Star.
Hardened music fans typically purchase band merchandise and many, by doing so, appear more cooler and fashionable than their salesman-like idols.
Minimalist stage attire is so prevalent among modern musicians that it’s resulted in an entire industry of bands looking less like fearless Rock Giants and more like grumbling Toll Booth Operators in regards to appearance.
With fandoms getting foreheads inked and eyeballs pierced it means that the plain musicians may appear rather underwhelming. Fans will often make a night out more fun by spending hours dressing up beforehand. Entertainment is a form of escapism so seeing musicians dressed as if they’ve just walked off a building site can be rather disappointing.
David Bowie tribute artists discovered that there was an awful lot of messing about in the bathroom before a show; this was once known as standard preparation for a live music event.
(2) Social trends.
To become obsessed with a band it’s commonplace to hunt for everything they’ve ever recorded, carve their logo into your wrist and follow all of their news feeds. However, in recent times, instead of discovering relevant information about songs or the musicians themselves; we encounter unrelated posts regularly created by the band in pointless attempts to become elevated via jumping on to a social trend.
For example, if a hashtag such as #CookingWithBucketsOnOurHead were to gain worldwide momentum then it could be argued that naïve or easily persuaded musicians would post band photographs of themselves in a kitchen with buckets hiding their identity in a desperate hope for stardom.
Whilst this could be considered mildly entertaining it also compartmentalizes the band to a different media environment possibly far away from the music industry and subsequently misleading dedicated fans or potential new ones into thinking “Why on earth am I subscribing to this?”.
The logic to this demented band strategy is “If we get any attention from kitchen-loving bucket wearers then perhaps they too might enjoy our music?”. Results are normally grounded in reality and efforts should, unsurprisingly, shadow the music in almost every case. Bands are literally jumping on a band wagon.
(3) Online Activism
Musicians and Bands often willingly sabotage their own social media platforms by posting dozens or thousands of preachy political rainbow-centric word-salad sentiments as public content that, potentially, can either inspire an entire generation or bore them to the point of leaving your music forever.
What’s intriguing about this activist-like behavior is that despite the insistence for venting strong opinions at fanbases; it’s rare for them to transition these messages to their own actual lyrical database, imagery or artwork because that would take commitment. Even if 50% of your fan base agree with you there’s another half you’ve alienated.
(4) Smart Phone Killed The Video Star.
A four minute music video can now be outperformed by a four second selfie due to most humans having filming & editing software on their smart phone. Musicians and actors no longer hold the monopoly for moving pictures.
The only saving grace for bands is that normally a music video has a higher budget so quality is their only way to set them apart from the millions of home videos uploaded everyday by the general public.
Unfortunately with so many musicians joining in and uploading quick content such as snippets of rehearsals, it makes it difficult for fans to be even aware of any expensive looking music video you’ve produced.
Smart phone users tend to ignore music videos because they’re smaller on the eye from being filmed in landscape mode. The same reason that people don’t hang their widescreen television sets in the portrait position.
(5) The Millennium Rockstar Reset
When people think of Pop they ordinarily imagine Dance or perhaps Indie music but by the end of the last century Metal & Rock had radically become much more popular; so the pop star was interpreted differently.
Back then, if a solo artist was declining in notoriety, management would step in and spice up their image with an alternative look; meaning getting some tattoos and a leather jacket but that didn’t involve altering their sound.
Today a folk band could pimp themselves to resemble an 80s thrash metal act but how many rockers would dress like a folk band? It’s a one way street. In fact, look at any busy high street and you’ll spot shoppers with eyebrow piercings, colored hair and tattoos. I’ll bet half of them probably aren’t even into music.
Nick J.Townsend – Twitter, Facebook, Riff Yard Media
Vocalist & Guitarist for British band WEAK13.