Tuesday, February 28, 2017

How Horrorcore and Electronic Dance Music Ends Up on the Same Compilation CD

Yesterday I read a quote from Mike Posner describing the influences behind his song "I Took a Pill in Ibiza." (Shockingly, the influences were: 1) taking a pill in Ibiza, and 2) nothing else.) Anyway, Posner described the dance floor of a club as being populated by "kids." That made me realize that many people in the music industry are much older than their audiences. And these audiences, in the words of the Harvey Danger song "Little Round Mirrors," "[take] what they make twice as seriously as they could ever hope to do."

This morning I was driving to work listening to Jack FM, which played Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive" and then played John Parr's "St. Elmo's Fire." I thought, "In the actual 1980s, the people who wanted to listen to 'Wanted Dead or Alive' did NOT want to listen to 'St. Elmo's Fire.'"

And, of course, Adam Smith said that the division of labor is limited by the extent of the market.

These three things together create the following fact: in 30 years, the radio station playing your favorite music will also be playing the music that, right now, you hate.

As the listening audience ages, music becomes less important to them. (Only "kids" take music seriously. Okay, kids and adults in arrested development.) The dwindling marketplace for a particular precisely-defined musical genre means suppliers will no longer fine-grade their product. (Less division of labor as the market shrinks.) And the result will be a radio station in 2050 playing "all the hits from the 2010s" following up Jay-Z with One Direction.

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