Yes, it’s very easy, and very popular and seductive to rally behind Kesha in this matter. The press and popular culture love to hate stories about women being kept down or even abused by overbearing men and the companies they run or hide behind. Kesha doesn’t have a particularly compelling reason to lie, though the way major label contracts are constructed, who wouldn’t want out of one . . .
Music is such a polarizing subject in popular culture already. We love to love our music, and we love to hate everyone else’s. Music is what we use to identify ourselves culturally. It’s what allows us to find camaraderie with other people who are more likely to be like-minded with ourselves. It’s what we pride ourselves in to tell us that we’re better than others.
2015 has been back loaded with big events and even bigger releases that have caused renewed interest in the charts used to measure the popularity and impact of music. The problem is, in this here-and-now world, the model for how music is measured is still based around walking to a newsstand on Monday, and picking up the latest Billboard, or waiting for Tuesday when the album charts are updated online.
It’s all R&B. Like, all of it. If it’s American and mainstream, chances are it’s better categorized as R&B than anything else. It doesn’t matter what genre of music you’re talking about. Of course R&B sounds like R&B, but so does hip-hop these days. Modern rock? Yeah, it’s pretty much just R&B. Country music? That may be the most convincing case.
Adele, Alabama Shakes, Brett Eldredge, Bruno Mars, Carrie Underwood, Chris Stapleton, Coldplay, Country Music Gold, Eli Young Band, Gary Allan, Jason Aldean, Justin Timberlake, Leon Bridges, Luke Bryan, mono-genre, Old Dominion, Prophets and Outlaws, Sam Hunt, The Weeknd, Thomas Rhett
When former “country” artist Taylor Swift sold 1.287 million copies of her record 1989 on its debut week, it was a feat not matched since 2002. With streaming, the disillusion with the album concept, and the general implosion of the music industry, we all thought we would never see a similar feat ever again. And Adele right now is on pace to sell over double the first week sales of Taylor Swift’s 1989, or roughly 2.5 million copies.
There’s a awards show bump, and then there’s Chris Stapleton’s awards show bump. After shocking the country music world by walking away with wins for New Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, and Male Vocalist of the Year at the 49th Annual CMA Awards, sales for his debut release Traveller have positively exploded to unprecedented levels, especially considering the general malaise album sales are in across music.
When your music is better classified in every single other major American genre of music instead of country, then maybe you should consider to quit lying to your fans and the public and quit calling it country, kind of like Taylor Swift did. It’s not just that Sam Hunt isn’t country, it’s that he is the absolute antithesis of country.
Adele, Elton John, Florida Georgia Line, Hayley Williams, Kiss, Lady Antebellum, Luke Bryan, Meghan Trainor, Miley Cyrus, Morrissey, Paramore, Sam Hunt, Shooter Jennings, Swamp Dogg, Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw
It isn’t often that a musician achieves an illustrious 15-year career that includes five number one hits, Grammy Award nominations, feature film contributions, producer credits and the respect of his peers before he ever releases his first solo album. But Chris Stapleton isn’t your average musician. The near-universal critical acclaim that has been heaped upon his debut album “Traveller” has been nothing short of amazing.
For years now, the long-awaited solo album from country music songwriter Chris Stapleton has been like the White Whale of albums to informed country music listeners who pay attention liner notes. Meanwhile other fans remember Stapleton from his days in the bluegrass band The SteelDrivers. Beyond his songwriting, Stapleton’s solo sets are things of shiver-inducing magic.
“This site’s called savingcountrymusic.com. Why are you talking about Taylor Swift? She’s not country. She never was. Now she’s even saying she isn’t.” Well guess what, tough titty. This is my damn website, and if I want to talk about Taylor Swift, I will. And guess what, you’ll probably read about it.
1989, Adele, Alan Jackson, Big Machine Records, Enya, Fun, Garth Brooks, Imogen Heap, Jack Antonoff, Lorde, Max Martin, Meghan Trainor, Motley Crue, Nathan Chapman, Nelly Furtado, OneRepublic, Review, Ryan Tedder, Shellback, Taylor Swift
Amid the blow back YouTube was experiencing from fans, artists, and labels, they are now second guessing their strategy. In this high stakes game of music streaming chicken, the independents won, at least for now, as YouTube and Google executives head back to the drawing board and negotiating table to hammer out how to include everyone in the new service.
In an era when nothing in music is universal, and music has become one of the primary battlefronts in the culture war, the likeability of Jack White was one of the few things that passed for a consensus builder. And then something changed. I’m not exactly sure where or when specifically, but it changed. At some point it seemed like Jack White has started to buy into his own image…
Adele, Amy Winehouse, Axl Rose, Dan Auerbach, Dave Grohl, Dex Romweber, Dex Romweber Duo, Flat Duo Jets, Jack White, Jason Aldean, Justin Townes Earle, Karen Elson, Loretta Lynn, Nirvana, The Black Keys, The White Stripes, Van Lear Rose, Wanda Jackson
I don’t have any data to back my assertions up. But I’ll be damned that if in 2014, your average pop star isn’t more likely to outpace your average country star when it comes to substance and depth in their music. The dynamic has flipped, and it leaves one wondering if in the future “country” will be that bad word that infers a lack of artistic merit. Or if we haven’t already arrived there.
Sex has been used to sell music almost since music became a commercial enterprise. From the shaking of Elvis’s hips, to Madonna’s “Sex” book, to Miley Cyrus doing all manner of gratuitous things with a foam finger. but in truth there’s plenty of positive female role models. From huge, internationally-known pop stars, to promising up-and-coming artists, positive female role models in music are out there.
Adele, American Idol, Anderson Family Bluegrass, Asleep at the Wheel, Avril Lavigne, First Aid Kit, Gwen Stephani, Hayley Williams, Kelly Clarkson, Loretta Lynn, Miley Cyrus, Paige Anderson, Paige Anderson and the Fearless Kin, Paramore, Ruby Jane, Sarah Jarosz, Sugar Hill Records, The Church Sisters, VMA's, Willie Nelson
The Mono-Genre Theory in short states that all popular music is coalescing into one big genre where influences and styles from country, rap, rock, blues etc. coexist without any true lines defining their differences. At the end of every year when the sales numbers are released by Nielsen Soundscan, it usually reveals evidence of this mono-genre coagulation. 2012 was no different.
Oh how independent music nerds love to puff their chest out and pontificate about what’s wrong with the mainstream music industry, how it’s creatively bankrupt and was too slow to evolve to the onset of the digital format. What none of these nerds and experts seem to be willing to recognizing though is that over the last 18 months, music sales have increased. So what happened?
If you want to find some snark and sarcasm from the 2012 Grammy Awards, you should check out the official Saving Country Live Blog from last night. Yes, Chris Brown and Nicki Minaj supplied some gag reflex moments, but there was also a lot of substance and lessons to be taken from the night’s festivities. Here are the top three things I learned.
21, 21012 Grammy Awards, Adele, Carrie Underwood, Chris Brown, Dave Grohl, Glen Campbell, Grammy Awards, Jennifer Hudson, Joe Walsh, Nicki Minaj, Paul McCartney, The Beach Boys, The Foo Fighters, Tony Bennett
Something remarkable happened in music in 2011: sales stabilized. What the music industry is ignoring, as well as virtually everyone else in the SOPA argument, is this dramatic and unexpected stabilization of music sales. Where did it come from and why? When you dig deep into the numbers there are two answers: women and vinyl.