Music is Not Power

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For obvious reasons, this is naive and misguided:

Richard Ashcroft has lashed out at artists who make “political” speeches rather than focusing on entertaining fans.

The former Verve frontman spoke to Radio X today (September 10) while promoting the release of his new single ‘Surprised By The Joy’.

“So many fucking artists, man, if they can’t write a song or they can’t sing or they can’t play, they end up being like semi-political leaders, or believe they have to have a million causes to hide the fact that they can’t do the very thing that we want them to do,” he said.

“Ultimately, if someone’s paying hard-earned money to see me play live, they don’t want a rant about what’s happening on the other side of the world,” he continued. “They don’t want to know which way they should vote.

“We don’t give a crap. That paradigm has been broken, smashed by music. That’s where music is power.”

Unfortunately, music is not power anymore. Perhaps in the 60s it was; maybe for a minute in the 80s, you could say that music had some power and influence. But, when they made it so you could steal music through modems and store it on computers, it lost a lot of its value and we haven’t gotten it back yet. Kids today don’t care about bands as anything other than small niche things they might like for a while.

A big artist of today might sell a million copies of their CD if they are lucky. Compare that to the millions of downloads a video game might get, or that a series might get if it’s popular enough. The power of music has been waning steadily for over twenty years. The decentralization of all things media has played a part in fracturing people so that a huge album doesn’t have the meaning it once did. We are rapidly approaching the day when Springsteen, U2, and whoever else are going to be lucky if they can sell a few hundred thousand copies of their latest “album” while social media and competitive video gaming command much greater audiences.

Hell, they’ve even tried giving away music. How’d that turn out?

If artists want to speak out, let them. It’s the least they can do.