These times are like no other for music. The world is a giant speaker, and often the United States turns up the volume. Maryland happens to be a driving force for up and coming musicians, at times having over 80% original music flowing into the rest of the country through physical Cds, digital media, and websites. Business is good in the independent world, our younger artists soaking up the wisdom of a more mature audience, tailoring their lyrics and sound to incorporate a larger group. Yet through all of this, the variety of genres is beginning to dwindle as many musicians are finding a shrinking fan base in their chosen area of expertise.After several weeks of research, a list of genres started to take shape, showing the more popular and the dwindling sections in very clean light.
Country Music: Country is doing quite well. Artists tend to stick to a strong emotional sound with lyrics that call to an individual. Country artists tend to display our humanity in the here and the now, talking about love, divorce, life, and heart break, among many other subjects. As always this music tends to have a rustic, acoustic feel, while incorporating various sounds that sound very natural. Business- wise, older artists are never pushed out by the new artists, instead, the fans tend to add the new artists in with the same excitement as they have with an older artist, for example, Rascal Flatts vs. Taylor Swift, both with very loyal fan bases.
Hip Hop: Incorporated well with Pop music, Hip Hop tends to generate and ever stronger following with the younger generations, adding layers of people to an ever changing sound. Popular radio tends to play Hip hop music the most these days, with some rap music, although rap is beginning to blend in with the Hip Hop "sound."Hip Hop music continues to generate millions and millions of dollars, every year, like Country music, however the life of a Hip Hop song can sometimes be counted in days instead of weeks on the radio, as more artists release a "newer" sound.
Hard Rock/Metal: Truly a dwindling sound and genre, there are too few artists rising to replace the older stars of the generation. The Rolling Stones, still alive, still playing, have influenced all ages, but there is no true band or artist that can lay claim to following their "music for the sake of music" attitude. Hard rock has been aging without a cycle of renewal. While other genres are rising, aside from the artists and bands from older decades, this genre is remaining stagnant. Metal music along with Hard Rock is also stagnant, but where Hard Rock still has a firm foundation, the Metal sound is too monotone compared to other sounds and seems to be truly dying. My hope is that the genre can reinvent itself like many others through a strong new generation of rising musicians soon.
Alternative Rock: While the Foo Fighters, Third Eye Blind, Maroon Five, and other bands are still strong and touring, newer alternative bands are making their way onto the main stage, similar to Country, where the fans can always love more than one band at a time. These artists tend to walk a fine line between alternative and pop, like Maroon Five, where they fall right into the pop genre during the height of their success. Business continues to boom in the independent sector, where a bar or club will want a band that can play the favorites, rock out, and draw the love of new fans and patrons of that area.
Blues/Jazz: These two genres will probably never die. Where there is a will, there is a musician making a way through the night scene, playing music that stirs the soul. Those musicians always seem to be in the background, but more recently the influences of these two genres have become a driving force in almost all other genres. While never the strongest commercially, these two genres continue to reinvent themselves for future generations.
I have listened to so much music and so much radio over the past week that I can hear a sound and a song just starts playing in my head. You can never truly appreciate how much we rely on music until you've at least tried to hear it all.