Billy Joel’s Piano Man and the Big Lie

All pop music plays into the Big Lie. Hitler famously coined the term, and the general idea is that if you can tell a big enough lie and position it at the heart of a propaganda campaign, people would believe it purely out of the assumption that no one could possibly state something so untrue. And naturally, if they believe that part of the propaganda, then the rest of it follows suit. Continue reading “Billy Joel’s Piano Man and the Big Lie”

Music as Frivolity and Fashion

Recently, I had the benefit of speaking with a friend of mine who happens to work for a subsidiary of a large music label in New York City.  He’s a low-level data analyst at a company that scouts new talent and connects them with producers and executives for new deals.  In other words, he looks at the numbers—sales, web hits, video views, etc.—and processes them for executives to decide how to pitch new pieces.  He was telling me how the field has become so stratified and how an overwhelming bulk of listeners were consuming a miniscule handful of musical artists—the top ten or fifteen singles of any given cycle are all coming from the same circle of people.  Intuitively, coming from a culture that at least pays lip service to meritocracy, you’d think that these top artists would be the cream of the crop, both as artistic and musical geniuses, right?  Until you realize that he’s actually talking about the Justin Biebers, the Beyoncés, and the Katy Perrys.  It isn’t that the music is particularly good, it’s just that everyone happens to be listening to it. Continue reading “Music as Frivolity and Fashion”

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