August 19, 2010

What’s probably the most beautiful thing about music is that it seems omnipresent.  It’s everywhere we turn.  It’s in advertisements, it’s online, it’s in churches, it’s in restaurants, it’s in conversation, it’s in our own minds.  We can imagine anything to be music, to be auditory pleasure.

So I am usually annoyed by music lovers who dismiss the avenue one uses to  discover this unify thing called music.  I often come into contact with listeners who feel that when music (especially by “underground” or undiscovered talent) is discovered in mainstream ways (film, television ads, etc.)  it detracts from the authenticity of the fan and takes away from the impact of the music.  It’s as if, when an artist gains attention their message becomes cloudy.  We ALL can’t enjoy a song without it taking away from the originality of it?

Case in point, the Oprah effect.  Oprah has gone on record many times endorsing the film adaptation of the novel “Eat Pray Love” on her show.  Her audience is, as we know, mostly women (many 40+ years in age and mothers).  Her audience, clinging to her suggestion. will be easily susceptible to the promotional advertisements for the film and thusly the music featured in it.  So, one may discover the band Florence + the Machine (whose song “Dog Days Are Over” is featured heavily in promos for the film) simply by flipping through television channels.  In addition, any artists that appear on her show usually go on to sell tons of records as a direct result of their appearance.  If I discovered a musician on Oprah does that make me a bad fan? Does that discovery become of lesser value than someone who may have discovered the group by flipping through the music magazine Spin?  Why do we boast to others that we knew an artist before they built a large fanbase instead of listening on a level playing field.

It’s just something I’ve wondered.  I am a musical sponge.  I take in music as it is fed to me.  I seek out music often but am never one to reject music that appears before me, regardless of the medium.  It’s just always so funny to me that people gawk at the possibility that I discovered something after it hit mainstream.  Does that make it any less profound?



  1. Good point…I think people think being entertained (associated with mainstream) can’t be artistic. And that mainstreaming a song will make it less artistic. That’s just a guess though

    • I agree. My friend Mike just brought up Janelle Monae who I guess now has been presented to the masses. Her diehard fans from her underground ATL days may feel that her music loses its depth because she can be enjoyed by an entire music buying audience. Which in retrospect, is ridiculous. Yet, it’s pretty rampant.

  2. I personally feel that you like what you like, regardless of where it comes from. Music fans’ discovery of music becomes less profound when they choose to close their minds and learn of new music only from commonly accepted places–i.e. the radio, MTV, BET, etc… I personally think it takes a true musichead to sniff out good music in movies, because most people watch a movie solely for the movie itself. I know that I found out about some of my favorite artists to this day because their music was played in movies; however, in addition to that I always take that extra effort to search out lesser known artists in my favorite genres. From there, people can open themselves up to a whole new world of music that they never knew existed.

  3. I agree. A lot of it takes effort. I think the problem comes with listeners who take what’s given to them only. I find out about most of what I love because I searched it out or happened upon it while searching for something else.

    Thanks for posting, Maurice. 🙂

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