There Are No Sell Outs Anymore

Over the last 10 years or so, the new dynamic has opened up all sorts of opportunities. Artists perform at ad agencies to curry favor with decision makers. Major blockbusters, no matter how uncool, can book the coolest artists for their soundtrack. You can even make songs explicitly for branded content!

That last paragraph may sound derisive, but I want to be clear that it’s all fair game in 2019. We’ve blown up the music industry, especially in terms of what money goes directly to artists. But it seems that in our zeal to get rid of the problematic “sell out” stigma, we never replaced it with anything better.

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Foxing - Nearer My God

Nearer My God sounds like the solution the death of guitar music since the rise of Poptimism. Not that poptimism is inherently wrong, but the reassessment of music writing changed the values of the playing field. Suddenly nothing sounded as forward-looking, or cutting edge, or the result of meticulous craftsman engineering like the big budget pop hooks on Top 40 stations.

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Rostam - Half Light

The cutting edge of music now belongs to pop and hip hop. These are genres where the top artists are thinking, "What's a sound we haven't used before?" or "What's a flow no one else has?" Modern indie merely asks, "What is pop not doing?" and maybe that's why we don't have rock stars anymore.

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