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why does an underground scene always turn to commerical crap after a while?


Lemmiwinks
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I've seen this happen over and over again: you have a new electronic music scene that comes out of nowhere with it's own set of rules and artists. The scene grows bigger and bigger until all of a sudden you have an abundance of commercial remixes that seem to grow like mushrooms all over the place. Then it seems like noone cares for original stuff any more, just the commercial crap, either remixes or some sort of dance scene hybrids that are obviously intented for the masses. So for about a year I was happy to follow the dubstep scene, after a while of thinking "this shit is too wierd for me", it just grew on me and IMO it was like the only electronic music scene out there that still kept it underground. And just a few months ago I've seen the scene morph beyond recognition, it's like all the darkness is gone and we're just left with endless amounts of remixes and crappy dancefloor hybrids.

 

just and example, look what Benga is producing these days:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNhPYj-5rIY

 

I could show more but I guess you get the picture.

 

Anyway, my question is... WHY??? It seems that even the most underground uncommercial scene will eventually morph at one point or other in history.

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it was like the only electronic music scene out there that still kept it underground.

Are you serious? I thought it was

 

1) bad music to begin with, commercial or not

2) immensely hyped in every possible media, thus impossible to avoid

3) officially over in early 2009

 

But hey...maybe there's a major neo-dubstep movement 15 years later, and you can boast having all the oldschool stuff in original pressing...

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I thought it was obvious. Once a "scene" gets enough recognition in the mainstream people start wanting a piece of the pie because they think they can bank off of it. And this brings in all the wannabes making the crap stuff. Is it wrong for them (those who make decent music) to do so? If they can make a living off of it, then that's their decision, I'm not going to criticize them for doing something they want to do. Maybe if they act like assholes about it then I might get annoyed but that's not necessarily tied to the music.

 

Also, Benga still makes

, don't be harping upon him!

 

 

@Domolt: To each his own but there's plenty of dubstep that's good. Whether you realize or not (or don't want to).

 

http-~~-//www.youtube.com/watch?v=utJ8IRNVdzQ

 

http-~~-//www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8v6LC_mtws

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I've never liked dubstep, but that's not a surpsise.

The last 2 years dubstep is the new hot stuff among younger audience (17-20) here. It's cool to listen to it, so pretty much it was a matter of time to become mainstream.

Although tbh dubstep was never undergound for me.

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underground =/= good music

 

mainstream/commercial =/= bad music

 

Enough said imo.

 

The Beatles were as commercial as commercial can get, with I don't remember how many nr 1 hits. The Beatles wrote some damn good music imo.

 

I agree, especially these days, there's a lot of commercial crap out there. In the old days you had to be a good musician more then nowadays when it's all about image. Still there are people who make good radiofriendly music imo. And I'm not talking about one specific genre.

 

Good and bad music is all about taste ain't it?

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I agree, especially these days, there's a lot of commercial crap out there. In the old days you had to be a good musician more then nowadays when it's all about image.

Well, yes and no...there have always been workhorse orchestras/bands playing cover tunes as cheaply as possible. They didn't have to be brilliant, only good enough to bring some audience in. They didn't have to be creative. The same jazz and swing arrangements were played everywhere. If that's not purely commercial performing then what is? Similarly the rock era saw endless "The Whatevers" groups - essentially cloned boy bands of those days. You may have heard of the famous Beatles audition, where Decca stated that "guitar groups are on the way out". That's how generic the concept was already back then. They played mostly cover songs in that session, by the way. It's really nothing new that managers, promoters, record companies etc. try to make a quick buck wherever they can. The big audience is rarely looking for the best talent. Some simple entertainment will go a long way if marketed properly. That's how it's always been. Millions of teens want - and try - to be rock stars just for the money and fame, regardless of their true talent.

 

Of course, nowadays we have autotune and playback tapes so you can occasionally get away with precisely zero talent. Also, in these internet and software days it no longer takes a full studio session to produce something for wide distribution, so more and more people have a chance to try their luck. There's not even the lowest kind of record label filtering to reject the utter failures.

 

But really, check out some 50s top lists and releases. You'll find enormous amounts of copycat concepts, cover tunes, hasty production and cheap tricks. A lot of it has been forgotten for good. For every Beatles there were a thousand unsuccessful clones. I'd say you can find vastly more creativity and originality today. A lot of it will end up being mediocre or plain crap, though. It's the Sturgeon's second law.

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Well, yes and no...there have always been workhorse orchestras/bands playing cover tunes as cheaply as possible. They didn't have to be brilliant, only good enough to bring some audience in. They didn't have to be creative. The same jazz and swing arrangements were played everywhere. If that's not purely commercial performing then what is? Similarly the rock era saw endless "The Whatevers" groups - essentially cloned boy bands of those days. You may have heard of the famous Beatles audition, where Decca stated that "guitar groups are on the way out". That's how generic the concept was already back then. They played mostly cover songs in that session, by the way. It's really nothing new that managers, promoters, record companies etc. try to make a quick buck wherever they can. The big audience is rarely looking for the best talent. Some simple entertainment will go a long way if marketed properly. That's how it's always been. Millions of teens want - and try - to be rock stars just for the money and fame, regardless of their true talent.

 

Nice reply, money ruled the world back then too, inevitably creating crapy copycat groups. But sometimes there were some pretty good bands too who tried to create something more original. These were the bands they still play today. The crappy bands people just forgot, so maybe it's a false assumption to state it was better in the old days. I just wanted to point out it's not all commercial that is crap. But I think we'll agree on that.

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And why would you take youtube comments seriously?

 

 

...

 

 

I don't. :D

 

I don't. They're like a reflection of the people who listen to the music, and some of them are so terrible...
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I've seen this happen over and over again: you have a new electronic music scene that comes out of nowhere with it's own set of rules and artists. The scene grows bigger and bigger until all of a sudden you have an abundance of commercial remixes that seem to grow like mushrooms all over the place. Then it seems like noone cares for original stuff any more, just the commercial crap, either remixes or some sort of dance scene hybrids that are obviously intented for the masses. So for about a year I was happy to follow the dubstep scene, after a while of thinking "this shit is too wierd for me", it just grew on me and IMO it was like the only electronic music scene out there that still kept it underground. And just a few months ago I've seen the scene morph beyond recognition, it's like all the darkness is gone and we're just left with endless amounts of remixes and crappy dancefloor hybrids.

 

just and example, look what Benga is producing these days:

 

http-~~-//www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNhPYj-5rIY

 

I could show more but I guess you get the picture.

 

Anyway, my question is... WHY??? It seems that even the most underground uncommercial scene will eventually morph at one point or other in history.

 

Ha, that sounds like every electro house song that's played all the time on the radio here, only with dubstepish percussion.
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 6 months later...

Well I always figured its something like this;

 

Dedicated hardcore individuals break free to make their own art their way, and have fun.

 

Others see that happening, and want in on it.

 

Others bring others, who bring others who may or may not be jsut there to gawk.

 

Pretty soon its a spectacle.

 

However, the hardcore individuals are still tehre :D

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I think IDM still holds well! Even though it got pretty big (eg Autechre , Squarepusher, Boards Of Canada etc have millions of fans worlwide) its still top quality!

 

That's true. I wonder why. All the acts you mention are (I would guess) a lot more well-known than any psytrance artist, so the usual explanation that scenes turn to crap when they get too popular and attract insincere people is clearly lacking something.

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It has nothing to do with popularity. It doesn't really have anything to do with money either.

The fact is that 98% of what people make sucks, the stuff on the radio is just more accessable to your ear.

And when an artist becomes famous, they usually can no longer self critique their own work.

They start to believe the hype and what others are saying about them and think that they can do no wrong when,

in fact, they are still fallible humans like the rest of us and still make a lot of crap.

Artists get lazy and their labels know that people will buy on past experience, so the once famous DJ stays famous by virtue of the crap they put out.

The business of music is about appealing to the widest possible audience also so they stop trying to innovate because people like things that don't change

- like GOA...

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I wouldn't say people don't like change or else we would still be listening to classical music or something similar?

 

What doesn't change is the feeling people want that music gives. They want to party, they want music that will fit in with that. And music is a big business now, so it's about money for someone, if not the artist.

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The business of music is about appealing to the widest possible audience also so they stop trying to innovate because people like things that don't change

- like GOA...

 

hehe nice point... but I don't agree, otherwise you wouldn't have the cycle of new-mature-decaying scenes, the styles that were popular decades ago would still be popular today yet new styles come and take over the masses with time, like dubstep these days IMO

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think IDM still holds well! Even though it got pretty big (eg Autechre , Squarepusher, Boards Of Canada etc have millions of fans worlwide) its still top quality!

 

It's funny how perceptions differ...

 

I always thought how dub techno and IDM, two (sub)genres more popular now than ever, are just (don't take my too literary) rehashing the ideas displayed, portrayed and fully exploited during the nineties.

As cool as it is, I haven't heard anyone move beyond the rules Basic Channel set in 1994. Sure, there is great music, but the stagnation makes me want to spend my money elsewhere.

 

Maybe IDM fares a little better, but that is mainly thanks to certain users on this very forum who made me take notice of Sending Orbs. I was already getting tired, a fairly long time ago too, of everything 'intelligent' needing to sound so anti-club you couldn't miss it. Hell, if 4/4 makes you lose it, then at a certain point, everyone doing stuff for the living rooms were lost in utterly formulaic and predictable break beats, occasionally fractured rhythms, lush pads and melodies Carl Craig and Kenny Larking pulled of better, but you could actually move to them.

 

Don't know though, but Boards Of Canada and Autechre are acts I do not really fancy. I love the Amo Bishop Roden track though; beautiful touching music, yet never over the top with the instruments, synths and all.

Sending Orbs really, if only for a moment, got my attention. Everything about that label scream quality, hard work and beauty... Pity the releases are a crusade to find.

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