Why do so many - even the young - now prefer old music over new?

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Professor Knowall

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When I was a teen and even into my early twenties, I was only "into" music that came from that era (and in most cases was also popular and high in the charts). But as I aged I gradually lost more and more touch with whatever were the latest chartoppers as I increasingly followed particular genres like soul, blues and country, including (thanks to the Internet) checking out lots of stuff that came before my time - and really enjoying and appreciating it.

I had put down my changing interests and losing touch with the latest hits simply as a natural outcome of aging
(actually I do listen to a reasonable amount of new country and blues, but the traditional non-pop stuff I like rarely hits the charts). However I've increasingly noticed over the last 10 years how many younger people are also into "old" music. Today I came across this American article that confirms this phenomena (I'd be really surprised if the situation was much different in Australia). So, at a time when The Wiggles have held out Justin Bieber to win the JJJ Hottest 100, why is old music killing the new stuff now in popularity?

 
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Stan_Darsh72

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A combo of Hauntology, music is a lot deeper and more niche nowdays, and there is a lack of good mainstream music.
 

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La Dispute

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There’s still plenty of good music, but it’s mostly alternative stuff - metal, hardcore, hip hop etc.

Plus it’s far easier to become a competent DJ and a lot of kids are gravitating towards doing that than forming a band. The rise of electronic music music in general has robbed rock music of talented musicians. It’s far more financially rewarding being a good DJ than a good bass player.

I don’t necessarily hold the view that old music was better - my favourite era, generally speaking, was from about 2005-2015, but the best artists of the 60’s were better then the best bands of the 2000’s.
 

dumb

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i read bits of the article, but it makes an assumption that it's younger people listening to older music. perhaps what you're seeing is older people buying older music. i personally know of 80 year old grandmothers that have figured out spotify, the music marketplace has a lot more people and older farts at its doors than 10 years ago and maybe the people who consume current popular music don't make up the majority of of the people interested in music.

the window of time we spend interested in popular music would seem to be comparatively briefer than the amount of time we spend chasing other music - if we discover music is for us. some people never become invested.

our first introduction to music is our parents' collection.

anyone that says there is no good new music is just telling you they don't know where to find it. i haven't touched any points about quality, i'm sure there's plenty of other reasons than the old chestnut of 'new music is s**t'.
 

Schauermann

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Probably also a technical reason. Nowadays you can choose from all that music easily from the internet. So some will go for older music. Back in those days when even owning records was rare and radio was the main source for music it was probably more difficult to listen to older music. Same for live. How many musician with 40+ years on stage did you have still on stage 40 or even 60 years ago?
 

Gethelred

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Think some of it's access, and 'accessability'.

Music from any era has never been easier to get a hold of, test out, link you further to what you might like. Spotify, youtube both sport algorithms designed to funnel people from one song to the next along predictive genre pathways; if you like song x, you're going to also like song y. Over time, it ceases to just be predicated on behaviour and starts to shape it.

The other side of it is music's accessability. Genres from earlier in time are instantly more easy to 'get'; you're not going to be challenged by 'Get Back' by the Beetles than you are from 'Killing in the name', and you're going to be less challenged by 'Stairway to Heaven' by Zeppelin than you are 'Home' by Dreamtheater. Rap is something you get or you don't, and the earlier stuff is easier entry compared to grime. Death metal or some of the more alternative stuff isn't easy for a newcomer to 'get', regardless of quality.

I'm sure you can think of acts and songs from a band's catalogue that aren't as challenging, but some genres and styles simply don't afford easy consumption.

So on one hand, you have algorithms designed to lead people from A to B, and which over time can shape a person's musical taste, and you have the creation of new genres or the advancement of more experimental ones that require a bit more chewing to get into. The more advanced stuff gets constantly and consistently moved to one side by the algorithms, and artists who don't sound like the 'old stuff' or more easily consumed music get promoted. What this leads to over time is a music industry that doesn't just regurgitate 4 chord songs but writes the same song over and over, radio stations that pride themselves on 'easy listening' that don't try and push the envelope and challenge anyone, and creators aiming to get noticed ahead of making something that's different or might get rejected by the algorithm.

You have people who don't adhere to this, but that's why I think people prefer the older stuff. It's when popular music was driving things, compared to trying to reproduce exactly what came out a few years ago.
 

James Colorado

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A few different things come into play. One is the ever increasing diversification of genres. Metal is an incredibly broad genre, for example, and the Black Metal I was discovering in my teens (I'm in my 30s now) that seemed like it didn't offer much room for innovation has actually experienced a massive florescence in the intervening years. Hip Hop is similar, with its global spread and subsequent reinterpretation and reinvention within each new social group. Compare the NYC Golden Age to Indigenous Aussie Hip hop of today, or that of second generation Turkish-Germans, for example. Many of the issues covered are similar, but with all these voices of different experiences making everything done in such unique ways. Even EDM has evolved so that it's far, far beyond simple "doof doof" and has a massive variety of clearly distinct sub-genres.

Another factor is the diversity of media. I barely know anyone who listens to the radio anymore; personally, it's only for the footy. Music is obtained through many on demand options, Spotify, YT, etc. There is no overarching determinant of what is to be listened to now that the consumer listens to what they want, when they want it. New music for me is what forum posters recommend I try, or what comes up in the YT channels I've found are for me. As an aside, there is some scope for physical media, which I still purchase as the bands I listen to don't make a lot of money. There is no longer a common soundtrack to life because of the huge smorgasbord of listening options, and the fact that one turns to means of listening to music on demand (similar to how streaming has changed TV habits) rather than what the media and record executives decide you listen to.

These come together to mean that music is now more clannish in many ways rather than communal. Compare to the 1960s, a decade which had fantastic music, some utter rubbish ofc, but was an era where there the diversification of and within genres wasn't anywhere as advanced as it is now, and where mass media was able to promote the same artists to a broader mass of society. This was also a decade with incredible social upheaval, and this common soundtrack was there for the Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam War, etc. The current era has much social upheaval itself, but the lack of a common soundtrack for these reasons means the songs don't have that same resonance to the shared experience of their listener's and their subsequent memory of these events.
 

Professor Knowall

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Some really well thought out replies above. The internet and all the consequences that have flowed from it, have changed the whole industry and there's no going back.

The paragraph that stood out most to me is this one -
"I can understand the frustrations of music lovers getting no satisfaction from the current songs, though they try and they try. I also lament the lack of imagination on many current hits. But I disagree with their larger verdict. I listen to 2-3 hours of new music every day, and I know that there are plenty of outstanding young musicians out there. The problem isn’t that they don’t exist, but that the music industry has lost its ability to discover and nurture their talents".

A thing I've said quite a bit on the country music thread (where I've posted loads of old stuff on a " history" series) is that there's still really good country music being made - it's just that you often have to seek it out (or have others discover and share it), rather than just rely on the chart toppers, which are often nothing than disposable, formalistic soft pop pap aimed at teenage partygoers.
 

Plugger35

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Most young people don't have a clue about music, the Triple J Hottest 100 is proof of that.

I'm an old Gen X dinosaur and I can still discover better modern day music than them.

I discovered Black Marble last year and they are now one of my favourite bands.

 

mr bagcroft

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Most young people don't have a clue about music, the Triple J Hottest 100 is proof of that.

I'm an old Gen X dinosaur and I can still discover better modern day music than them.

I discovered Black Marble last year and they are now one of my favourite bands.


Sad truth.
Today with technology, you literally do not need to know a single damn thing to make music the likes of what triple JJJ spew, and others..
And when I say nothing, I mean nothing. That s**t is exactly what clip art was to graphic design. Drag and drop.
You need to know exactly ZERO about any basic theory, chords etc....
You need not sing in tune, play in time, or play anything whatsoever..
You need not know any functional harmony...
Its staggering.
THAT is a BIG reason there is such a shocking drop in the standard of music today.
 

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La Dispute

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Less Auto-Tune more talent in the past.
Auto-tune is undeniable, but the population is bigger than ever - there’s theoretically a lot more talent (generally) than any point in history.

Young people just aren’t as interested in becoming rock musicians and probably also don’t revere bands in the same way they use to which has impacted the talent pool.
 

Richard Cranium

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Most young people don't have a clue about music, the Triple J Hottest 100 is proof of that.

I'm an old Gen X dinosaur and I can still discover better modern day music than them.

I discovered Black Marble last year and they are now one of my favourite bands.


Cute.
 

the_interloper

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Most young people don't have a clue about music, the Triple J Hottest 100 is proof of that.

I'm an old Gen X dinosaur and I can still discover better modern day music than them.

I discovered Black Marble last year and they are now one of my favourite bands.



That's a really idiotic statement
 

Plugger35

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That's a really idiotic statement

I said most young people are clueless about music, I didn't say all of them, there are some that have a clue about music but they are few and far between.

When there's a debate about how old music was better than new music there's a lot of young people that will put forth their new music and most of it's garbage.

None of them mention Black Marble who are the best band I've heard in the last decade, they have never featured in the Hottest 100 and they are brilliant.

 

Richard Cranium

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I said most young people are clueless about music, I didn't say all of them, there are some that have a clue about music but they are few and far between.

When there's a debate about how old music was better than new music there's a lot of young people that will put forth their new music and most of it's garbage.

None of them mention Black Marble who are the best band I've heard in the last decade, they have never featured in the Hottest 100 and they are brilliant.


So a band you like not being popular is proof that an entire generation has no idea? Sound logic there Plug.
 

the_interloper

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I said most young people are clueless about music, I didn't say all of them, there are some that have a clue about music but they are few and far between.

When there's a debate about how old music was better than new music there's a lot of young people that will put forth their new music and most of it's garbage.

None of them mention Black Marble who are the best band I've heard in the last decade, they have never featured in the Hottest 100 and they are brilliant.



Music is very subjective and I dare say your parents would have said the same thing about your tastes in music as a teen.

And no band I liked was really on the hottest 100, my album of the year had no tracks listed, probably just means JJJ isn’t for me that’s all.

So basically you’re sounding like an old bastard.
 

Plugger35

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If I was an old bastard I wouldn't be pushing Black Marble.

I've got my finger on the pulse.

 
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I find it more difficult to find new music compared to finding old music that I just haven't heard yet. Old music has stood the test of time - there are articles, album reviews, lists to pore over etc. It's easier to search because it's a well worn path. There's a starting point.

It's so easy to disappear down a 80s post rock or 90s grunge rabbit hole or whatever. Where do people get current recommendations, news etc now? Most new bands I come across are ones people post on here. Some new (or newish) bands I've been listening to are Atlas Sound, Lotus Plaza, The Spirit of the Beehive and French 79.

It's great when you find something new you like. I don't believe that modern music is worse (or better). I just find it difficult to discover new music. There are so many music websites out there. The above artists I stumbled across by luck. Pitchfork has a big database but their best songs/albums list is not really up my alley. Didn't really like much of the hottest 100 and to be honest haven't since the mid 90s.
 

La Dispute

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I find it more difficult to find new music compared to finding old music that I just haven't heard yet. Old music has stood the test of time - there are articles, album reviews, lists to pore over etc. It's easier to search because it's a well worn path. There's a starting point.

It's so easy to disappear down a 80s post rock or 90s grunge rabbit hole or whatever. Where do people get current recommendations, news etc now? Most new bands I come across are ones people post on here. Some new (or newish) bands I've been listening to are Atlas Sound, Lotus Plaza, The Spirit of the Beehive and French 79.

It's great when you find something new you like. I don't believe that modern music is worse (or better). I just find it difficult to discover new music. There are so many music websites out there. The above artists I stumbled across by luck. Pitchfork has a big database but their best songs/albums list is not really up my alley. Didn't really like much of the hottest 100 and to be honest haven't since the mid 90s.
I’ve been using Sputnikmusic for a couple of decades and still find it to be the best resource for finding new music.

It’s a little more skewed towards metal and hardcore, but it incorporates every artist across any genre. Similar to RYM, but more user friendly, the ratings are a lot more accurate (IMO) and there’s some really good reviewers.

Because it’s run as a community there’s a lot less bias than something like Pitchfolk that will only promote a small number of artists and will go to pains to defend their shitty albums. Have a lot at the review for Tame Impala’s most recent album if you want an example - car crash writing.

Spotify isn’t too bad for throwing up a suggestion from time to time. If you’re looking for a similar artist to an artist you like there will usually be a few suggestions on the artist page. Last.fm will have a set of recommendations which are usually on the money if you actively scrobble.
 

La Dispute

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If I was an old bastard I wouldn't be pushing Black Marble.

I've got my finger on the pulse.


These guys have been around for quite some time.

They’re OK, but basically a poor man’s TV On The Radio.
 

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