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

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CliffMcTainshaw

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There is good music, it’s much harder than it used to be to find. While there is good music I’m not sure if there is as much of it as there used to be.

There are plenty of things that have contributed to this. For a start when I grew up as a teenager there were lots of dance places you could go to every weekend and see 4, 5 maybe 6 bands over a night. Just seeing a band live generated lots of interest and led to lots of people wanting to become musicians.

Bands usually had work every week and whether they stayed together or broke up and formed new bands, they were playing live regularly every week in front of an audience and become better players who could adapt to lots of different band members, audiences and venues. Compared to today, there are no dance halls for bands to play. Pubs as venues have been decimated dues to pokies and noise complaints. In the past there were a lot more places where you could play and importantly get paid for playing.

In addition the development of the drum machine has provided a very generic sound for lots of modern recordings. In the 80’s it was the synth that made lots of music easily identifiable (I’d say the Plugger’s taste was formed then, after listening to the sound of the Black Marbles). But it's the same for any era that you were introduced to music. It becomes sub conciously embedded in your brain.

Autotune is a disaster. It prevents singers from expressing any emotion in their voice and allows singers who can’t sing, a means of being able to sound acceptable. This can once again be traced back to lack of venues where people can learn to sing properly. It also allows people to skip the hard work needed to become a good singer and allows the have everything now generation, to achieve what they want immediately.

When I was a teacher I was surprised at how few live bands students had seen. For a lot of kids the only live bands they had seen were other student bands playing at school.

Sampling is now common place and while it allows people to be creative it by no means makes you a competent and skilled musician.

A major modern problem is compression. A huge disaster for modern music.

CD compression has become a real problem that started in the 90’s and has got worse since then, however, there has been a concerted push against it by some sound engineers over the last decade. The sort of compression problems that CD's are suffering couldn't happen on Vinyl simply because the stylus would continually jump out of the groove.
If CD’s are compressed, it is to do with the idea among record companies, their trained recording engineers and artists, that louder is better and sells better, (never mind that it only seems louder because there are no quieter passages to compare the loud passages to - just think of the advertisements on TV and the uneducated music tastes of the current generation of music listeners.
The really big concern apart from sound quality is the damage that may be being caused to the ears of our kids by highly compressed music.
Audio engineer Matt Mayfield has said "When there is no quiet, there can be no loud."
The following Youtube videos explain the problem far better than I can.


 
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footyfan1978

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Not even sure the title of thread is correct.
I'd suspect it not.
We live in different times.
The internet has changed music listening patterns big time.

I think of the music I grew up and loved most and it was not from music videos, MTV or now Spotify or youtube.
It was hearing music being played at parties outside or random things on radio I liked. It was certainly not from any type of talent shows on tv.
So the music was kind of influenced more by people around you. Older siblings playing their music at home or at parties was a stronger influence than tv, videos or even radio. Radio was certainly the second biggest influence as it could be so random, you just hear something in car or at friends house or virtually anywhere a radio playing and if you heard something you liked three or four times, you might decide to buy an album or cassette of the musician. You heard music more as less ear phones and more simply record player or ghetto blaster on. Your tastes develop from there but in my mind, it what you hear with your own ears and that going to be influenced by people you see most, family and friends.
I'd hear much older siblings playing anything from Deep Purple to Abba so I would hear it with my ears even before I knew what it was. My parents music made no influence as none of it was rock music or disco or pop. They seem to listen to folk music like The Seekers or Country music. Some kids are influenced by parents taste but not me. I think the next generation after me more influenced by music videos than radio, where I was influenced more by party music in person or in car on radio and not what the tv shows were showing. The young now probably do not have one over influencing source. There is mediocre talent shows on tv with so much hype but little substance to influence them, then there social media and youtube and then there is radio but I think it more likely having a primary relationship with your phone before other human beings means the direct random hearing something you like is not a normal way to hear music now. It more about internet social media algorithms if your phone is your primary relationship with world around you than other people.
Less direct contact with other people changes pathways forever.

Welcome to the 2000's where there is way more niche options but less of people tuning into just other people directly or the audio source of radio to the ears.
 

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No eye deer

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There is good music, it’s much harder than it used to be to find. While there is good music I’m not sure if there is as much of it as there used to be.

There are plenty of things that have contributed to this. For a start when I grew up as a teenager there were lots of dance places you could go to every weekend and see 4, 5 maybe 6 bands over a night. Just seeing a band live generated lots of interest and led to lots of people wanting to become musicians.

Bands usually had work every week and whether they stayed together or broke up and formed new bands, they were playing live regularly every week in front of an audience and become better players who could adapt to lots of different band members, audiences and venues. Compared to today, there are no dance halls for bands to play. Pubs as venues have been decimated dues to pokies and noise complaints. In the past there were a lot more places where you could play and importantly get paid for playing.

In addition the development of the drum machine has provided a very generic sound for lots of modern recordings. In the 80’s it was the synth that made lots of music easily identifiable (I’d say the Plugger’s taste was formed then, after listening to the sound of the Black Marbles). But it's the same for any era that you were introduced to music. It becomes sub conciously embedded in your brain.

Autotune is a disaster. It prevents singers from expressing any emotion in their voice and allows singers who can’t sing, a means of being able to sound acceptable. This can once again be traced back to lack of venues where people can learn to sing properly. It also allows people to skip the hard work needed to become a good singer and allows the have everything now generation, to achieve what they want immediately.

When I was a teacher I was surprised at how few live bands students had seen. For a lot of kids the only live bands they had seen were other student bands playing at school.

Sampling is now common place and while it allows people to be creative it by no means makes you a competent and skilled musician.

A major modern problem is compression. A huge disaster for modern music.

CD compression has become a real problem that started in the 90’s and has got worse since then, however, there has been a concerted push against it by some sound engineers over the last decade. The sort of compression problems that CD's are suffering couldn't happen on Vinyl simply because the stylus would continually jump out of the groove.
If CD’s are compressed, it is to do with the idea among record companies, their trained recording engineers and artists, that louder is better and sells better, (never mind that it only seems louder because there are no quieter passages to compare the loud passages to - just think of the advertisements on TV) and the uneducated music tastes of the current generation of music listeners.
The really big concern apart from sound quality is the damage that may be being caused to the ears of our kids by highly compressed music.
Audio engineer Matt Mayfield has said "When there is no quiet, there can be no loud."
The following Youtube videos explain the problem far better than I can.



Man, that just makes my blood boil!
Destroy the sound and clarity of music just so your song ‘sounds’ louder on the radio.
Why aren’t the musicians demanding that their music is released with a higher dynamic range?
 

PhatBoy

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Let me qualify this by saying that I am a bit of a music snob and yes I do struggle with the millstone of thinking, like everyone, that my generation had the best music or close to it and that young people don’t know s**t. I’m 38, by the way.
I am a sucker for:
  • classic rock
  • hard rock
  • pre-Eminem rap and hip hop (not that I have anything against Eminem)
  • Australian alternative 80s/90s
  • blues rock
  • pre-2000 punk

The simple answer for this is that while the skill of playing music is as good now as it ever was, the ability to interpret that skill and the notes at a musician’s disposal, and to fashion it into something meaningful AND nice to listen to, is not as prevalent as it once was.

I have never been recorded and I’ve only ever done a few things in the studio - live streamed gigs etc - and there is a reason for that: I simply don’t have the gift of melody.

Every 20 year old c*** with a guitar that can rhyme and knock out 4 chords in the same key thinks they can write a song: they can’t. I know I can’t so I don’t try.

Why aren’t they good? Because they can’t put it into a melody. That’s the first key to writing good songs - simply come up with a good melody. You can write lyrics about absolutely nothing but if it had a great tune, that alone can prop up a song. Some of the Beatles biggest hits are so breathtakingly simple musically and lyrically but what do they have? A tune anyone can whistle and sing along to.

In addition to being full of attitude and in your face, Nirvana had melody. They wrote chord progressions that shouldn’t have worked but Kurt managed to pull it all together with these ridiculously good melodies.

I genuinely think the last huge hit I heard with a decent melody was Somebody That I Used To Know - and even it was bastardised over the top of a glockenspiel playing Ba Ba Black Sheep. Still it was a great song.

Bands now rarely have anything new to say, or anything real. Or alternatively, they aren’t open about NOT saying anything.

I love bands that stood for something and could talk about real things: RATM, the Oils, Pink Floyd on occasion, U2. What’s the best alternative to standing for something? Be completely open about standing for nothing. AC/DC - songs about absolutely nothing meaningful. Kiss, Zeppelin were singing about Vikings ffs - but they were open: this is us, we are here to make huge sounds, to rock as f***ing hard as we can, and then go and party. Oasis: hell Noel Gallagher has said he has no idea what the * ‘feeling supersonic’ means it just rocked hard. The ramones built an empire off not singing about anything particularly relevant to the mainstream world. But they were open about it.

Bands pretending to be punk or pretending to be deep are easily forgotten.

I have no problem with bands or artists looking for perfection and a particular sound but it seems to me that in days gone by artists looked for those little nuances and touches because they wanted it to sound ‘right’ to them. They wanted the vision they had, to be manifest. Radiohead: I get the distinct impression they literally could not give a flying * if no one bought a single copy of Kid A or OK Computer. They made that music because they wanted to make a product and to express something. Thom Yorke said more to me about anxiety in Paranoid Android than any shrink has been able to.

Can you imagine many contemporary youngish artists putting that much effort into a recording now, for anything OTHER than money? They don’t. They mass produce what they know is going to sell.

The worst part is that musicians who DO have the ability to be something better, like Ed Sheeran or John Mayer, seem to be forever straddling this line of writing the songs they’re capable of writing, and writing songs that are going to satisfy their connections.

Thinking Out Loud is one of the most perfect love songs ever written. What’s he followed it up with? The same song just sung with 40 different chord progressions.


My last thought is this: most contemporary artists simply don’t have versatility. They don’t have to. Session musicians, songwriters producers and sound engineers create their sound and their songs for them.

I have watched a lot of Ian Moss acoustic videos recently and seeing how differently he can play the same song that was played flat out electrically for Cold Chisel and then turn it into a solo blues acoustic masterpiece is phenomenal.

What current artist is going to really do that?


Anyway that’s my rant for now I could go on for ages
 

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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 stop by bandcamp now and then. it allows me to search by location (a few big city type places) and lately i've been digging around what is in melbourne in various genres.
otherwise, drill down by your preferred style. you can buy a digital album, though plenty still sell hard copies. the community aspect is more tacked on there than central as other online music places as it's very band/musician focussed. i occasionally dip into articles there.
sample the stuff for free, and you can come across the odd release that you name your price, pay as little or as much as you want.
 

CliffMcTainshaw

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Is the loudness war even a thing in the streaming age?
Yes it is, where does the digitised music come from when you are listening to streamed music?
Straight from the mixed and compressed copy used to make the CD's and with all the same problems that CD's have.
I think that is one reason why some people say that Record's sound "warmer" than CD's.
Is it because CD's don't have the same dynamic range as Record's. That's what I believe is the reason!
 
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Taylor

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If you watch Top of the Pops from decades ago you'll see there is plenty of rubbish music then too and the passage of time has worn down the offerings of the past into polished gems.
 

Richard Cranium

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Yes it is, where does the digitised music come from when you are listening to streamed music?
Straight from the mixed and compressed copy used to make the CD's and with all the same problems that CD's have.
I think that is one reason why some people say that Record's sound "warmer" than CD's.
Is it because CD's don't have the same dynamic range as Record's. That's what I believe is the reason!
Yeah but no one listens to CDs anymore.

From a random article I found:

"Digital audio players and media playback software read metadata loudness values and adjust the playback level for each track accordingly–this has no negative impact on audio fidelity. The simple and ingenious way this works is to take the loud tracks and turn them down compared to the quiet ones.

This type of leveling technology quietly rendered the Loudness War moot: tracks made with cranked up compressors and limiters don’t end up any louder. Instead, you notice the lack of dynamics imposed by over-compression clearly when played alongside songs mastered without the “louder is better” approach, and you’ll likely appreciate the more open, dynamic material.

Today, streaming services all automatically apply normalized volume levels, usually based on “Integrated Loudness,” a measurement of loudness for the entire audio file. Most streaming services normalize to -14 LUFS (the standard unit of loudness measurement for broadcasting). If a song is deemed to be -8 integrated LUFS, it will be turned down 6dB, for example."

Basically, if your music is made to be loud like on CDs from that period, it'll sound even worse on the most popular format that your music will be listened to.
 

CliffMcTainshaw

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CD's are a moot point, it was only mentioned to make a comparison of dynamic range.
The loudness war doesn't mean that the music is louder, it's just that the quieter passages are amplified and made louder. So the difference between the loudest and quietest passages is reduced. That's what compression is. Normalising loudness just reduces the maximum loudness on a track to a lower level. It also reduces the lowest level by the same amount. There is no change in the dynamic range, it remains the same. The only way that can be overcome is to use an expander or the software equivalent to restore the dynamic range. It just depends if you use it or not. Streaming isn't the only way to listen to digital music that people use.
Try going to isolated parts of Australia where there is no or unreliable mobile service available and listen to music. You won't have the option of a streaming service.
 
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Richard Cranium

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I understand compression Cliff, just stating that it isn't 2003 anymore and thus it doesn't seem to be as much of an issue these days.
 

CliffMcTainshaw

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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?

This video covers stuff already discussed here and a heck of a lot more. If you have an opinion on this topic it will certainly give you a lot more to think about, because it covers a wide range of reasons that none of us have mentioned yet.
 
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CliffMcTainshaw

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I understand compression Cliff, just stating that it isn't 2003 anymore and thus it doesn't seem to be as much of an issue these days.
Back in 2003 when Apple launched iTunes all their files were 128K, which meant that their fidelity was lower than what could be achieved on a CD. The format is described as a lossy format. You lost some of the fidelity (the frequency response) of the original recording and there was a potential that dynamic range could be reduced as well. Although you lost fidelity the dynamic range remained much the same as the original. As technology improved, lossless formats evolved which meant that the fidelity remained the same. A lossless file will musically be an exact replica of the original mix. When a song is recorded and mixed and then converted into a lossless file the fidelity is retained and so too is the dynamic range. If music has been compressed in the mixing phase (and it is still happening today) it remains at that same level of compression. There is no magic, where creating a lossless file reduces the original compression. If that isn't a problem for you when you are listening that's great, but for me it is still an issue.
 
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Poetic Justice

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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.



Must say, as campaigning boomer here, that when you said that most young people didn't have a clue about music and then posted a video of a band whose music sounds electronically generated (electric drum kit, etc) I was left a little confused.

My interpretation of the old vs new thing is the demonstration of talent as it relates to a musician honing their craft - whatever instrument it may be. Bonzo = drums. Hetfield = rhythm guitar. Hendrix, Zeppelin, The Doors, so on and so on.

Gone are the days of a 4 verse song that includes choruses, a bridge and a guitar solo. And that's ok, I'll just sit back with history and enjoy them.

In terms of new music, what music is released now that you could think of being 'popular' in 10, 20, 30 years time? is Dance Monkey by Tones & I going to go down as something you hear on Gold 104.3 in 2050 and in 2050 are the people who hear it going to go "God damn, I still love that song even today."

Y'know.. I wonder if I said to my Dad, who is 66, "Think back to when you were 16 and you're listening to the radio and the new song 'Stairway to Heaven' by Led Zeppelin came on. How did you feel about it? Was it just the pop song of the time, or did you think 'Here's a real timeless classic here?"

If I was going to go on about 'new' music... I'd be more inclined to post this:



She also uses an electric beat (up until she recently started working with a band) - but makes up in spades around it for all the other stuff she plays. I don't listen to Tash much by way of playing her stuff in the car or what not - but seeing these videos and having scene here live twice, she is an absolute marvel - talent by the bucket load.
 
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Must say, as campaigning boomer here, that when you said that most young people didn't have a clue about music and then posted a video of a band whose music sounds electronically generated (electric drum kit, etc) I was left a little confused.

My interpretation of the old vs new thing is the demonstration of talent as it relates to a musician honing their craft - whatever instrument it may be. Bonzo = drums. Hetfield = rhythm guitar. Hendrix, Zeppelin, The Doors, so on and so on.

Gone are the days of a 4 verse song that includes choruses, a bridge and a guitar solo. And that's ok, I'll just sit back with history and enjoy them.

In terms of new music, what music is released now that you could think of being 'popular' in 10, 20, 30 years time? is Dance Monkey by Tones & I going to go down as something you hear on Gold 104.3 in 2050 and in 2050 are the people who hear it going to go "God damn, I still love that song even today."

Y'know.. I wonder if I said to my Dad, who is 66, "Think back to when you were 16 and you're listening to the radio and the new song 'Stairway to Heaven' by Led Zeppelin came on. How did you feel about it? Was it just the pop song of the time, or did you think 'Here's a real timeless classic here?"

If I was going to go on about 'new' music... I'd be more inclined to post this:



She also uses an electric beat (up until she recently started working with a band) - but makes up in spades around it for all the other stuff she plays. I don't listen to Tash much by way of playing her stuff in the car or what not - but seeing these videos and having scene here live twice, she is an absolute marvel - talent by the bucket load.

I wonder if it will be like the Velvet Underground?

Lots of music being made now that has minimal mass appeal while the pop stars dominate. No one hears it aside from a few die-hards who stumble across them.

In time though it gets rediscovered and stands the test of time. Whereas the "confectionery" music doesn't.
 

Running Dog

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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.
Harsh... but true. I think this has been brought about by a couple of generations having been saturated in post-modernist sludge. When a chip packet has as much meaning as Shakespeare, who cares about objective quality? Just use electronics to make some kind of noise salad, toss in 'transgressive' attitude, and you're on JJJ. Yay. And when everything is believed to have equal merit, only a judgmental old fart would suggest otherwise.

It's not as though younger folk can't develop the skills needed to create, say, a contemporary Steely Dan. It's just that the idea of exerting creative effort seems to be beyond their comprehension.
 

Richard Cranium

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Harsh... but true. I think this has been brought about by a couple of generations having been saturated in post-modernist sludge. When a chip packet has as much meaning as Shakespeare, who cares about objective quality? Just use electronics to make some kind of noise salad, toss in 'transgressive' attitude, and you're on JJJ. Yay. And when everything is believed to have equal merit, only a judgmental old fart would suggest otherwise.

It's not as though younger folk can't develop the skills needed to create, say, a contemporary Steely Dan. It's just that the idea of exerting creative effort seems to be beyond their comprehension.
And yet a lot of what JJJ has pushed the past decade has been shitty hard/pub/punk-rock, or alt rock played by a bunch of cruisy cool dudes who just like to chill and give good vibes, brah. And whenever I tune in these days I hear way too much hardcore punk.
 

the_interloper

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Having access to most popular music in history on Apple Music means you don't really need new music, I'll never get around to listening to everything on there and I'm still discovering classic albums.
 

killtaker1993

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That Black Marble song is one of the worst things I have ever heard. Sounds like a bunch of high school kids just discovered Neu and Kraftwerk
 

killtaker1993

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And yet a lot of what JJJ has pushed the past decade has been shitty hard/pub/punk-rock, or alt rock played by a bunch of cruisy cool dudes who just like to chill and give good vibes, brah. And whenever I tune in these days I hear way too much hardcore punk.

Triple J plays hardcore punk? I don't think so
 

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