An unfortunate growing trend in years past when just about anybody could call themselves a musician was the sudden lack of originality in the music industry. However, there is a change happening for the better nowadays and I believe it is going to have major ramifications on the future of how and why we consume music, especially in the electronic music scene. I’m of course talking about the rise of “antipop”.
Now, “antipop” is a phrase I coined myself, however I think you’re familiar with the idea behind it. At its core, antipop is the popular music that is anything but pop. In the past, we’ve called it indie pop, however it has evolved far beyond that point, as we see with Lorde’s dominance of both radio and record sales this year. Speaking of Lorde, her album itself resembles this new paradigm shift in music. In “Royals”, the young talent verbally deconstructs everything we associate with pop music, celebrity culture, and luxury. Lorde essentially pointed the mirror back at us and we ate it up in between Instagram selfies and TMZ Twitter updates.
However, she is not the only talent turning Hollywood on its head. We’ve seen acts like Daughter, London Grammar, and HAIM all launch their careers at rapid rates recently, mainly because labels are now discovering that the listener wants diversity. However, we are far from parity. For every Jessie Ware there are still five Miley Cyruses (although that is not necessarily a bad thing). The point being, we as consumers of music now crave something unique and different than before. Every music blogger in the world loves that special feeling where you hear a song on the radio that you discovered nine months ago. Today, everybody wants to feel that and the major labels are responding.
So what does this mean for you, the everyday EDM listener? It means that the sky is now the limit. If you thought that the record labels were starting to show interest in the electronic music hype machine, just wait and see what they’ll do next. A&R reps are searching the globe trying to find the “next big sound” and there has never been a better time to get discovered as a bedroom producer. Interscope Records, the people who bring you artists like Kendrick Lamar and Robin Thicke, are now immersing themselves in the electronic music scene, most notably recently rereleasing Zedd’s Clarity EP and digging up artists like Paris Blohm.
A word of advice however: do not fall into the same copycatism that is currently plaguing the Beatport charts. A generic record may get you a label release, but it does not promise longevity in the wild world we call the music business. Find a niche, perfect your craft, and market yourself accordingly. Once the big room house fad dies down, who do you think will still be kicking? Innovators like Ryan Hemsworth, CRNKN, and Avicii.
The music scene is always evolving, however this new shift may be its biggest in many years. Whether you are a creator, a buyer, or a seller, it may be time to ride this “antipop” wave and see where it takes you.