One of the most anticipated things in life is a big artist’s next piece of work. It doesn’t matter what discipline it is. Painting, sculpting, architecture, music. As soon as an artist has any kind of buzz around them, the world is watching.
“What are they going to do next?” is the question. Although many people convince themselves that they are completely open-minded when it comes to music, most of them actually just want the artist to do the same thing they’ve been doing. After all, that’s why they fell in love with artist in the first place, and that’s the perfectly serene image they want to associate with that artist forever.
However, most artists aren’t content with simply repeating patterns for their whole career. Some are, and that’s honestly OK, but if an artist decides to take their music in a new direction, it’s our job as fans to support them. Here’s why:
1. It’s impossible to please everyone
If an artist’s goal is to play at big festivals all over the world, that will not happen unless the artist takes crowd-pleasing into account on some level. At first, everyone believes that they should sound original and come up with something new, but that’s not how it works anymore. To really make it, an artist first has to demonstrate that they can stand out and blend in simultaneously by presenting an original take on an existing style. Once an artist has a sizable fanbase though, they have to focus putting their own artistic vision first. Even if an artist is able to sell out a 1,200 seat theater, those are already 1,200 different opinions of what an artist “should” do next. No one has the same taste, and if artists spend too much time worrying about pleasing their fans as opposed to expressing themselves honestly, the overall quality of music will suffer. I’d rather have an artist come out with something amazing that I don’t happen to enjoy than put out something generic to keep everyone happy.
2. Artists are people too
The fans aren’t the only ones with opinions of how their music should sound. Something people often forget when they’ve only seen their favorite artists on giant LED Screens or under a massive lighting rig that could power half a city that they are people too. People with their own vision for their career, people with their own musical goals to accomplish. They may look like superheroes up there, but when it comes to actually sitting down and making the music, they have to look inside just like anyone else. Producing music is a very fun thing to do, and an artist should be able to have as much fun as possible doing it without worrying about internet backlash from disgruntled ex-fans.
3. Artists are the avenue for change in the music industry
Pro tip: the key to understanding music is by understanding artists. Knowing a bunch of tracks by heart is cool too, but when one really examines the evolution of music as an art form, the artists themselves are at the center. Literally every genre of music has had figures who changed the way music would heard or written forever. Classical had Mozart. Jazz had Louie Armstrong. Rock had the Beatles. If you were to truly examine how these legends combined and altered existing styles, you would see how much they influenced countless artists that came after them. Now, imagine if these same legends stuck with the first style of music that got them attention. It’s not a pretty picture is it? Even if an artist you admire releases music that makes you want to vomit, there’s no telling how that music will influence someone else. It’s like six degrees of separation. That song you hated influenced this person, who influenced that person, who influenced someone else who made a song you absolutely loved. Music has to evolve, it doesn’t just appear out of nowhere.
4. One of the best ways to expand your taste
Something I’ve always believed about music is that if there’s a genre of music someone claims to “hate”, it’s simply because it hasn’t been presented to them in the right way. As was previously mentioned, everyone has their own taste, but when people say they “hate” some genre, it’s almost always a very broad term like “country” or “rap.” It’s very likely that a person won’t like most artists that would fall under a certain category like that because of their inherent similarities, but there are so many country and rap artists out there, all with their own unique interpretation of what that genre means. The probability that not a single one of those interpretations will line up with yours is incredibly close to zero.
If an artist you loved suddenly started making a genre of music you “hate”, that proves that someone with a taste in music you respect immensely has found value in that genre. I don’t know about you, but that’s one of the best recommendations that I could imagine.
5. Change is inevitable
There’s nothing you can do to stop it. Everything is always changing, and that’s something everyone eventually has to make their peace with. Even if every artist on Earth only tried to make songs that ended up on Billboard’s top 40, that top 40 list would be changing just as fast as it now. All those artists would have different ideas about what makes a top 40 hit, which would in turn effect new artists ideas, and even though music as a whole would suffer from such narrow-mindedness, it would still be changing.
This might be a disconcerting statement for some of you reading this, but there will come a time when EDM fades into the background once again. Not because EDM is getting worse, or because of the negative stigma surrounding the scene, but because that’s the way it is. With that in mind though, shouldn’t artists use this massive, yet temporary cultural movement to their advantage and explore every nook and cranny of electronic music?
You might get bummed that your favorite artist didn’t dig up another banger during his expedition, but it’s 100 percent guaranteed that someone else will, as long as we let them.