The Decline of the Music Industry

Click bait for sure!  Actually, this is Frank Zappa's opinion on why the industry declined, but if I would have put his name in the title, many would have skipped over it.  I personally never connected with Zappa's music, but I do agree with what he has to say here.
The grain of truth in there is it started going downhill when people started making decisions based on how music can be used to control other people.
The beginning of the end was the death of Top 40 radio. These days, every station is specialized to one genre of music so no one is exposed to anything new. I listened to WLS and WCFL in Chicago (RIP) in the 60s and heard, and learned to appreciate, a little of everything.
KCRW out of Los Angeles made me like living in Southern California. The best radio station I have ever heard. Eclectic to the extreme.
He says that all was going well when artist created and man with cigars let them do in the sixties....Censors comes in the music industry first it seems after that...

In reality it begins in Hollywood first before that , but with censors from an apparent opposite ideology... 😁

«Censorship controls (power) is the same office for Heaven or for Hell, it is more economical this way... »- Anonymus No Name

«The seeds of decline are in the fruit of maturity»-Anonymus Smith

«Do you mean i cannot remarry at my age?»-Groucho Marx
When Stalin and Hitler decided that Composers should only write works that enhanced their own agendas, and killing the non conformists, Classical Music began a slow death
Censorship is not the exact word for understanding Hitler and Stalin country...

When you risk your life composing, like Shostakovitch, you censor yourself FIRST, like he did... You dont wait to be censored....The real censors work less....

And when you are there, Art is already dead anyway....

Censorship is a mild way; between permissivity, and total freedom, and exil and execution....

There is a subtle censorship emerging in America today....No execution of writers for the time being in US. tough , no forced exil of artist also.... No samizdat....Nor any forced emigration of " Einstein" like scientists in mass and hundred of artists and scientists coming from the US to Canada for example, an other country very fond of subtle censorship now....For the time being for sure.... 😁 We dont know tomorrow....

Is a new dictatorship never seen before coming? With new subtle form of censorship: a new king of auto-censorship like Stalin and Hitler never dreamed of ?

Reading Aldous Huxley i think so....I see an economical-technocratical censorship head proposing his horns and workin in a reverse censorship, erasing all boundaries between private life and public life....Tomorrow our toughts will never be ours only....You dont see it? Being alone and because you are alone, you will be the suspect...

I go back to undeclined music.... Too frightened... 😊
I don’t necessarily think the music industry has declined as much as it has lost some of its relevance to some people and even some musicians. Especially with the internet. There is so much out there and so many ways for people to hear and experience great new music of all kinds whether released by a major industry record label or not. Imagine if Zappa was around today!  I remember when Zappa was selling albums by mail order through cassette cd and record sleeves. You had to fill out a form and mail it somewhere with a check enclosed! I think he really would have liked YouTube and other platforms to get his music out. 
Zappa (rightfully) had a major beef with the Parents Music Resource Center PMRC which he references at the end of the clip. The PMRC went under in the 90s I think and now we have Cardi B singing about her WAP. Which I think is awesome. I’ve never heard the song but it made a good meme.  You don’t need to hide your satanic lyrics by backmasking anymore. Rob Halford was THE DEVIL back in the day, now he is more village people than Anton LaVey. The kardahians wear satanic and pagan symbology on their t shirts without realizing that kids were completely ostracized for liking slayer and Iron Maiden as recently as 30 years ago. 
Subtle censorship and cancel culture is not something I am well versed in. I feel like there is danger there but I can’t put my finger on it (perhaps this is an illustration of how insidious it is).  But I don’t think the PMRC would be too happy to see WAP get so much traction (so to speak).   
I pray daily for a frank zappa box set.
  The complete Zappa studio recordings”

  maybe some day, any longer, and all his fans will be dead. 
I’d agree with Zapp.

The entire world is now facing a creative death by algorithm.

Only numbers count, and mavericks are no longer welcome.

Freedom is undesirable and free speech intolerable.

The consumers are divided, discombobulated and programmed to willingly get injected with processed garbage. This is the age of the earbud.

The music industry did not help things by the way it huriedly sought to discard one of digital audio’s few advantages over analogue.

Just whilst driving today I was listening to The Jam’s 1997 compilation Direction Reaction Creation. This 5 disc box is highly regarded by some over on SHF but after a couple of hours I began to feel a little sick listening to the sound.

I don’t know exactly what terrible thing they had done to the sound. It seemed ok on a casual listen but then I noticed that on the harder tracks such as Modern World, Down in the Tube Station at Midnight, Start, Going Underground etc there was a horrible sensation of flattened dynamics.

It was as if the edges had been toned down in favour of a little more smoothness.

Smoothness (via compression?) that the originals never had! 

So now I’m going to have to find some earlier CD pressings that sound halfway decent. That don't sound as if the music is being sat on by a large record company executive.

Anyway we shall never give up, we’re still human beings, not numbers.
"creative death by algorithm" 

Can i borrow you this marvellous expression? If not i will take it anyway....

I apologize.....
Maybe the death of music is because for the most part, life is too easy.  With the coming generation, things are really sucking for them.  If they can get away from synthesizers and learn some skills, perhaps they can turn that angst into something rebellious and interesting?

I think it is one of the reasons for the rise of black/ethnic "pop" music through the 90's into the 2000's. Everyone else had it too good, so there was not enough "emotion" to drive the song writing.

Please don't take what I am writing as racist, I am looking at influences and how that differed by race. I find it interesting.

"White" pop had a peak in the 80's. It was a reflection/culmination of life. Hey, look at us, we have prosperity, no one is trying to nuke us today, walls are coming down. Let's celebrate life. Prior to that, there was lots of angst about any number of things, so songs either reflected it or escaped it.  You of course still had good stuff after, but "happy" that is so meh/80's.  However, those that didn't get to partake in the enlightenment still had angst and perhaps even more anger. That gave rise to black pop music with edge, and we could say the "escape" of latin.

It's funny, because looking at China, they have a developing music scene, but it is like U.S. radio in the 50's --- all shiny and happy, because that is all that is allowed. I wonder if there is not some interesting underground as I am sure there is a lot of buried angst.
Please don’t take what I am writing as racist, I am looking at influences and how that differed by race. I find it interesting.
Your reading of the society conditions related to music are so filled with ignorance and biases that i cannot even correct you in few words...

I think you were arrogant and now i think you are pathetic....

Do you really think that poverty affect differently people depending on race?

The reason for the decline is decline in general education, music included, and technological dependency....Time spend on a computer is not time spend on study and playing violin....

Bob Dylan was litterate for example that has nothing to do with race....And Rap is all in the text, metaphor and poetry....Because of the situation of black people in US the most strong expressive means chosen  was Poetry on a beat....

 Education subordination to money explain  social condition not races distinction....

That’s okay mahgister, I think you burned out too many brain cells and you ramble because you like to hear yourself.

However, dismissing what I wrote, while taking a childish and lazy way out, gets you no honors, at least in my book.

If you don’t want to live in reality and talk about the real world, then you go ahead and leave it to the adults who are not afraid of more difficult topics.

You, the op perhaps, and zappa say "decline of music" but what you really mean is decline of music that you like or appreciate. Not everyone feels that way, and if you think factors that affected large swaths of society as a whole do not influence music and the people who make it then you have lost touch with reality. Poverty may be poverty, but if a poverty rate of a portion of society goes from 25% to 5%, then you will have far less music about poverty in the portion of society. When is the last time you heard a song about the Russians nuking us?

People are more educated and more diversely educated than they have ever been. Most popular music is created by people with a passion for music, not because their parents forced them to study violin. If there is never another violin virtuoso alive, my life won't change and neither will most others, though I am not sure who will perform the next Star Wars theme.
if you read my last post there is an ARGUMENT....

If i read your post only insult.....

Who is the adult and who is the child?

I will repeat my argument because it seems difficult for you to read a text:

Education subordination to money explain social condition not races distinction....
The musical decline itself come from a lack in education and the time passed with technological artefact....

There exist many other factors but they are less impactful than these 2....

People are more educated and more diversely educated than they have ever been.
You confuse being informed with being educated....Information has nothing to do with being educated....It is related but is is absolutely not the same thing.... Being connected to wikipedia is convenient but that dont give to someone the thinking process to analyse what is "timbre" in music or acoustic.....Or that dont give Bob Dylan his mastering of poetry....Information is raw fact and bits, not thinking process immersed in an art, or in science or in philosophy..... Culture and education are NEVER about information in any way, especially before college.... Education is learning how to live a life not how to use a coomputer....

Education change with time, you are right about that, but the thinking process of human is linked to their mastering of language and body, not computer or information.....This will not change except for the technocrat of transhumanism....
Arguments are only arguments when they are factual. There is no factual basis for stating people are less educated, as they clearly are not. Your attempt to define "education" as it suits your argument is straw-man.  There is probably less music education, but, at least with popular music, it is not apparent that there is a high correlation from "forced" music education and a drive to create popular music.  Even the notion that there is a "decline" in music can be argued against.

You are basically throwing stuff against a wall and hoping it will stick without showing correlation let alone causation.
@audio2design: "I think it is one of the reasons for the rise of black/ethnic "pop" music through the 90’s into the 2000’s. Everyone else had it too good, so there was not enough "emotion" to drive the song writing."

I assume you’re African American? If not, feel free to explain, truly, what exactly "black/ethnic ’pop’ music" is and how you have any agency. @mahgister has it right - that statement is about as ignorant and general as you can get. Please - how about some examples of this genre from that time period? And Id love to hear how "everyone else" had it so good. Like my classmates in our Appalachian high school with a mean family income of less than $27K a year. I assume we had it good.

And this gem - ""White" pop had a peak in the 80’s. It was a reflection/culmination of life. Hey, look at us, we have prosperity, no one is trying to nuke us today, walls are coming down. Let’s celebrate life." -- applies to 1989 and onward - not the rest of the 80’s. I mean, "Walking on Sunshine" and "Take On Me" and "Jump" and "Caribbean Queen" were all mid-80’s, in the heart of the cold war and the threat of imminent nuclear annihilation, and those aren't exactly dirges.
You are basically throwing stuff against a wall and hoping it will stick without showing correlation let alone causation.
You exhibit intelligence and stupidity in equal amount for sure...

Why dont you apply this observation about your own race musical analysis?

Education if i simplify it to basic, before majority, consist mainly in the mastering of language, mastering of the  body, and mastering of  nature ( science is best teach in and about nature).... education has nothing to do with COMPUTER....NOTHING... Being informed is not being educated even for an adult....

Computer can be secondary tool not the main one in human education...Except when there is no other human alternative....

@tjkurita "The PMRC went under in the 90s I think and now we have Cardi B singing about her WAP. Which I think is awesome. I’ve never heard the song but it made a good meme."

It’s a catchy song that actually celebrates feminine sexual agency and power. Male singers have been singing about their own sexual proclivity and aptitude for years, so "WAP" is a good rejoinder to that.
@simao “Caribbean queen”!!! What an awesome track!!! I am going to listen to that tonight while I read the suddenly very volatile comments in this thread.  Also going to check WAP!  The beauty of streaming services. And they say the music industry is in decline...
@tjkurita That whole album was pretty good when it came out. The original title of that track was to have been "Mediterranean Queen", but marketing music peeps thought that wouldn't appeal to the lucrative American audience, so Ocean changed it. 
@tjkurita Just make sure you have a bowl of macaroni handy while you listen to "WAP"
I don’t remember (and I remember it well), people giving much attention in the 80’s to nuclear war. Not at all like the 70’s and 60’s. The Soviet Union influence and decline was already in motion. Sure you had songs like 99 luft-balloons, and Forever Young, but 80’s pop was super happy overall, and it really peaked just as the Soviet Union was collapsing, and it was, like rock before it, almost exclusively white. Music from the black community, and I won’t call it African American as that would leave out the UK and others, had popularity in the 80s/90s, but the most popular was happy and not edgy whether Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, or Whipme Houston.

But as the 80’s progressed, if you wanted "edgy" music, music that spoke to youth either disinfranchised, or wanted to be, and certainly through the 90’s and 2000’s, it came predominantly from the Black community, through rap, hip-hop, urban. In the 90’s it was Janet, Mariah and Darius (Hootie and the Blowfish), in the 2000’s it was 50 Cent, Lil Wayne, and Usher, and I would throw in Eminem for the genre. Have you looked at what the top artists are with the <=25 crowd for the last 10-20 years? ... Ed Sheeran is not their Who/Stones or even Depeche Mode. If you can’t take off your "I am offended by everything" hat, then just exit the conversation. Whether rap, hip-hop, urban, it reflects angst, anger, or just being rebellious ... what drove much of what all those old white audiophiles thought was great "popular" music in the 60s, 70s, 80s.

The rise of latin music to me more mainstream language agnostic is a combination of demographics, but more so readily available streaming like you-tube. Perhaps cultural reflection, but it it generally happy music, and people need that escape too.

.. and whether I am black, white, or pink with blue pokadots does not change the argument.

simao1,147 posts01-27-2021 7:29pm@tjkurita That whole album was pretty good when it came out. The original title of that track was to have been "Mediterranean Queen", but marketing music peeps thought that wouldn't appeal to the lucrative American audience, so Ocean changed it.

Its and interesting comment. While music is popular world-wide, English countries really drive the dollars. Despocito may be the biggest on Youtube, where most streaming is free, but on paid sites, Ed Sheeran is the big dog. Psy was initially a bit "dismissive" of the U.S. till someone reminded him that virtually all his income was from the U.S., UK, as artists by law pretty much can only make a pittance in Korea for their music. They can make good money touring, but from the music itself,little.

Nobody was ever able to predict what would hit. There were some notable record men (I can’t think of any women who ran labels back in the day) who had a good ear, or were artist friendly. Mo Ostin at Warners in the ’70s built a substantial empire, and those young guys he hired produced some great records. That company was regarded as artist friendly. Chris Blackwell was adventurous in his musical tastes and signed a lot of different acts that helped define the sound of several different genres: from Crimson and Tull to Bob Marley (throw in Traffic, Fairport Convention, Nick Drake, U2 and a whole catalog of others). He was regarded not as a suit but as a guy who respected the artist. There were others.
There was always a tension between the artist side and the bean counters. That was true in the cigar chomping days and was true even during the late ’60s. The ’70s seemed to reflect a shift from London to LA and the singer-songwriter scene (I’m leaving out The Band, who were regarded as musician’s musicians by many and did sell records, but that whole LA mob become a "thing" in the ’70s). I kind of dropped out in the ’80s-- I listened to everything from Bad Brains (Rastafarian punk played by fusion guys out of DC to audiophile crap. I really didn’t have time for music because I was working in a profession that serviced the music industry. Most of the people I dealt with were suits. Artists who made big money had day to day lawyers, agents, managers, PR people, personal assistants, and almost all the folks who serviced them had lawyers, accountants, PR people and personal assistants.
The bottom dropped out finally in large part due to a combination of things, not the least being the Internet and the ability to file share, the reliance on catalog and established artists rather than the risks associated with new acts (although I gotta say, I remember in the ’80s how much money was thrown at totally unknown artists to fund them through advances). There was push back against "the industry" that kind of peaked during the Napster era and by that time, the industry was effectively gutted. They weren’t selling as much in the way of physical inventory, albums weren’t even released on vinyl in the US-- you had to buy an EU pressing to get some stuff if you were into new music and there were so many other diversions for the youth market, including Internet gaming.
Music was no longer a thing you focused on as an activity but something that got played while you did something else. It was a cheap commodity, made cheaper by how it was delivered. The expectation of "free" music made it hard to compete. It became even more niche as we turned the millennium.
I don’t pretend to completely understand any of it, though I witnessed it, was part of it in some ways and have some ideas about how music reflects culture and how culture can change music. Can music change culture? Yes. I think so.
In a way, and this is way beyond the scope of the thread, I think we are between epochs; we have lost some or much of the old, and the promise or potential of the new has not been fully realized. I had hoped to be driving a jet car by now, based on watching the Jetsons in the ’60s. The younger generation? Man, I know a guy-- thirties- majored in music in school, plays, but not for a living--huge knowledge of jazz, eclectic modern stuff, old school funk, etc. We trade listening notes.
I can still get excited firing up a record I haven’t heard or listened to in a long time. That, at this point, is largely what it is about for me, but I’m from an older generation of audiophile/listener. We’ve been talking about the death of the high end audio industry for decades, but through thick and thin, it’s still there. Stuff changes. C’est la vie.
audio2design943 posts"I don’t remember (and I remember it well), people giving much attention in the 80’s to nuclear war. Not at all like the 70’s and 60’s." Oh stop. You clearly don’t remember it well. I started out wanting to take your side but the others are right, you are just making crap up....The 80’s were all about the Cold War and nuclear war. My "well regarded" college forced me (and 8000 others) to watch the crap Made for TV movie , "The Day After" in 1983 and the overtly fearmongering "Nightlight" afterwards about how Reagan was going to start WW3. Forget "Mr Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall"? How about No Nukes Concerts and Protests in US cities, how about the Doomsday Clock which, supposedly, was at, 1 second to midnight before world, the Reykjavík Summit when every television "expert" told us we has lost the Cold War? Forget the riots in London and Brussels as the Pershing Missiles were being deployed to Europe? How about Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, CSN, etc leading the Unilateral Disarmament Marches? Hear of Lech Wałęsa ? John Paul II being shot by a Bulgarian Security member, the 1,000 of Soviet dissidents, the near-like nuclear flashpoint of the Soviet shooting down of Korean jetliner 007 in 1983, the tales of genocide from Siberian Gulags. You really do live in a bubble. How else could one justify such blitheful amnesia, or perhaps it’s just a blindspot for being horribly wrong about positions taken, that in retrospect, were some of the worst things to be wrong and vocally opinionated about, in any lifetime.....
We learned long ago that businesses have three basic phases and 4 steps to ruin:

1.  Genius creates whatever
2.  It sells, and genius realizes he has no idea how to sell stuff, so hires a guy to market and sell it while she/he continues to invent and improve and innovate 
3..Sales and marketing team can not manage the money, so they hire a money team to deal with it.
4.  Money people take over the organization and start telling the genius what to "invent," when to release it for maximum money making, and then begin running the business and minimizing everyone else.

Happens every time!

There was a time when music literacy was, if not the most, one of the noblest of all human endeavors. As recently as one hundred years ago or so there was nary a family that did not include a member who was a moderately accomplished musician; or better. Families gathered to listen to a member perform and often to sing along in reasonably decent harmony.

Irony of ironies, a mechanical device, the phonograph first conceived and intended for use in business not for music storage or playback would change everything.

John Phillip Sousa, one hundred years ago:

”The time is coming when no one will be ready to submit himself to the ennobling discipline of learning music. Everyone will have their ready made or ready pirated music in their cupboards. Something is irretrievably lost when we are no longer in the presence of bodies making music. The nightingale’s song is delightful because the nightingale herself gives it forth.”

@mikeydred  and don't forget about Matthew Broderick and Ally
Sheedie in "Wargames"

A nice and clear explanation.

But how do we get out of this nightmare scenario?

Just how do we regain some space to breathe, to create and to express?

And most importantly, to enjoy?

It was bad enough that revenue from music sales went south years ago, leaving us back in the pre-Beatles era where artists made their money by touring.

Unless they were Elvis who could walk straight into Hollywood.

However, right now there's next to no opportunity for artists to tour and play live.

Now that creepy/sleepy (take your pick) Joe has been installed safely behind a wall of MSM and Big Tech (and some 7000 troops) we might just see some of the restrictions lifted shortly. 

Or we might not. 

I guess we're all getting a good taste of what it might have felt like being a teenager living in the pre Rock and Roll era.

Then out of nowhere came Bill Haley, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Buddy Holly, and Elvis. Not to mention Brando, Dean, Hopper etc.

Many Brits have a similar affinity for those heady days of loosely regulated pirate radio in the early 1960s. Both Radio Luxemburg and Caroline are still especially fondly remembered by some.
The decline of music cannot be explained by only internal factors proper to this industry only...

The general decline of western civilization is linked to this musical industry decline...

Most people dont see this decline invoking for example booming new technologies...But empowering technology and technocacy is not culture nor science in itself...

This is the bad news...

The good news ia materialism of the last hundred years is terminated .... Humanity is at a forked road in evolution...

True science in all areas pointed to consciousness being the fundamental phenomenon not matter which is a fiction by now created by sense and habit....

We can predict then after the chaos of the actual uncertainty a Renascent creativity in all areas, music included, before the end of this century...

It’s true even in the early days of rock music artists were perceived as rebels, highly independent and not subservient to others. Then success and money kicks in and as we all know always  “just follow the money”. So much for artistic freedom.
If I might venture a guess, I think the difference between music now versus decades ago is that the criteria for judging talent has changed, not only for music but for the movie and TV industries as well.  I think today the singers and actors that get a shot are chosen first for sex appeal, including youth, rather than talent or experience (including life experience).  They haven't had the time or years of experience to develop what talent they might have.

Combined with the lack of talent in plot and story development, we get scenes with explosions, computer generated graphics, endless chase scenes and actors' knowing-looks instead of meaningful dialogue.  

In music, instead of well written melodies and clever lyrics, we get sexual innuendos and dancers doing stop-start antics and thrusting their limbs like they are warming up for martial arts action. "Its getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes . . It's so hot in here, I'm gonna take my clothes off!"  It's the aural equivalent of TV sit-coms . . all physical attraction, sexual innuendos and very little acting.

I think the difference is also related to the times. The 50's and 60's were more idealist, naive times with sincere love songs. By the 1990's, life and music and just about everything was about being wise to games, playing games on people and successfully manipulating and using them, proving yourself a playa.  I miss the old days when peopla at least seemed sincere. 
True there, @bob540 and kinda vapid post-Kardashian twerking, etc. but remember the Elvis hip grind was considered too risqué for TV back in the day? Sex definitely sells. It's certainly part of the appeal of music videos going back to the MTV era and earlier. With music delivered as part of an entertainment "package" of dancing, effects, etc., you aren't necessarily being asked to listen to the music, or the vocal abilities of a singer. (Perhaps that's one reason I don't listen to as many female vocalists these days as I did 20 years ago). 
At bottom, it's a business. And as someone pointed out above, there are the innovators and then the followers, hoping to cash in on a trend. Which leaves the A&R department (if it exists and isn't an algorithm at Big Data) trying to come up with something that is the same but different. That too was characteristic of the "good old days"---Doug Sahm was cast as a British Invasion rocker to garner radio time, but he wasn't a Brit and was actually pretty talented. 
I think we have all these niches these days, which may be a reflection of the society we live in. I won't use the "diversity" word, because it conjures up the social justice issues now associated with the term, but what I get a big kick out of is young people discovering old stuff for the first time. And for them, it's genre agnostic-- they can go from country, to metal, to jazz, to hip-hop. 
In some ways, that's cool, and contradicts the siloed nature of genre slicing. 
I know with friends that we have overlapping musical tastes like a Venn diagram-- areas where we share an interest and areas where I'm interested and they aren't and vice-versa. The biggest challenge for me in the last 10 or 15 years was to expand my musical horizons beyond my "comfort zone." I still can't get my head around some free jazz---it's just too cacophonous, but I've definitely become more accustomed to, and enjoy music that would have been too out there for me at one time. 
Personally I find most of the music that Frank Zappa did himself to be pretty much noise, which is probably why most people, even if from that "age group" can't tell you even one song he does. Perhaps he is not the best person to judge?
I would trace the beginning of this slide to the mid to late 70's when music really became a big business, which soon led to music being labeled as "corporate rock" (Journey, REO Speedwagon, etc). For me, the final nail in the coffin was the 2016 SXSW Music Festival.

I had attended SXSW every year from 2002 - 2016. Opening night (Wednesday) always featured unknown and/or unsigned artists. From 2002 - 2015, I always made multiple worthwhile discoveries; but, in 2016 every showcase that I attended on Wednesday featured people (I refuse to use the word "artist") that: 1) Could not write a decent song  2) Could not competently play their instruments  3) Could not competently sing their songs.

@bob540, your post makes many valid points and they reminded me of the following lyrical gems:

A) "The world is turning Disney and there's nothing you can do" - THE BEAUTIFUL SOUTH (1996).

B) "I am using you, am I amusing you?" - MARTHA & THE MUFFINS (1983) 

Given a choice between Nelly doing Hot in Herre, or Shirley Ellis doing Name Game I will take Hot in Herre any day. How repressed does society need to be for a song like "name game".  I don't pine for that lost era one bit.

Ed Sheeran and Adele are two of the most popular artists today. Are you claiming they are not talented. I can't stand Drake personally but obviously talented, like Eminem whether you like him or not.  The Weekend?  Latin pop? 

With almost no sales of recorded material, just streaming, it is difficult for artists to get started and hone their craft. "Groups" can't hold it together long enough to get good and get their break. I think that is why solo artists dominate now. Even simple societal things like an excess of structured play (even including music lessons) can have negative unintended consequences.

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You might as well admit it. Music of the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s were the best time for popular music. Is too obvious at this point. You still hear and see the influence from those 4 decades because it was innovative, ground breaking and artists actually cared for their craft and were original.

Music in those 4 era’s was the main thing in youth culture. There's a reason why Prince said the it was the golden era. 

Music declined in the 90s