New Music VS Old Music

by Matt Rawlings

Defining what counts as ‘new music’ and what counts as ‘old music’ is tricky. Suffice to say that the answer varies dramatically from person to person depending on their taste, which generation they come from and which stereotypes they subscribe to.

Whichever side of the argument you come down on and whatever your personal tastes and opinions, there are still plenty of opportunities to get hold of one-of-a-kind band merchandise on sites such as eBay.

Fans of old music focus attention on how older bands were more authentic, original and weren’t afraid of experimenting. They point to the way that ‘old’ bands were more passionate and were truly motivated by the music rather than money or fame. This is certainly true of bands like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and The Rolling Stones in the 1960s; The Who, Aerosmith, David Bowie and Bob Dylan in the 1970s; Black Sabbath, Metallica, Guns N’ Roses and Billy Idol in the 1980s; and Nirvana, Tupac, and The Red Hot Chilli Peppers in the 1990s. Old bands were the trail blazers and inspired and shaped the future of music.

For all the positives, there is no doubt that there were also downsides. For example the technology used to record music was nowhere near as good as the equipment used today. And who’s to say that modern musicians like The White Stripes, System of a Down, Kanye West and Beyonce aren’t fuelled by the same desire to create cutting edge music that pushes the boundaries and tells a story? I wouldn’t dare to suggest that Justin Bieber’s motivations aren’t purely about the music for fear of retribution from the hoards of ‘Bielibers’ that are on constant patrol across the Internet.

Pic: a Journal of Musical Things

And then there are the ‘new-new’ music lovers who only like a band or song while it suffers obscurity. These early adopters soon drop off once there is even the slightest hint of popular appeal.

New music does, of course, benefit from the latest techniques in recording and cutting edge kit that makes the job easier, quicker and the final quality of the track better. However, music commentators often talk about the fact that modern devices for playing music make these leaps forward in sound quality null and void. The majority of music today is listened to through smartphones and on-the-go music devices. These multi-function devices sacrifice sound quality to make sure they are also light-weight, take photos and perform a hundred other operations. In short, these highly practical and convenient devices are drastically reducing the quality of sound that we are getting and the more prevalent this is the more it is accepted as the norm. Youngsters are increasingly and unknowingly accepting tinny sounding music without question. This is where old music fans really despair – it’s a world away from the past focus on rich, authentic sounds.

Perhaps the question shouldn’t be new music vs old music but rather new, convenient sound systems vs less practical but better quality old sound systems.

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