Is Rock ‘n Roll Dead or Just More Great Artists?

A friend shared a Rolling Stones article on Facebook not long ago by the former lead
singer of KISS, Gene Simmons. The article was titled, Rock is Finally Dead. It was
Murdered
. In one section Simmons laments, “Where’s the next Bob Dylan?
Where’s the next Beatles? Where are the songwriters? Where are the creators?”
He goes on to blame file sharing and the attitude of the current generation of
young people because they feel they should not have to pay for music.
I posted the following comment to my friend
who was a rock musician in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. “I’m not too into
music, nothing like you were back in the day, so here’s my question – Could it
be that there are more talented musicians who are exposed to the world thanks
to social media? More supply with stagnant demand would lead to lower prices. I
ask because I’ve come across some really talented people who’ve often made me
wonder why they didn’t make it as big as others who don’t seem to possess any
more talent. Thoughts?”
His reply, “Definitely something to how
fragmented the market is now that the tools to record and promote are in the
hands of the masses. There isn’t the same shared experience as when the
industry controlled things. But that being said, where is the new AC/DC? Who is
this generation’s Led Zeppelin? These acts will never be replaced, but who is
picking up where they left off? Where are the huge acts? It’s never been about
talent as much as what rock-n-roll meant, the experience, the songs. LONG LIVE
ROCK!”
The contrast phenomenon alerts us to the
reality that we always make comparisons to other things. Was Led Zeppelin a
great band? Many would say so in comparison to other bands past and present. However,
some might say the Beatles or U2 are more iconic compared to Led Zeppelin. What
music and musicians we like has to do with our musical taste and comparison
points.
I’m at the tail end of the Baby Boomer
generation. We love rock ‘n roll because we grew up on it as did some of our
parents. But when Bill Haley and The Comets introduced rock ‘n
roll to the world, many folks of that era thought it was trash. They preferred
the soothing sounds of Frank Sinatra, the Glen Miller Band and many other musicians
from the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s.
It’s quite natural for us to make comparisons.
It’s also normal for each generation to believe theirs (music, movies, books,
art, athletes, etc.) was the best and that the current crop has lost their way.
As I told my friend, the more musicians and
sounds I’m exposed to the more I wonder why some acts make it big and some
don’t. It’s not always about talent because many would say Gene Simmons and
KISS weren’t talented musicians, just great showmen.
Golfers play 72 holes in a PGA tournament and
one or two strokes, after 280 to 290 shots, is typically the difference between
winning and losing. Win a handful of tournaments and a player is deemed a star
even though he’s barely better (as measured by stroke average) than most other
golf professionals.
Unlike having to qualify for tournaments, when
it comes to certain artistic talents – like music – social media has knocked
down many barriers to entry. More supply means people pay less, even if some
new acts are better than the old ones, because we have more to choose from and
it’s easier to find what suits us best. We see the same phenomenon with
self-publishing books. With more books on the market to choose from there will
be fewer and fewer books that excite the masses than perhaps 50 or 100 years
ago when there was less to choose from. That might lead to fewer classics in
the future. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean the writers are any less
talented. Some might contend they’re more talented because it takes even more
to stand out now.
So what does all of this have to do with
persuasion? Each of us competes in the marketplace. For some it’s finding a
mate, for some it’s on the athletic field, others it’s business. Whatever we
do, wherever we do it, the challenge is to rise above the rest.
  • Why will someone want to hire you over the
    other bright young college grads?
  • Why should someone buy your music over the
    other artists?
  • What makes you stand out in your chosen field?

 

Until you can answer these questions you’ll be
perceived just like all the others because people will be making comparisons.
Your goal has to be to highlight your uniqueness. It’s a form of scarcity. What do you bring to
the table, or what combination of things do you bring to the table, that will
make someone realize they can’t get what you offer anywhere else. Once you
convey that to the right people you’ll stand out. You may not be the next
AC/DC, Rolling Stones or Beach Boys, but you’ll probably find your place and
enjoy your lifestyle all the same.
Brian Ahearn, CMCT®
Chief Influence Officer

 

influencePEOPLE 
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
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