By AISHA FARHOUD
“Rock hasn’t died, it’s just moved underground”
That’s what someone said to me when I told him rock was dead. At the time I thought it was just a nicer way of saying it was dead, but I’m beginning to realize that the underground movement in music is growing stronger by the minute with the help of the Internet.
Popular networking websites such as MySpace and Facebook aren’t just for teenagers looking to message their friends anymore, these sites are becoming powerful tools for musical groups. Musicians can create a profile and upload full-length songs off of their latest album, list upcoming tour dates and locations, post photos and articles, and, perhaps more importantly, include a link to a page where fans can purchase their album on mp3. Fans can add their favorite performers to their friends list, further increasing Internet exposure.
In essence, the music industry is changing completely thanks to these websites. 10 years ago we wondered what tiny media we would be purchasing for our music, as the bulky record had transformed into the cassette tape and then the nearly paper-thin CD. But with the advent of the mp3, tangible music media began to vanish. Even MTV has let music fans down, evolving from a kooky 24-hour music video channel into a commercialized empire that airs programs such as “The Hills” and “Pimp My Ride” over music videos in what looks like a ratio of 20:1.
A few nights ago I went to a concert of a band named I Am X (with Chris Corner of the Sneaker Pimps, a trip-hop group that had decent radio exposure in the mid-90s). I stumbled upon their MySpace page and noticed that under “Label” they listed “Unsigned”. Yet the turnout at the concert was fairly good, and they seem to have a pretty strong fan following, with some people travelling all over the state to see them perform. This means that even without label support bands are able to sell digital copies of their albums and organize concert performances; websites such as MySpace and Facebook help them do just that. The music industry has definitely taken notice. Universal Music even threatened to sue MySpace over “copyright infringement” in 2006, which arguably shows that they felt endangered by the website’s increasing prominence.
It appears as though television is following a similar path with the help of websites such as YouTube. In fact, I know several people who no longer own a television and instead watch their favorite TV shows online. Although YouTube frequently deletes copyrighted videos uploaded by users, this does not stop them from reappearing later, nor does it stop similar websites from offering copyrighted material (in a similar fashion to what happened after the music-sharing network Napster was shut down in 2001). We may even see independent television shows and movies appearing on websites such as YouTube in the near future.
The revolution will indeed not be televised, but rather broadcast over the internet for the whole world to see.
Aisha Farhoud is the Youth Editor of the Northeast News. She can be reached by email at aishafarhoud, yahoo
An Underground Movement via MySpace
By AISHA FARHOUD