Submitted by Peter Åstedt
I was in a conversation with a person in the music industry, let’s say the old music industry before COVID. They were complaining how everything now is just focused on social media and that was the only way to get out music to the masses. On top of that it was just “joke songs” as he portrayed the new songs that came out from TikTok for example.
Nothing really new, we always had “joke songs” but of course, with this new media, it will be easier to access them, at the same time the expectancy is not that long-lived. Who doesn’t remember “Gangnam Style” imagine if Tiktok had been around then? Or we can go back even more with the bird dance that was big in Europe in the 80’s. And my guess is each country has its fair share of really bad songs with a silly dance going with it. The difference here is that it’s easier to reach more people faster now.
But it’s not all “joke songs” right now I scrolled through my Tiktok and the songs I was exposed to was of course Lady Gaga’s Bloody Mary. The funny thing here is that I can’t listen to the original since it goes too slow, since I got used that the song being double speed on Tiktok. The new phenomena is that the listeners have created their own versions. Also, they can’t wait for the chorus long enough, so they speed the song up, instant gratification is the thing. To be honest I really only know the chorus of the Lady Gaga song and the full original song is not too much of interest to me. Then I was exposed to The 90’s hit Everything But The Girl – Missing and David Guetta & Bebe Rexha – I’m Good (Blue) which is a version of 90’s songs. And you can easily say that Eiffel 65 – Blue (Da Ba Dee) was a “joke song” in its time. We are reusing bad songs just like we always have done.
So why now? Of course, we are out of the Pandemic when people wrote sad songs all the time. Now we want the party and easy songs to get to. I bet that if TikTok survives long enough we will have other songs as well going around, sad songs, political songs, you name it. The problem I think is that Tiktok will be gone before that happens. It seems like we are changing platforms as fast as the songs.
When we have this climate where everything should go fast and instant gratification the album format is dead and many songs that are great will never be discovered? No, I think the live side will take that part. I know so many songs I have discovered at concerts. Even artists I have known well suddenly play this obscure song and you just like it since you will be forced to listen to the whole song. The reaction to the climate that we are in is always there. When we have listened to many funny songs then we go back and listen to the sad ballads and so on. Styles come and goes. We have heard it before, but for an artist of today it is all about creating something new and being a trailblazer, not a follower.
Editor’s Note: Peter Åstedt has been working in the music industry for over 35 years. He has started record labels, distribution systems, and publishing companies. Peter also runs several major showcase festivals and is an advisor for INES and co-founder of MusicHelp/Discover Sensation. He has worked with the Top Ten most streamed songs and had music on both the Olympics and Super Bowl. Peter has currently taken up the seat of Station Manager of Cashbox Radio, working with MD, PD and station owner, Sandy Graham. In 2021, he worked as the European Consultant for Heal the Earth – An Earth Day Celebration. His latest venture is a new Showcase Festival in Sweden, Future Echoes futureechoes.se/. Peter is a Managing Partner and Editor of the legendary Record World International and also sits on the Board of Directors for the Canadian-based charity, The Drive Foundation