By Matt Jackson, Contributing Writer
Over the past few years pop culture has experienced a sort of modern reformation. As our generation entered the Digital Age, it seemed the authenticity of our music and film would become lost in the fast paced structure of modern technology.
In the 1960’s and 70’s a different sort of edgy and modern renaissance took place in the United States. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Johnny Cash reshaped the landscape of the music industry, while films like “Jaws” and “The Godfather” rushed in the Blockbuster era of film. Pop culture hit a high note, often influencing societal norms and reshaping the boundaries of what art could do. Going to the movies, or sitting around listening to a record became the nation’s way of appreciating art. However, in this era of artistic reformation, the art was never free. With modern art becoming so easily accessible and free, how can it be authentically experienced? True art is meant to be fully experienced, not just acknowledged briefly.
Nowadays, instead of having to pay the price of a movie ticket you can download the same movie at a similar price from iTunes, or in many cases stream it legally or illegally online. Even more so than film, the music industry has become vulnerable to the mass consumption of media. Services such as Spotify and Pandora have made it easy for our generation to legally consume as much music as we want for free. It would seem as if true art could not exist in a culture that does very little to appreciate the effort that goes into providing the experience. Thankfully, many artists are finding inventive ways to counteract the creative boundaries of modern technology.
Popular and influential musicians such as Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, and U2 have chosen to use the element of surprise when it comes to releasing new music. This concept of releasing unannounced music is one of the best ways the music industry has adapted to the Digital Age. Because these artist have adapted to modern technology, music is able to have an element of surprise again. I remember how surprised I was on December 14, 2013 when I logged into iTunes to find out that the Queen Bey (Beyoncé), had released a full length album unannounced. For the first time in my life, I chose to sit down and listen to an album in its entirety. I experienced music the way I was supposed to. I had an authentic experience with modern music.
Modern musicians have been forced to take such drastic measures in order to protect the creativity they put into their art. Love or hate the artists, they are just in choosing the way we experience the art they have produced. Not only do the artists of today wish to have their product be experienced in an authentic way, but many of those consuming wish to as well. Modern movie goers still love the cinematic experience, as long as the film they are paying to see is worth the price of the ticket.
The selectiveness of movie goers has led to Hollywood being more mindful of the films they are making. Over the past few years mega budget films have largely only been successful if the story matches the effects. Although streaming services have arguably put a damper to the cinematic experience, one cannot argue against the creative success of Netflix original programs like “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black.” This sort of competition has demanded for Hollywood to make the quality equal to the price. So no need to worry, creativity in art will live on in the generation to come and in my opinion we may produce some of the best art yet.