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Does Mainstream Music Still Exist?

February 14, 2009

As a regular subscriber to various musical blogs and news feeds, I cannot help but feel inundated with press about the new U2 record. Hoover even wrote about it recently.

But why?

Could it be because the music is so good/bad? Is it because there are no huge rock bands that are filling the void? Or, are we finally letting go of the last of the truly mainstream rock act and inevitably letting go of the mainstream altogether?

Animal Collective is a much hyped indie rock band. I wouldn’t consider their genre indie rock, but that is there world. The Pitchfork, Stereogum, Brooklyn Vegan world. The world that created The Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend. That is a big world, but that world is not mainstream.

Ellen, Oprah, and your local 6 o’clock news are not talking about Animal Collective. Yet for all my years on the Internet I have never seen, read, nor heard of the amount of hype that Animal Collective is getting. If you exist in that world, or are mildly aware of it, then you must have crossed paths with Animal Collectives album Merriweather Post Pavilion.  It’s huge. Yet they are not a mainstream act.

The big theory behind the new music world is that it will only be a world filled with niches. The indie niche, the jazz niche, the rock niche. Most pundits are quick to say that “of course the mainstream will still be there” but I argue that finally mainstream is now it’s own niche.

A music user can now skip the mainstream altogether. Mainstream media can be muted to the point where you can live your life without it, effectively taking yourself out and making the mainstream smaller.

The Jonas Brothers, Nickelback and the other so called mainstream artists do not occupy the place they once did. Their album sales reflect that trend. The mainstream is a niche and will continue to be a niche. The mainstream will try and fool you, telling you that they matter, but the more they push it down your throat the weaker they become.

Make music for yourself. Create your own niche. Make it small but deep. If you dig deep enough the mainstream will come to you but you will always have the higher ground.

Take Control of Your Music,


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3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 16, 2009 4:47 pm

    Hey Voyno,

    I think you hit the nail right on the head with this one. It is VERY apparent to see the effects of the mainstream becoming more & more fragmented every day. Any time you can have an act like an Animal Collective, or a Santogold, or a Lupe Fiasco, etc., pick up SO MUCH momentum in their niche yet be all but totally ignored by “media experts”, there’s an evident shift.

    Meanwhile, fans of all of the above would be very very unlikely to have Soulja Boy or Jonas Brothers at the top of their list in their Mp3 player. I agree with your conclusion, Mainstream IS it’s own niche.

    Hell, if it wasn’t for the fact that I organize a Social Cooperative and create media, I doubt I would even acknowledge that the mainstream exists anymore, lol.

    Great topic for discussion Voyno. I’d like to chat with you more in depth about this topic. Our e-mail is and Yahoo IM is unworldlife.

    But as always, you & Hoover do some excellent work here on NewRockstarPhilosophy,

    ~ Jamal and Jasmine Rose

    Un World Life – Artists, Activist, Altruists and Everyone else Disgusted or Left Out by the Mainstream

  2. February 18, 2009 11:14 pm

    “mainstream is now it’s own niche.”
    totally is, it kinda felt like it has been for the past year or so, it feels like people are turning away from the “mainstream” artists (besides the one’s that listen) and people are just moving with whatever music as a fad and totally making it mainstream.


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