Wash, Rinse, Repeat: A dead people school essay

Thomas Edison recorded the song “Mary Had A Little Lamb” on August 12, 1877. Since that time people have been recording and selling music for play on mainstream radio and 8-track tapes. The cost of producing and publishing music for consumers was so high, only the very rich could get a song into mainstream. Consumers listened to music without having a real choice. Mainstream media groups decided what was good or bad and what people should and could listen too. With the dawn of pop culture in the mid to late 1980’s a lot changed about how consumers receive music. The invention of cassette tapes and CD-Roms along with the computer revolution made it possible for anyone to produce and publish music through alternative methods. These revolutions lead to the birth of independent music and a change in what consumers can listen to and purchase. The changes are evident especially in today’s consumer society as pop culture’s music scene evolved into a downward spiral of repetitive lyrics written by authors and produced with little or no training. The repetitiveness in consumer music has spawned drastic changes in today’s consumer society.
But before we compare the effects of these variations on mainstream and independent consumer societies, what does music have to do with it?
First off, mainstream music is played on the radio and Top 40. It is well known to the general public. However, independent music, known as indie, is produced independently from major commercial record labels or their subsidiaries, a process that may include an autonomous, do-it-yourself approach to recording and publishing.
Today’s music regardless of genre so long that it is considered mainstream is repetitive. Roscoe Dash’s song, All the way Turnt Up is just one of countless examples of this fact. In this song the lyrics “All the way turnt up”, repeat for the first 46 seconds of the song and show up again several more times to repeat for just as long. When you consider that fact that this song is 4 minutes long and have been given a one liner that lasts for approximately 2 and 1/2 minutes of the song we are left with little time for actually lyrical content. This reduces the time spent listening to content that would otherwise provoke the listener to determine the purpose and context of the full song. This leaves very little to stimulate the brain.
Although repeating choruses are common in all music, independent forms of music that do not meet the mainstream standards have little to no repeating lyrics. Because of this the listener has the opportunity to engage and interact emotionally and imaginatively with what the song’s content is about. Stray Dog Freedom, by the band Bright Eyes has no repeat lyrics of any kind. It is a story about a stray dog that finds a home. But soon, despite the joys of luxury the dog runs away because he realizes his freedom is at risk. It is in this context of lyrical style that one can derive multiple meanings for a song based on personal experiences. In other words, the lack of repetitiveness allows you to think and causes the listener to engage with the song on a conscious level.
These two forms of musical preference whether it be independent or mainstream mediums plays a vital role in consumer society. If we take for example a consumer that listens to a more repetitive mindless type of music and view their shopping habits we will see how music and consumption goes hand and hand. People who buy into mindless mainstream music have a tendency to buy what they are told to buy from places they are told to buy from. They allow the media to dictate their shopping habits. Like those lyrics, their mind is only turned on to things that naturally repeat in their subconscious.
“Save money, live better.”, “Always low prices.”, and “Fast, Fun, and Friendly.”,are just some of the slogans that mainstream corporations use on constant repeat in their campaigns.
Individuals that have a tendency to listen to independent music have been seen to follow a different trend in the consumer market. Consumers who listen to independent music are exactly what the category implies, very independent. Rather than living off of what the majority constantly push, you will see these listeners buying from independently owned and operated establishments. Doing this is better for the economy. Rather than living off of a monopoly the local community will thrive off of one another. Rather than being told ‘on repeat’ where to shop a listener of independent music has the ability to think for themselves and use their imagination; something that mainstream music does not provide with its limited lyrical content of stimulation.
The truth is that the type of music we listen to dictates our spending habits. Until we can begin to think for ourselves mainstream corporations will always have the upper hand. Our economical growth depends on this independence.

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