If you think today’s music just isn’t very good, then you’ll definitely want to read this.

I’m not gonna lie. There’s a lot–and I mean a LOT–of contemporary music that just doesn’t do anything for me.

Part of it is age and the inevitable detachment from whatever the kids are listening to. Once you’ve been around the block a few times, you begin to hear cycles and repetition of musical styles, too, which means it’s harder to get that awesome jolt of music discovery. What’s brand new to a young person is rewarmed or recycled sounds from the past. And with age comes baggage, ingrained preferences, biases, and other bits of judgment that colour the way you listen to things.

Who hasn’t said, “Today’s music isn’t as good as it was when I was young?” And as I once read somewhere, “every generation has a biological right to believe that the music of their youth is the greatest music of all time.”

So fine. You might think that the stuff that’s coming out today just isn’t very good.

But what if you’re right? What if there’s measurable, empirical evidence that says this is so? This article from Inc. offers some pretty provocative opinions on the subject.

[T]he world seems to be mainly interested in listening to oldies but goodies. The streaming services and cloud-connected listening devices have given us levels of detail and precision never available before, which has revealed that most of the music that matters these days — more than 70 percent of what’s being streamed for example — is older stuff. Whether that reflects some nostalgic search for comfort and security or just a desire to have lyrics that are meaningful, intelligible, and not obscene, the fact is that a constantly growing number of consumers of all ages are listening almost exclusively to old music (catalog, in the parlance) rather than current material.

One reason for sure is that so much of the new music is just more of the same “hit it and forget it” junk, which is both a disappointing and a frightening phenomenon. These aren’t the instant classics of our youth.

And there’s more. Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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