Proper Use of the Term “Musical Douchebaggery”

Courtesy Deviant Art. Click on the image for more.George Howard has an interesting opinion on the state of music in his Huffington Post blog when musing about the success of Mumford & Sons and their recent Grammy nominations:

So, just how does a bunch of banjo-slinging dudes from the UK end up being nominated for Album of the Year, holding the number one album sales position for three weeks, and smashing the record for the number of Spotify streams?

The question is answered via a theory that I have that I’ve seen play out several times before; call it “George’s Law of the Ultimate Reaction Against Musical Douchebaggery.” In a nutshell this law states that the music industry always tilts inexorably towards a state of entropic awfulness, until such an extreme state of douchebaggery is reached that the system collapses upon its state of uselessness, and then — unexpectedly — something useful emerges.

Anyone denying that the musical landscape pre-Mumford and their ilk’s ascendance wasn’t largely a wasteland of musical douchebaggery either isn’t listening or doesn’t care.

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ 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.

2 thoughts on “Proper Use of the Term “Musical Douchebaggery”

  • January 4, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Nothing profound here. The author basically repeats what Alan Cross has said for years – that the pop music landscape is a follows boom-bust-echo paradigm. Over-saturation will eventually lead to the ascension of more genuine musical acts. Although, I would argue that despite the reputable list of nominees this year, we haven't seen a shift with pop music quite yet. Remember when Arcade Fire won Album of the Year in 2011? I think the quality of nominees better reflects the shift in attitudes of the recording industry rather than consumers, as NARAS seems to be getting better at awarding the most deserving acts.

    Also, since when does opening for Panic! at the Disco help establish your "hip bona fides"?

  • January 5, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    I compare what's going on now to the early 70's, when it was all soft-rock like James Taylor (Mumford & Sons), robotic-noodling like Yes (dubstep) and disposable pop like The Osmonds (Bieber) Well, we all know what happened…Johnny Rotten had something to say about that. Something will come along. It always has.


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