Electronic and DJ music is sweeping the Grammys, apps let you tag audio at the Super Bowl, sites like uJam let you manipulate music with nothing more than your browser, and people record sound straight to their mobile devices. The lines are getting blurred when it comes to music creation. I had to defend the art of DJ-ing to a coworker of mine, who thought that DJs just made a playlist and pressed the play button on their console or laptop. Simply put, that’s not the case (most of the time).
It’s clear that music creation is much easier now than it was in the past. Clearly it’s no longer about how you make your music – you don’t need a guitar, piano, or a mic to be considered a musician – it’s what kind of music you make that determines your success, not how you made it. Any person in their room can consider themselves a DJ, but why are certain artists relegated to the bedroom while others find themselves performing in front of thousands? Simply put it’s the nuances of a mix, a vocal melody, or a beat that make a song what it is. Original creation is still a must. Even still, two different DJs can play the same song, but one somehow gets a little bit more energy out of the tune. It’s all about dynamics.
As technology improves, the cost to run an online business, create an application, store files, or create a song all decreases. But creativity is a constant. More creative people are enabled to make something that we call music, but we still need the creative people in the first place. What changes is how we define music. Some define music as any sound, others fall into a more rigid, traditional criteria for what constitutes music. As you see more and more categories pop up in the Grammys and more genres getting their own cultural piece in The New York Times, the more accepting people will be of all forms of new music.
This generation’s rock n’ roll might be rock n’ roll. But it’s also electronic music, hip-hop, and everything in between.