First of all, before we head into a discussion about "underground' and "commercial" I would like to ask an important question. What is art?
There are many definitions, but my favorite is the definition of Marilyn Manson, who says that art has to be a question mark.
I'd add that art has to push boundaries and to do so it has to grant you a freedom of choice. What do I mean by freedom of choice? Here comes the tricky part, and most probably the only part, the core of my idea about art and its effects.
I will start with the very basics to build up this idea from the ground up, in order to be as crystal as possible. We, humans start off in with a blank sheet. We have a functional brain that is perfectly useless without inputs. As we get more and more of these inputs that transform into information on the way will create our perception of the world. First we get simple ones, like breasts mean food, Lego Duplo is fun and if we kick the wall our legs will hurt and so on. Later, just like a good MMORPG, everything gets harder. The inputs will get more and more complicated, slowly but surely creating what Reggie Watt calls a "F*ck Sh*t Stack".
it is only a matter of time before masses of bedroom producers start jumping on the bandwagon As our view of the world gets more and more sophisticated, at a point our brain is likely to say, screw it, that's enough for me, let's stop right here. This is where the thing that I used to call in a previous article the "incompatible knowledge" kicks in. Incompatible knowledge is what it sounds like. When we already have a "sophisticated" view on how the world is going around, the most of us are having a hard time fitting in piece of information that undermines our previous knowledge. This is happening in all shapes and sizes at all times at the times of our lives. Sometimes it's about insignificant things, and sometimes it makes parents or friends to attack someone for having different views and ultimately tastes (in music).
Regardless the fact that I hate to generalize, I have to create two virtual groups of people, which are the early adopters and the fake conservatives. Early adopters had many names and forms along the history. They were referred to as hippies, punks, hipsters, you name it. The only problem with these labels is that as soon as the label was widely known and it was associated to a behavioral pattern and appearance for instance, that thing was already off the table for early adopters. Contrary to the popular miss-belief these people aren't changing their musical tastes to be different, what really happens is that they or the music they listen to shifts in a way that it wouldn't represent who they are anymore.
To translate it to non-musical fields this is the time when you find the definition of hipster on the webGenres are in a constant fluctuation between "commercial" and "underground". For instance, if an unknown genre starts to get prominence in the underground culture than many people will adopt it just because it's trendy and it's something new (even if it sounds MEEEH). But they miss the most important part, the "spirit" and the attitude that's lurking behind that music. To translate it to non-musical fields this is the time when you find the definition of hipster on the web and you also get a description of their clothing, behavior and tastes in arts. Or let's take another example. A few years ago a long beard on a young guy with skinny jeans meant that you met an open minded and somewhat cool guy. Now, as you run into a douchebag with the same appearance you'll rush to the closest bathroom to shave yours off. Of course, this is an exaggeration of the process but it shows the nature of the pattern perfectly.
But the real issue only comes after the audience of the given genre is on the rise and maybe there are a few original and yet successful producers on the scene. At this stage it is only a matter of time before masses of producers start jumping on the bandwagon flooding the scene with tons of productions. After you have to listen to a hundred tracks to find a good one than it will be only a matter of time before you look for something else.
There are also countless other reasons why some people are always ahead of everybody else when it comes to music, but we've covered some of the main causes. Maybe there'll be a second article on this topic, if I find the mood and time for it. Stay tuned!
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