Musicians have taken a unique approach with which to bridge the generation gap in the music industry’s demographic.

The corridors of music are constantly abuzz and the verb ‘to re-create’ finds itself perfectly at home within the pages of today’s music scene. One has to only tune in to a radio station or visit a music website to realize that a humongous number of genres populate the circuit. With so much to consume, there is a constant tussle between different generations to listen to their type of tune, be it at home or at a party. But something heady has been taking place within the corridors of music, where musicians seem to have captured a unique approach with which to lessen the gap, if not bridge it completely. This bridge has been built on varied versions of old and new songs, so that no matter when you were born, there are types of a song available that suit your particular taste.

RE-INTERPRETING MUSIC

There are more letters in the word 'business' than there are in the word 'music'.
- Anonymous

It’s interesting yet important to note that listeners are diverse and fickle and hence get restless for different kinds of melodies. Creating, or rather recreating, different forms of one track, is how the music industry very often survives. It’s a win-win for all artists no matter the genre they come from because if you want to your music to reach out to a larger demographic, it works to have varied styles of your track. It also opens up space in an already crowded industry for newer artists to step in with their re-creations and older artists to get their music passed around to all generations. With a population of 7 billion and counting, technology is changing how music is produced, distributed, discovered, and monetised. Reports show that in 2013, consumption of music was increasingly ‘on the go’. This has enabled greater reach for key global players in the music industry. One doesn’t really need to listen much to realize that it’s conspicuous consumption all the way!

TRANSCENDING TIMES

Music in all its interpretation is not a conspiracy, but a form of truth and integrity for those who practise it honestly, decently, and with all their being.
- Anonymous

Reinvention of a tune can take many forms. The track could be a cover, an acoustic version, an acapella, a jazz or blues rendition, a completely stripped down style, a swing or electro swing delivery or a remix, among other arrangements. And when these interpretations transcend the original recording, you have a brand new hit, something that’s popular with a demographic it may not have otherwise reached, and suddenly all the world’s an open dance floor, with each person grooving to the same song, but their own beat. What a picture that paints and what barriers it breaks down! Suddenly a 70-year-old can ‘Lean On’ and teenyboppers are claiming a mysterious he ‘Shot Me Down’!

TREATING IT RIGHT

You go through stages where you wonder whether you are Christ, or just looking for him.
- David Bowie

It all comes down to treatment and taste. Firstly, a track should possess longevity. Not all music lends itself to versatility. But, if, after being picked off a dusty shelf or a pristine digital rack, a track has been re-done in the right way, it gives the track a new lease on life that’s hard to ignore. Secondly, and in essence, an artist has taken something already there, played with its structure, changed it around, and given the power of discovery back to the consumer with something to hear that’s fresh and different. Knowing that there is a lot of music that bombards our eardrums everyday, musicians need to understand that anything and everything doesn’t go. There is discernment, and there is ample knowledge, both, with distributors of music, i.e. disc jockeys, music labels and stores, online platforms, etc, as well as with buyers.

OF TASKS & TASTES

There would be no new school without the old school.
- Vivian Scott

The older generation may find some newer tracks very noisy and favour a stripped down or jazz version of them while the newer generation might desire a remixed dance version of a retro track. Hence, tastes also play a crucial role in the crossing of this music bridge. There are two schools of thought on whether this music bridge is worth its toll. One acknowledges that these re-inventions introduce a host of songs to generations from whom it might have escaped notice for all time. The other school of thought is of the opinion that these arrangements work better for new songs being remade for older generations, as it feels like a desecration to take a classic like say Sultans of Swing and sacrifice it on the altar of electronic dance music. Both schools do agree though that the potential for musicians to play around with songs like this most definitely exists, as long as it’s true to the elements of the original, has an interesting interpretation, and holds up under scrutiny.

STAYING TRUE

It feels like one has taken just one beautiful strand of DNA from the whole and focused on it, re-created it.
- Dj Russel

When work like this comes together seamlessly, putting the needle on the record or clicking a track in iTunes becomes different only in method of delivery rather than music being listened to. Because, then what a listener, no matter how young or old, is left with, is a tune with a structure so seductive, it has locked within itself the history of its original music.

Ayesha Dominica

The author Ayesha Dominica is a fiercely independent writer, published since age 13. When she's not intimidating strangers with her love for polysyllabic words, she works as an artist manager for DJ Russel. She is prone to withdrawal symptoms if distanced from her books and is easily distracted by the colour yellow.  ​

 

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