WPGM Commentary: No Pop Versus The Music Industry

no pop
Let’s face the facts, it is damn near impossible to make a living as a musician. This can cause bands and artists to do certain things with their music, that seem to work well with audience, for the sole purpose of “making it big“. Cue the chants of “Hey” and “Oh”, being used to only entice the masses and create an easy catch that will stick in your head, or the always dreaded auto tune vocals, heard in all forms of Pop music nowadays.

As always, life finds a way. Enter No Pop. A movement created by Toronto blogger Lonely Vagabond, that is: “Anti-commercial, non-chart-friendly, also inferring there is no expiration date on music nor is it limited by geographic or regional boundaries”. It’s all about playing the music that you want to play, regardless of if it’s popular or not. It’s an idea that is needed in today’s world, which is dominated by the competition for Facebook likes and YouTube views.

Because of this new movement, bands and artists don’t need to do the same old thing. For years, musicians would play town to city, house party to venue and hope, one day, a record label representative would sign them. If signed, they’d do a commercially sounding debut record, a huge national tour, and then after 2 years, actually make the record that they wanted to make.

Then came the internet – labels got scared, and stopped taking risks on their musicians, causing the artist to go with what works. No Pop, allows musicians to stay true to their ideals, and grow accordingly, instead of “selling-out”. James Cain, of the noise-rock quartet Champion Lover, believes “it’s not saying that Pop music is inherently evil… its saying that it doesn’t need any more help”.

It seems whenever a music festival comes along, all media outlets focus on the same few artists. I don’t need a music website to tell me that Axl Rose broke his leg, or that Drake was in Anchorman 2, or that The Weeknd performed at the Oscars, these well-known artists get enough publicity from the rest of the internet. Whatever happened to reporting and sharing news on independent musicians and local shows, or news on the quickly growing scene in Hamilton?

Instead, every music website looks the same, and these sites don’t tell us what we need to know in order to support the musicians and artists we actually care about – the ones that are embedded in our communities, the ones who push the boundaries of the word “music”, the passionate growing song writers, and the ones that are our friends. This is a call out to online music publications and journalists, to go back and hit the streets, and rediscover what’s really happening in music.

Indie used to be the scene of independent artists and bands that created music in their parent’s basement. Now, it is really just a fashion statement. The word indie was stolen by record labels, to describe a genre, when really it just meant independent.

People started talking about and sharing the incredible music they were listening to, and eventually, media outlets were created for a medium to share independent music of all types, but some seem to have lost their way. No Pop is the true Indie. It is true independent music, that encourages you to express yourself, without the fear of being swallowed by the corporate Pop music machine.

Now all that’s left, is for it to be shared. So, if you watched an artist/band/group that really gave it their all, moved you in any way, or you just really liked the beat, share it with someone. The movement can’t grow unless we’re all doing it for the love of the music.

Hear No Pop discussed on Antony East’s podcast Drunk With Power (58:15) here.

Words by Antony East

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