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Requiem for lost expression: stick it to the man

Sophie Harms, Opinion

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In 1969, it cost a total of eighteen dollars to go to Woodstock Music Festival for three days. That’s pretty amazing considering that ticket would allow you enjoy some of the industry’s finest rock n’ roll at the time. It’s hard to imagine that for eighteen dollars you would have the privilege of experiencing artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Santana, in person.

What’s more amazing, is that in less than fifty years, tickets for the Coachella music festival have sky rocked to a price of $429. That’s not even the VIP price. The VIP Coachella ticket is priced at a thousand dollars! To be completely clear, that’s not amazing at all. In fact, that price is plain ridiculous. Since when have live music, plays, and festivals become something only the wealthy can afford? Art and music is something that has brought people together for thousands of years, how can we let money and enterprise be what breaks this connection we have with each other? We need to ensure that music retains its genuineness because it is mandatory for humanity to experience and express our own real and true art.

As time has gone by, success has become measured more by money than anything else. This music industry is no longer solely about music, it’s about generating as much money as possible. And why shouldn’t people make money? Musicians are selling a product that fans are willing to pay for. Coachella is proof of this, 99,000 people attended last year alone. If there’s a chance, who wouldn’t want to make the most amount of money possible? CD’s are no longer artist’s main form of revenue. And artists only get nine cents for each individual song downloaded on iTunes. Performing is their one chance to make money, so they make the most of it.  They have found a way to harness maximum income. We’re talking merchandise, VIP, drinks etc. They’ve just found another effective way to market a product to their audience. You can’t really fault anyone for that. All industries do that.

Except people aren’t just buying concert tickets and merchandise, they are buying a piece of fame – an image. These concerts are nothing more than selling a status symbol. People will spend so much money because they know that’s what it is. A concert is eighteen dollars, an image is a hundred at the very least. Just look at the people who went to Coachella last year – the cast of Riverdale, Sophie Turner, Rihanna, and Kendal Jenner. It has become such an elitist event. Concerts, music and art have become distorted. Songs are no longer created and expressed, they are bought and sold. Song writers are no longer writing songs, but marketing them. Concerts are there to make audiences feel special and famous for a night via the image it has marketed – buttering them up to get them to buy more songs and go to more concerts. Artists are no longer creators and expressionists, they are performers who sell popularity. Music and its art has been lost in this industry’s capitalism.

The only solution to this impending industry is to stick it to the man. Take these performers with a grain of salt and listen to what speaks to you. Do not buy the popularity and image that they will try to sell to you. Find connections, emotions and art in music that strikes a chord with you. It may be some song from five decades ago or one from the top forty list on the radio. As long as it’s you who chose it. Not your friends, co-workers or siblings. Do not be peer pressured into giving up your preferences to satisfy others. This is how to return genuineness to music. And lastly, forget concerts. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to prove your dedication to an artist. You certainly don’t need to go to one to prove your self-worth. Stick it to the man and invite some friends over to jam out and listen to some music together. Enable music to bring people together as it has for thousands of years. Let peoples’ joy and connections to the music and each other create the essence of the concert because that is the real and true expression of art. That is humanity.

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Sophie Harms, Writer

Najae Brown is a grade 11 student at KSS who occasionally eats breakfast at Okanagan Collage. His favourite colour is blue and he enjoys playing soccer...

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Requiem for lost expression: stick it to the man