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Reflections of Society within the Music Industry

Putnam raises the point, as others in the class have mentioned, that more and more people do not wish to bring political topics into everyday conversations because Americans are becoming more individualy focused. I believe that a similar phenomenon can be witnessed within the music industry. Mainstream music has always reflected the interest of the majority of it's audience, so it would make sense that if a country was concerned with war, artists might write protest songs, where a society that is highly individualized would not. In the wake of the Veitnam War, we saw the rise of artists such as Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and The Sex Pistols, all with politically driven lyrics. Today, during the Iraq War, we see more artists being used as corparate tools to sell skin cream and breast inplants. Rather than focusing on topics such as war, hunger, and political injustice, mainstream artists like Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears, and Nelly seem to have a message that is more focused on individualized topics like sex, smoking marijuana, and uh...sex. This is a reflection of the individualization of our society.
This individualization of song content in mainstream music underlines a disturbing trend that reflects many people's reasoning for becoming involved in community organizations. People seem to think more along the lines of, "What's in it for me?" rather than seeing a bigger picture or asking "How can I make the world a better place". It is important to note that music is not causing individualization but rather it is reflecting it. So, assuming that mainstream music is still a reflection of mainstream society today as it has been in the past, we can tell from examining the music industry, that America is becoming more focused on individualized issues rather than problems that encompass the entire society. This may explain a dropoff in community involvement and political activism.


That is a great observation. An event that also relates to this is how most radio stations in the south still refuse to play any songs by the Dixie Chicks because they happen to have spoke out against the war. So, not only are most musicians straying away from the war issue, but those that speak on it are being discriminated upon.