Commercialism Or Evolution?

Do bands change in order to earn more moolah or as part of their evolution? Is it a commercialism or it is an evolution?

Ultimate Guitar

Change is constant. It is a continuous process especially in the music industry where fashion trends and tastes continually change. Hence, it is necessary for any band to stay successful to release music that appeals to popular audiences. However, music is about self expression - one can not be satisfied unless the music one creates is expressive. This doesnt mean that Nickelback are creative or not, they are new to popular music charts and like other bands that burst on to the charts, they have discovered a formula that works, or worked. They are not experienced enough to realise that a such formulae are not the key to a long musical career.

Metallica is the perfect example of minimal use of such a formula which has lead to a long standing musical career. Metallica were revolutionaries in the 80's releasing music that was not only popular at the time, but also integrating self expression in order to create a new style. Metallica are unique. However, unlike most bands today, they realised quickly that they can not release simply another version of their hits. From "Kill'em All" to "St. Anger" - Metallica have continuously changed. I agree with this article because I purchased "St. Anger" and refused to listen to it - until I realised that Hetfield and Ulrich have always aimed to create new and fresh sounds. "St. Anger" is not about chart topping and selling millions of records, but it is about self-expression. The band has rediscovered their roots by writing with their hearts - the result is an album filled with expresive lyrics and emotionally charged, however simple musical arrangements. Bands and artists must realise that music is not about selling records. Music is about self expression - the popularity of an artist should not depend on how many records they sell, but rather their dedicated fan base and performance skill.

This will soon turn into a thesis unless I cut it off. If anyone has a response, please take the time to write one because I feel strongly about this issue - thank you.

25 comments sorted by best / new / date

    frigginjerk, i realize that you control whats said, and that you care for the cleanliness and professionalism of these boards, but dont you think that those who cant argue intelligantly arent going to be able to get their opinions across at all? i know their are fine lines, but a lot of people in politics are considered inarticulate or unintelligent, and they still have the right to get their points across. i mean, what are easily angered kids that cant control it supposed to do? handle it maturely? as if. that might take away the sense of assertiveness and anger that they need to get their point across. if they want to repeat themselves ten times, let them! theyll eventually see that theyre defeated, and when they resort to "big fag" just remove the posts! i dont see a reason to put boundaries on their voices; as long as they keep it clean why not let them make fools of themselves with ignorant and just plain stupid arguements? i know constitutional rights dont apply on a website, but ever consider that youre a little power hungry? judging by your articles, you seem to be an open minded person, but why keep posts short? and you must know that if these users want to cus their mouths off, theyll find a way, whether it be on ug or somewhere else. your rules seem a little too general and not clear enough. whose to judge if posts are too long, or if theyre appropriate? maybe you could lighten up on some people that want their points across but they cant with your rules in their way...
    AC/DC were awesome in their 'Whole lotta Rosie','Highway to hell',and 'shook me all night long' days of glory. But they became damn repetitive, and their monotony pissed the shit outta lots of their fans(i m 1 of them). Iron Maiden's story is somewhat similar...i dont have a problem if a band comes with new music of the exactly same genre again (as Ozzy does), but u cant rehash the same old thing repeatedly.
    I like saint anger but I agree with Mr fooz, Whats the deal with the snare? I'd like to hear it with a regular one.
    your right but you chose the wrong band to use as an example... metallica sold their asses out big time... how many albums is that? like 13?
    Your right mr fooz, AC/DC's sound is almost virtually unchanged, and people still like them, if metallica stayed the same as ajfa they would sell more than saint anger
    meant to say THAT is expressing yourself because they dint sell out...
    I disagree with all this "bands need to evolve to be good". Thats BS. Look at ACDC. Theyve stuck to the same formula for 30+ years and they still kick ass. Metallica hasn't released a good album since AJFA in many people's opinion, since they started subscribing to the "crazy guitar solos=doesn't sell records" idea. That's fine but look at St Anger. You can say they went in a new direction, but is that a good thing? Kirk was basically redundant on the album as there were no solos, lars' snare drum made me want to kill myself and the guitar riffs were getting very close to being numetal. I think for a band to survive as long as ACDC or Iron Maiden and stick to their guns, THAT is expressing yoey didn't sell out and try to figure out what would sell more copies.
    i dont kno why people dis metallicas new release st. anger. its just a new sound. i actually like it. some people just dont go well with change and that is what music is really about. how fun wouldit be if everything stayed the same? theres a reasn why we dont listen to the beach boys. it got old about 50 years ago.
    A superb bang-on article, dude. Music is indeed about self-expression, which is neglected by most of today's musicians who would like to churn out the same crap because it boybands(blue,westlife,bu sted,etc.), trance-fakers, and poser-bands,etc. Metal lica has EVOLVED as they have constantly transformed thier music style. But, Iron Maiden recently released their 'dance of death' which is no different from their earlier ones.I love both Maiden n Metallica. But,I couldnt listen to Maiden anymore coz it sounded the same, and their videos are too flashy and extravagant.The same happened with their "brave new world" album. Meanwhile "St.Anger" is music with reason and expression. Its true, that you have to dig yourself and excavate your expressions and create fresh and purposeful music.Metallica, Tool, Ozzy Osbourne, U2 are some GREAT examples. p.s. I hope you are STILL not angry on me, Frigginjerk! Sorry again.
    i'm gonna go out on a limb and allow some debate in this article, since the author has asked for it anyways. here's the rules: 1. If your argument is based upon another user being a big fag, then your post will be deleted. INTELLIGENT debate is needed here if this is to work. 2. Keep your posts short and relevant. Don't repeat your same position 10 times just because someone else disagreed with you. 3. Obvious spam and hate-mail will be removed. debate away!
    If there was no crap music, or commercialism, would we start to see real music as commercial? Because the way i see it is the bad music makes us grateful for the good music.
    that's definitely gonna get deleted. read the rules you ****. anyway. i agree to what the article says, though not totally. i don't know of any, but there are probably bands who express themselves without caring much about commercialisation, but don't get 'big'. imo there's should be a right proportion(sp?) of both.
    well the title is commercialism or revolution. well i think the commercialism is the revolution, know what i mean. cuz mtv and radio (mostly mtv) are promoting music that is purely based on commercialism (specifically rap) im not saying all rap is about bitches and hoes and cars and guns, but a lot of it is coming to that. i think mtv and the radio are vital distributers of information and they do help bands get off the ground, but i still hate it. so i guess my point is the commercialism is definitely necessary, theres no way around it, but i still hate. and my other point is that the commercialism is the evolution.
    I disagree partly with BassRamone. Music videos are not the cancer of music. For people who aren't regular fans of buying CDs can turn on the TV and get the good/bad music along with something for the eyes. If you don't like it, don't watch the music videos, but the CD you really want isn't going to disappear just because the music industry has changed.
    All music needs distribution. If there isn't, then no one would know about the artists that create it. I'm pretty sure eveyone has got in to music because of one hugely popular band.GREATNESS is all within the eye of the beholder. It's just that we view some bands as great and some as crap. But how many records you sell does make a difference, It represents how many people have recieved your message.
    man motorhead is the example of dedication in the process of creating music. BTW, sissy musicians will not change those formulas until music videos disappear. the video industry is the cancer of music. just think about it.
    Hm...well it's funny, y'know? I agree totally and I admire that Metallica has (tried to) evolve(d) but even so, some bands that have never changed or made a minor change are still revered, such as Motrhead. From the "Motrhead/On Parole" album to "Hammered" the sound has remained the same, loud, abrasive, with some tongue in cheek humor. Lemmy has remained a rock God, not because he's changed with the times, but because he remains a bastion of all things Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll.
    "the popularity of an artist should not depend on how many records they sell, but rather their dedicated fan base and performance skill." maybe this should be, but i dont agree. example: some band may be really skilled and have a dedicated fanbase, but if i dont like their music, i wouldnt care less how great they were, simple as that its all about the music, and yea it should be from the heart and not for money, but still i dont care, as long as i like the music
    i totally agree, there's alot about metallica but that's ok cause i'm a big fan :p