'Music Is Everywhere, Which Makes it Worthless,' Music Industry Expert Explains

How do you think the music world will change in the near future?

Ultimate Guitar

Music industry expert Simon Napier Bell recently shared his thoughts on the music world's current state, giving a few interesting predicaments along the way.

Noting that the music is constantly evolving and adapting as a sellable product, Bell noted: "Music is everywhere, which makes it worthless. Therefore live music must have more and more impact. You see it already in DJ shows. Visitors experience it like a Hollywood show."

Explaining to Face Culture how he always prefers contemporary music rather than being nostalgic, Simon stressed that the new musical movement and a way of sonic delivery is bound to come soon, praising the possibilities of modern technology along the way. "I like hearing record which are always in tune, instead of [the ones] which are always out of tune," he said.

"It's quite shocking when you go back to the '60s and you hear records and go 'My God, that was a hit! I wouldn't even send to somebody that as a demo, it's so out of tune and awful.' You go back to old-fashioned rock 'n' roll records, you almost can't believe what you're hearing, that we felt it was so wonderful and now sounds completely out of tune."

After noting that "it's never been about selling music," but rather about "the musicians finding music they can sell," Bell explained that the modern music will likely follow the same pattern as usual. "What will come along today will be much the same, and it will be to fill a lack," he explained.

"Concerts become boring or dull or uninteresting or audience needs to feel more participation or perhaps quite the reverse - they're fed up with participation, they want to have something which is absolutely no part of them thrown at them so they can be amazed. So that would all be a part of what's coming along; what the musical style would be, I have no idea."

The expert once again focused on the initial thought, adding, "Like I said, the more it's cheapened and thrown around in public all the time so you hear it endlessly in boutiques and shopping centers, the more the concert experience's got to be really remarkable. And I'm not sure [whether] classical music will fade away, because we're not physically adapted anymore to sit down and be so attentive.

"Probably we'll end up changing genetically," Simon concluded. "So I think the music will be more impactive, it will be more like the show, more like what the top DJ people do now. You go to a Tiesto concert, you get some extraordinary event, which is like Hollywood music blasting at you. I think concerts will be absolutely fantastic events."

Do you agree with a stance shared here? And how do you think the music world will change in the future?

53 comments sorted by best / new / date

    When a music industry expert calls music worthless you know there's something wrong with the industry.
    Actually, calling music worthless is very accurate and insightful. It's basic economics. If you have reduced demand for a product, its price gets reduced at the same time. Obviously, the musical "products," being CDs and other legitimate media formats, have very reduced demand these days because of illegal downloads. Other than that comment. This "expert" is full of shit. Sure, a lot of classic rock has imperfections and moments where the music is out of tune, but that's because a lot of it was recorded in few takes with analog equipment and no autotune! Real rockstars with no formal vocal or instrumental training will certainly not be 100% perfect all the time. But that's what rock is all about. It's about the attitude and raw grit. Modern music is taking out the human aspect of the art and it's really sad to see an "expert" buy into this digital new world order.
    "hollywood music"....says it all.
    before I looked at the paycheck which said $5932, I have faith that my cousin had been trully receiving money in their spare time on their laptop.. there sisters roommate has done this 4 only twenty one months and a short time ago paid the debts on their condo and bought a gorgeous Saab 99 Turbo. i was reading this ----- WWW.STAR58.COM
    Sleeping in
    Hey! Don't call music worthless! It means more to me than you could imagine! *whispers* Don't listen to the nasty man, he is so wrong. Seriously though, the are SO MANY bands trying hard to make it; I can't imagine a search for fame and money ending well for the majority. Even if one finds fame it doesn't satisfy. If your goal is to make good music, you can do that. To jam with close friends? You can do that. That's what is so beautiful and satisfying about music.
    He is probably referring to the idea that record company execs cannot make it rich off of exploiting one-hit wonders anymore. Bands have to tour endlessly in order to make any cash. That is true these days, but thanks to all of the multimedia (you tube, home recording, Spotify, etc) there are people who are getting their music heard who didn't have a chance in the heyday of MTV. People say MTV sucks these days because they never have music. The truth is--even when they did play music--MTV has always sucked. It's just that guys like dude here were able to make big bucks, But you are so right Sleepin in. Plus, not only can you jam with friends, people on the other side of the world can listen to you!
    The music in the sixties might have been out of tune, but it's still some of the best music I've ever heard.
    Exactly, it's true that the individual instruments were often out of tune, but the final product was amazing, and that's the only thing that counts
    The one common trait of all the music that I like is that this guy is not involved with any of it. Hopefully in the future music will be so worthless that only people who want to make it will and these hollywood jerks will move on and exploit something else.
    Simon Napier Bell? More like Simon Napier Bellend. Good music isn't at all worthless.
    From your solitary perspective, probably not, but from his experienced view, it probably is. Subjective taste and all that, but Bells' reasoning is solid and if you delve even slightly into how the music business works, then you'll see what he's telling us.
    Grey Dread
    Music isn't worthless. The garbage that they call music is worthless. The garbage that the industry pushes on people is worthless. Cookie-cutter acts are garbage.
    At least the music that's out of tune isn't artificially tuned. Ever listen to Zepplin tracks singled out? pretty bleh by themselves but, the band played so phenomenally together that it didn't matter because it gave it that soul.
    Sorry, but he just sounds like a major douchebag. First of all, if making money is your sole reason to make music, you should stop altogether, in my opinion."...because we're not physically adapted anymore to sit down and be so attentive" - yeah right, thats why vinyl sales have been constantly rising in recent years, isn't it? But what can you say to a so-called expert that is more amazed by a Tiesto "concert" (if you're into electronic music, at least mention someone like Amon Tobin, not this awful, uninspired music) than by some of the fantastic music that came out in the 60s...I don't really know where to start.
    This is what is wrong in our society. We appreciate the quality of the recording not what the songs actually are.
    Hey, man. Music isn't worthless. Many people are out there trying their hardest to make good music. Music isn't worthless, you're worthless Simon Napier Bell.
    The actual issue is trying to make everything a product for profit. Music is art, **** profits and economics, I don't need money to appreciate art, whatever style of art it may be.
    So all music that is over a decade old is "Out of tune" and not even worth listening to? Sounds like somebody's been snorting one too many lines off the ol' auto-tuner.
    What he says might apply to popular pop or Dj music;everything else however,come classical or metal,come blues or rap,is still great.He is just too robotic-age plus capitalistic reflexes-to understand and feel the music anymore.
    " I wouldn't even send to somebody that as a demo, it's so out of tune and awful.' You go back to old-fashioned rock 'n' roll records, you almost can't believe what you're hearing, that we felt it was so wonderful and now sounds completely out of tune." Hipster
    It is becoming worthless. More supply = lower the value. Basic economics, yet everyone blames downloads and says its a bad thing - but you can't keep charging the same amount for music when it costs so much less to make and there's so much more supply/artists that sound identical. Good live shows are less accessible than an artist's song/record so live shows definitely are the key to making money
    I like what he said about live shows having more of an impact. It's definitely something more special than just hearing the recorded songs at home. Not at all in agreement with his take on new technology though. The imperfections in the past were great especially with styles of rock and such that benefit from a little grit. If anything, recent music has become more dissonant and distorted which I also find pretty cool (a lot of current electronic mainstream sounds would have a hard time being even accepted decades ago).
    Really not understanding the negative responses to this post. While some may not agree with his opinions, he is merely providing advice and insight on the future of the industry. Anyone interested in music as a career can gain a lot from listening to industry experts, whether or not you agree with their opinion. Instead of taking his comments at face value, it's important to apply the concepts mentioned to different types of music and different forms of presentation. Listening to the video, "worthless" is more of a reference to music - good or bad - being taken for granted. The ideas he presents really have potential to revitalize the industry.
    Music in the 60s was out of tune? This is news to me. I've never listened to a hendrix album and thought it was out of tune. Apparently my ears are shit. And I'd much rather see a band just play their songs than see a DJ shoot off fireworks andtell the audience to participate in some dance move or something. I don't need theatrics to enjoy good music.
    Shitty music is everywhere which makes it worthless. Real music made by passionate artists is less mainstream and is also priceless.
    It is always amusing to see these old guards feel the end of days. They no longer have control over what they used to own a monopoly on. Digital distribution and self-publishing, gave competition to these folks. Also the musicians them selfs are much more self-aware, and know about the shady contracts of the past, the BS publishing house pulled by taking all the rights of the musicians from his music. They dug their own hole, and because of their practices I have no petty for them.
    Music originally was not about the money. It was about expression, and admiration, and escape. But unfortunately, this is what the industry has done to capitalize and make money off of this art--which is also why we have a bunch of garbage on the radio these days. It's truly sad that society finds the vulnerability in expressionism and creativity and ultimately finds a way to make money off of it. Especially with something like music (and all art, for that matter)...truly takes the "art" out of it.
    seriously though, he is just talking about casual music listeners that buy music and go to festivals. I know a heap of people that don't suffer from music ADHD that appreciate investing time into immersing themselves in music, jazz, classical concept albums the lot but these guys don't aim at people like us. Honestly it's ok that the music industry make money off these people and of shyte music otherwise alot of the music that i and prob you enjoy may not have surfaced.
    Obviously he doesn't give a damn 'bout what can't make his pocket looks bigger anymore. Call it personal opinion, it is!
    Maybe if people didn't have the attention span of a fruit fly, concerts wouldn't have to be a "Hollywood Show". Don't people go to shows anymore just to, oh . . . I don't know . . . WATCH the band that is performing. People now a days are like 5 year olds that need to be constantly stimulated.