I was wandering around reading random blogs and tumblrs earlier today, and ran across that sentiment. I reblogged the title, but now feel compelled to add my own little commentary. I just have one little problem with that. How do you write a giggle?
OK, not everything about it made me laugh. Days like this, I feel old – when I checked out the ‘about me’ for the original poster, I found that those immortal words of wisdom were written by a 13 year old. Once I got past the initial “You need your mouth washed out with soap” reaction, though, the giggling set in. Thirteen is a little young to be so world-weary. But I digress.
Is there a lot of dreck out there that is nothing more than marketing? Of course there is. Is there more than before? Maybe, maybe not, although I lean towards ‘yes.’ (For doubters, please see the following: Justin Beiber. Lady Gaga. Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana.)
But is this new? Of course not. The ‘modern generation’ didn’t invent teeny-bopper marketing. I remember Tiger Beat and Teen Beat from back in the day – they’re not modern inventions. It seems like bubble-gum pop has been around forever, and it lived on marketing. Spice Girls. Backstreet Boys. New Kids on the Block. Or go back further to the Monkees. Or further still, to The Mickey Mouse Club launching Annette Funicello on the world (hmm, Disney has a lot to answer for in the bubble-gum-marketing area), or Ricky Nelson, courtesy of Ozzie & Harriet.
And it’s true, a lot of it sucked. But at the same time, Madonna was a marketing gimmick back in the day. Now, she’s considered a pioneer. The Beatles were a result of clever marketing, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone today that says they were unimportant. Heck, Elvis was (and still is) one of the most masterfully marketed entertainers the world has ever seen.
It’s not a matter of whether marketing is out there. It is, and a lot of what’s marketed is junk. But the music is out there as well. The trick? Learning to push the marketing aside to get to it.