Usually I couldn’t care less about the Grammy’s. In fact, before last week I had never watched more than five minutes of the Grammy awards in my life. But, with Sturgill Simpson being nominated for country album of the year and overall album of the year in addition to having a solo performance slot, I was interested. I watched the entire show from start to finish and my goodness was it a snooze fest. As I mentioned in my post Grammy’s post, even the “country” performances were boring with the exception of Sturgill who was great. I also got to live tweet the Grammy’s for the blog which was something I had never done before.
So, that brings me to my short story. In my night class on the Monday after the Grammy’s my professor had asked the class if anyone had watched the Grammy awards the night previous. I raised my hand along with a few other students and expected him to have a bit of a discussion with us about the show. Instead, my professor essentially called us corporate music listeners for daring to watch the Grammy’s. Now if you actually know me and know what I listen to, you would know that this could not be further from the truth. I regularly criticize the corporate radio machine and my favorite music comes from independent/Texas country artists who will never get played on the radio. And although this is true about me there are also some mainstream artists that I love and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
This had me again thinking about something that I had been considering for awhile and that is whether or not people simply hate the idea of the mainstream. It of course is not just in music that this is the case. We see it with attacks on the mainstream media, the movie industry and politics. Do people simply like being against the “establishment” regardless of if that particular establishment is right or wrong?
In regards to hard numbers unfortunately, I was not able to find any about music but I was able to find numbers on Americans views on what is deemed the mainstream media. In a Gallop poll conducted in September only 32% of Americans had a favorable view of the mainstream media. This is at a time when people have increasing options with the internet to get news from plenty of sources outside of the mainstream.
I won’t judge whether or not it is right or wrong for people to be always against some of these mainstream institutions but, perhaps we should have more of an open mind. Not everything in the mainstream is bad even if much of it is. There are plenty of artists in mainstream country for example that are putting out great work that should not be overlooked. William Michael Morgan, Miranda Lambert, Brandy Clark, Josh Turner and Eric Church are just a few examples.
So to sum up, this was just an idea I have been thinking about for a few weeks about the idea of the mainstream. I think that the word itself has become a bit of a dirty word and something that is used mostly in a derogatory way. Whether that’s right or wrong is completely subjective but it is something that interests me. With options in music, news and media continuously growing will the idea of mainstream change? Will the traditional institutions like radio and television eventually collapse? Only time will tell.