“Without music, life would be a mistake.”
“The music business is a cruel and shallow money
trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and
pimps run free, and good men die like dogs.
There's also a negative side.”
Hunter S. Thompson
Over the years we gradually build up a soundtrack to our lives. It’s not a conscious decision, it just happens. Certain songs become irrevocably entwined in our memories of specific people or pivotal moments in our life.
Every morning of my childhood in New York City, my grampa would wake me up singing “Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile.” As a boy, my grampa enjoyed listening to his father sing this WWI song. So, when Rambling John Gambling made it a signature of his morning talk show on WOR radio, my grampa decided that he wanted to start every morning with the happy memory of his own father. Now, that song is my own memory of grampa. And so it goes.
We remember the first song we danced to with our first love and the music that led us down the aisle when we married our true love. We remember the favorite songs our children sang. We remember the words to Christmas carols. We remember the two-note warning theme from JAWS. And, unfortunately, we also remember the song that was playing in the elevator after we received devastating news. Music has programmed our hearts in much the same way Pavlov programmed dogs to salivate to the sound of a bell. We hear the song and we recall the emotions that we attached to it.
Music is the most primal form of media in modern society. Who among us can listen to a good drum beat without wanting to dance (or at least bounce along) to the rhythm? Even pre-verbal babies have a primal response to music.
That being said, the music business is not about warm and fuzzy memories of grampa or the boy whose pimples you never seemed to notice. The recording industry is built around the concept of finding recording artists who can make an emotional connection with enough people to push a song to the top of the charts so it will make a significant profit on their investment in a recording artist. These recording artists will create the music that will form the soundtrack of our children’s lives. How much do you know about these artists, or their lyrics or their lifestyle choices? How much do you want to know? In this section, we’re going to take a look at the artists and the recording companies that control the music that influences our children.
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