Sometimes Music Reflects Society, Now It Must Also Urgently Lead Again!

Photo by BERTRAND MORITZ on Unsplash

Here is the oft-requested “Socially Driven Music For Dummies!” Primer.

So, it’s been suggested that we present a simplified overview of the recent essays (linked below) that I co-wrote with respected analyst Hanna Kahlert, of renowned London-based MIDiA Research, which covered so much territory of interconnected concepts that all affect the current and future viability of the music industry. This summary eschews the essays’ “$10 words,” (with the exception of using “eschews” here!) with which some have struggled, and is shared in the bite-sized, more digestible form of a survey and petition in combination with this summary/bullet point preface of some of the most salient points. The survey and petition presents the essence of our thesis in the uncomplicated context of a proactive social impact campaign format. 

First, I grew up in a Long Island suburb town (about thirty miles outside New York City) during the “English Invasion” of music. I’d first hear new releases on my FM clock radio tuned to stations that prided themselves on finding the “cool stuff” first. It was a time when we were met almost every day with another astounding, mind-blowing record and artist to discover, often with something worth thinking about and culturally significant. Some of these releases would even be life-changing. Many of these records would become iconic — classic evergreen songs, covered endlessly. Yes, like today, there were also dismissable records then. The difference would seem to be that there are more vapid songs about nothing today, replete with de rigeur profanity that only further detracts and is anything but “cool.” While there are some very imaginative productions and impressive singers, there are few records now that demand a cerebral emotional response, and there is a dearth that will be remembered as moving the needle at all, so to speak. Even customary love themes are largely just recycled imitations of the greats.   

Since I also relate to the sensitivity of empaths — someone attuned to the deep feelings of those around them at a personal level — I tend to gravitate to music with a message that connects with us viscerally, that which touches the soul. Especially in our currently fraught times, there clearly is a need for thought-provoking music and for more attention given to the evolution of this genre of what was once deemed “protest songs.” Socially poignant music is a category that disguises protest in metaphors and yet is just as potent. It will create community and superfans, lift spirits, and engender a large movement of positive social advocacy. I established Socially Driven Music to develop and market #Music4APurpose. The concept resonated with respected analyst, Hanna Kahlert, of renowned London-based MIDiA Research, and we set about to co-write what we envision.

Hypebot said: “The music industry needs to focus on the meaning behind music, tying the art back to purpose. That’s the central thesis behind this thought-provoking piece by Stephen Love, former EVP of ATV Music, and Hanna Kahlert of MIDiA Research. The pair believe that music for a purpose (interacting with impassioned activist communities for good) can have a major reciprocal impact between artists, fans and supportive businesses at a time when companies are coming to understand that consumers want social purpose in turn for product loyalty.”

While developing our conclusions towards offering actionable, viable value-propositions for the music industry, we took several months to sort our ideas, research, digest and assimilate the daily deluge of information about changes battering the music industry. While I wasn’t aware that Mark Mulligan, MIDiA’s Founder and Managing Director, was developing his “Bifurcation Theory,” it is validating to be in sync with his thinking and to be presenting what I consider to be the roadmap to implementing that theory. I am excited about offering takeaways that will hopefully propel many away from feelings of helpless, hopeless despair and towards optimism and positive activism through the enrapture we seek from our music and the communities built around it.

We are thrilled and very appreciative to have been invited to talk with some of the most highly regarded on-line programs which will include delving into why major record labels discouraging artists espousing political views is anachronistic, irrelevant and no longer a barrier.

Here are the links to the essays (for a deep dive), followed below by the survey and petition:

What follows is a bite-size, more digestible summary version of many of the most salient points made in our essays.

Part 1 delves into the challenges in the music industry, the concept of and the potential impact of purpose-driven music on fan engagement.

The Part 1 title, “Music — It’s About Purpose, Stupid!,” borrows from the famous James Carville quote and includes insights from Love’s time with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, as well as some cutting-edge points drawn from MIDiA’s latest reports and data.

Part 2, titled “Music: What is it Good For?” focuses on revaluing meaning and purpose in music in the face of generative AI. The hosts discuss concerns about AI eliminating the creative process and the varying perspectives on its role as a tool for creativity. They explore the threats and opportunities posed by generative AI, including challenges related to copyright, ownership, and the potential for positive applications.

The discussion emphasizes the importance of purpose in music creation, extended into AI-generated music, distinguishing professional from amateur creations, and the human element in music creation and curation. The authors address copyright challenges, royalty structures, introducing the Human Artistry Campaign and exploring future transformations and opportunities, including AI in lyric translation and collaborations between established and emerging artists.

We continue with a reflection on the evolving music landscape, the unfolding inflection point, the industry quest to monetize niches and superfans and the need to prioritize human values in the age of AI. The conversation encourages listeners to engage in the ongoing exploration of AI’s impact on music and culture.

As you work through the survey and petition in this post, you’ll likely have an “aha moment.” We look forward to working with you and our fast growing interactive coaltion who share a passion for energizing positive changes in causes that matter to us all.

Part 1: The Survey

Part 2: The Petition

Part 3: Your Senators and Congressional Representatives

Identify your Senators and Congressional Representatives with this link and website tool, below, and let us know in the above survey for what purpose you’d like to collaborate with them. Socially Driven Music’s mandate is to facilitate a potent music-cause-political influencer consortium for positive social impact.

Raise your hand in the survey if you are an artist who might want to volunteer at a voting polling station or actually volunteer to help a campaign with calling voters (and meet some new fans). 

PS: Although this piece is focused on how music can influence American politics to improve the fraught issues it impacts, this same template can be applied worldwide. Talk to us!


#Democracy, #Election2024, #MAGA, #MusicIndustry, #MusicBusiness, #Music, #SocialImpact, #SocialGood, #Biden, #Trump, #Vote2024, #ActBlue, #Veterans, #JohnLennon, #YokoOno