Over the Last Century, Do You Think Music Has Changed from Being About Artistic Expression to Being More About Money and Business? Is It Even Possible for a Band or Artist to Make Topical or Political Commentary in a

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  • Topic: Eminem, Dr. Dre, Shady Records
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  • Published : December 10, 2011
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Week 2: Short Answer by Kelly Yax

Over the last century, do you think music has changed from being about artistic expression to being more about money and business? Is it even possible for a band or artist to make topical or political commentary in a song today while focusing on turning a profit?

There is little doubt that music has changed over the last century. Everyone wants to make a profit, but for most it is about the passion for playing. If the music is good, there will be profit. According to Robert Lafranco, “Eminem made $18.3 on cd’s. He's a rapper and a business mogul. Eminem sold more than 4 million copies of his own cd’s (including 3.5 million copies of 2004's Encore), and he earned additional royalties on hit discs by 50 Cent, D-12 and G Unit, all released by his Shady Records and Dr. Dre's Aftermath Records. The Shady/ Aftermath family sold 8 million cd’s.” There is way more to making music then just the band. It is also based on what the producers want the sound to be like. It is rare for the musician to have 100% freedom on what is being produced. “There's an opportunity for the power base to shift back away from the record companies and the publishers toward the artists and their managers” (Alexander, 2011) If this were to occur, the music being made would change. There is also a place for music and politics. There is a long history of the connection between music and politics, particularly political expression in music. This expression can use anti-establishment or protest themes, including anti-war songs, although pro-establishment ideas are also used, for example in national anthems, patriotic songs, and political campaigns. According to Reebee, “The devastation of 9/11 made the United States a central focus of music and activism.” The mix of music and politics makes understanding the historic events and time that inspired the music essential to fully understanding the message in the music.

References:

Alexander,...
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