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How Access to Technology has Killed the Pop Star

Thanks to the age of social media and the internet, our world is changing faster than ever before. Technology has sparked globalization and trends in everything from fashion to food to home repair. One area in which technology has been particularly influential though is music. Technology has changed so much in recent years that music production, something which used to only be accessible to major record companies and very rich and very famous artists, is now available to just about anyone with a smartphone. The age of technology and accessibility has caused a surge in music and artists and yet- simultaneously- brought about an end to the age of the “pop star.”

These advancements in technology have made music production far more accessible to the average person than ever before. The iPhone alone has made it so that anyone with a song can become a musician if they so choose, thanks to apps like Garageband, Voice Memos, Bandlab, Spotify, etc. With this newfound accessibility to these music production tools, more people are creating and sharing their music on streaming platforms than ever before! But with so many new artists and options for listeners to choose from, there becomes more disbursement across popular artists. We are seeing fewer artists stand apart from the pack earning the proclaimed title of “pop star.” 

Not to mention that the term “pop star” by definition hinges on the pop-music genre. A genre that once just meant popular music but now seems to only be referenced when talking about music characterized by an electronic sound, themes of love and youth, and its resounding ear-worm quality. Popular music has changed quite a bit over the last decade or so. Having morphed from the above description of pop music into something less identifiable. In fact, the music streaming platform, Spotify, has even recently added a playlist for many of these less distinct but still wildly popular artists and songs, dubbing the playlist “Lorem,” a term which doesn’t actually mean anything and is intended to describe this sort of evolving pop-music sound. 

This shift in genre popularity can also be credited to increased access to technology and resources, as more people yearn to create and share their music without the same polished sounds harnessed from a proper recording studio. A wave of new artists is flooding the market, and thanks to their homemade music, music has changed both in terms of genre and sounds and in terms of what is popular. This new generation of music enthusiasts is less concerned with the cliché themes and catchy choruses that pop stars used to preach. They’re more drawn to music that feels both authentic and relatable. Music made by their peers and by themselves, using technology (something with which this generation has grown up) to assemble sound clips and drum kits and lyrics about themes that are in touch with this generation’s emotions. 

In frank terms, accessibility to the technology and resources necessary for music production has fueled the creation of droves of new musicians. So many, in fact, that they are now the primary voices of this generation, in lieu of the former “pop star.”

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