The eternal battle between underground and commercial music makes us wonder: What actually is a good song?
It seems like this kind of question doesn’t have a direct answer as taste is not something easy to define. Also, it depends if we are talking with someone who is deeply involved in music, or just passively consuming the radio. For the purpose of this article, let’s divide music into commercial and underground. Can mainstream, commercial music be good in quality?
Commercial stuff is made to be commercial, it is made to generate cash. Thus, the so-called artist is missing the creative part – starting from scratch. You can’t start from the beginning if the idea is already there. What you are doing is actually jumping on the wagon hoping it will take you along with the already running choo-choo train. So, how much creativity is needed to follow previously defined guidelines for beat, melody, and lyrics – all of that being already well-tried out, no surprises there.
There are trends in underground music also, however far less and the consumers are different; more demanding. Very often they search for a particular sound, style, or track. DJs and producers have much more room to experiment and be creative when it comes to underground styles. Some of them have progressed with their work (or just one song) to such extent that they inspired a whole new genre of music.
However, things are not so simple as they seem. What about the music that initiated as underground and then crossed heavily into the commercial side? In approximately two decades Rap music became the most listened musical genre in the world.
Are we always able to differentiate underground from commercial?
In the video below, Matthew Dear and Carl Craig are sharing their vision and discussing electronic music scene, producers, equipment… It is one of the most inspiring conversations on this topic I have listened to lately, with tons of interesting insights such as: how the lack of equipment can stimulate the creative process, why Ricardo Villalobos is among the top producers in the genre, the way EDM is made today and much more.