Music, My Stories

Twenty Years

1993 vs. 2013 – What Has Changed in Twenty Years?

An old teacher of mine showed me a photo of my school year from 1993. There I am in the back row with the long hair, a beard and a stoner look. How things have changed?

Then, my only ambition was to get my driver’s licence, finish high school (to make my parents happy) and to be in a band (to make me happy). Now, ambition is replaced by duty. I have a duty to my family to ensure that I keep my job, I pay the bills and keep all the wheels turning in my family life.

Then, all I wanted to do was party hard. Now, all I want to do is take some R&R. However life is too short to spend it alone. That is why I choose to do everything with my wife and kids. Eventually my kids will start doing their own thing, so while they are young, I am going to enjoy doing as much things with them as possible.

Then, all I wanted to do was write cool music. Now, I still write music. Instead of picking up the guitar and pressing record on the 4 track, I switch on my laptop, open up Guitar Pro and I start writing. I don’t even touch the guitar.

Then, I wrote a song each day (lyrics and basic chords) in a diary. Now, I still do the same. In this case, I write lyrics only and then eventually I get around to writing music to them via the computer.

Then, the way music was consumed was undergoing a transformation. The CD was becoming popular as a delivery system, so people started re-purchasing their vinyl and tape collections on CD. Now, the way music is consumed is undergoing a radical transformation. People buy MP3’s, people stream and people share. The labels still try and push the CD as it makes them the most money, however people are now selecting what they like.

Then, radio was popular. Today, YouTube is popular. Internet radio is making inroads and traditional radio is struggling for listeners.

Then, hard rock music was killed off by the record labels who jumped ship onto the grunge / alternative rock bandwagon. Now, hard rock music is back, stronger than ever. The labels are still jumping ship, this time focusing on the pop market and songs written by committees. Then when an independent artist starts selling big numbers, the labels jump ship again to find other like artists.

Then, MTV was king. Now YouTube is king. The entertainment industry screams piracy and calls for more legislation, while the biggest sharing site, YouTube remains untouched. Why? The RIAA and its labels are now making money from the ad revenue on YouTube, so it is okay.

Then, to discover new music, we needed to rely on a knowledgeable record store operator, gatekeepers, radio and expensive import magazines. Now, we just use Google, YouTube, Bandcamp, Sound Cloud, Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, blogs and many more.

Then, all the hard rock /metal bands started to release live albums, cover albums and B – sides. Metallica released Binge and Purge, Guns N Roses released The Spaghetti Incident, Def Leppard released Retro-Active, Iron Maiden (lost Bruce Dickinson in 1993) released A Real Dead One, A Real Live One and Live in Donnington. Now Metallica are still releasing live albums, via their own bootleg soundboard recordings, Def Leppard are doing a run of dates in Las Vegas, Iron Maiden are still out there touring, with Bruce Dickinson back on vocals and a version of Guns N Roses still exists.

Then, Rage Against The Machine at a Lollapalooza concert used their entire 14-minute set to protest their single “Killing in the Name” being banned from radio. With only guitar feedback for sound, the group appears on stage naked with the letters “PMRC” painted on their chests and electrical duct tape over their mouths. Now, everyone wants to be loved, wants to be liked. No one wants to be hated. No one stands up for what they believe in.

Then, we only had a home phone. Now, we have smart mobile phones. We are connected 24/7.

The biggest change has been the rise of technology. The rock stars of 2013 are the tech heads.

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