The world has changed rapidly and the music industry was not an exception. We’re now constantly bombarded with new singles, teasing EPs, debut album drops, world tours that seem to go on for years, gossip, and think pieces. The way we listen to music has also changed. You can go onto Tidal and listen to extremely curated and exclusive artists, or you can buy digitally from the biggest corporations with some of the biggest music libraries in the world like Apple Music, or support independent musicians trying to get their foot in the door by logging onto Bandcamp. How about discovering the latest hidden gem on the democratic Soundcloud? And let’s not forget, of course, the mega-giant streaming platform, Spotify.
Vinyl records have been coming back into fashion for the past decade, to the point where The Killers’ Hot Fuss is your most popular pick in suburban record stores. That’s not to say there aren’t your CD collectors, cassette tape rummagers, and MP3 hoarders with terabyte harddrives stacked up to the ceiling. If you look outside, you’ll see clunky yet fashionable Beats By Dre adorning the heads of 40% of your fellow peak hour commuters, and the rest are hiding glimmers of white that peek from the ears of painfully trendy millennials and businessmen trying to stay culturally relevant.
Musicians now have to actively play the game of celebrities, crafting individual brands that borrow from fashion, photography, art, and design to sell their albums. It’s not just about the music anymore, man. Artists are constantly fighting for the spotlight, waiting to be picked up by the masses on TikTok or scouted by record labels to get the contract of a lifetime. If you’re lucky to be one of the coolest artists of the moment, publications like ELLE and Teen Vogue have migrated to Youtube to feed us on content like the viral Song Association Game, or breaking down musicians’ tastes with the Playlists of My Life series.
What we’re trying to say is that there’s a lot nowadays. It’s hard as a listener to keep up. Music is time-based and we can’t listen to all the music ever. That’s what Japan Axe is for – our writers sift through all of the content circus to deliver the most relevant news about all things pop, jazz, rock, hip-hop, trap, rap, ragtime, folk, lo-fi, hi-fi… you get the idea. So, stay tuned for the latest on your favourites, and whoever the next big thing may be.