Popular music is infamous for being controlled by the young and beautiful. Pop princesses and rock hotties have always seemed to hit their peak in their mid-twenties, and the millennial Generation is no different. Tune into the radio and you will hear Taylor Swift and the Mowglis — young people who are making powerful, adventure-inspiring tunes — rather than the tried and true classics of the Rolling Stones and Metallica.
Music is a great measure of who is the target generation: it comes and goes, evolving so quickly that it must appeal to those who will buy it, or be drowned out by the louder crowd.
When I think of music, I always think of my dad. He loves the music that was popular when he was in his teens and twenties. He still listens to it, knows the names of all the band-members, and talks about them like everyone knows who he’s talking about. My brothers have also caught onto this passion, and cling onto “their” musicians as much as they do their friends. As my family shares music with each other, my dad has added newer artists to his iTunes, ever open to great music from any era, even if he falls back on his old favorites by default.
I’ve noticed the same with researchers: we tend to cling onto techniques, methodologies, and innovations that happen when we are first discovering and learning about market research. There is nothing wrong with sticking with the classics, either: without these foundations the research field would have nothing to build on. The Beatles are a great example of that: their recording techniques and experimentation with stereo helped shape the next few decades of rock and roll. What they experimented on, other artists like Queen perfected and in turn have influenced current artists like Fun. And I am sure that Fun will influence future musicians, who may never realize what the original source has done for their art.
My dad helped me learn about the classics, his favorite musicians from his youth, in what he called “Cultural Moments.” Whenever we heard “cultural moment”, we knew we were in for some forced appreciation of some old music while being trapped in the car with dad and his old cassettes.Most of the time, we complained so much about it that we would drown out the sounds of Yes and Genesis, but when “cultural moments” didn’t come to a stop, we learned to open our ears and appreciate the quirky tunes from my father’s collection. I even got so excited about one Genesis song about Narcissus that I took the cassette up to my room to dub onto a mixtape. I think I sandwiched it between a song by Britney Spears and Chumbawumba.
Never give up on the classics, even when what is popular seems to be completely focused on the new exciting things happening with the Millennial generation. Keep your repertoire open to the new and exciting. And maybe even teach us a few things about these foundations. Maybe we’ll actually appreciate the foundational techniques and help save the world with more inspired innovations in research.
post by Jaimee