The internet has been in many ways a Copernican revolution in how we conceptualized our view modern media. Never before have we been allowed to have such an array of education and entertainment choices.
For the most part, the internet has been a blessing for small business or individuals wanting to get their product or services out into the public eye. Online marketing has leveled the playing field, allowing small businesses the ability to compete against bigger names within their industry. Recording artists can now produce and distribute their own music outside of the conventional music industry. In fact, some of today’s well-known bands trace their humble beginnings to recordings posted on social networking sites and other under-the-radar sharing networks.
This phenomenon has inspired a new generation of musicians to pursue their aspirations more readily than previous generations because they no longer have pass through the filter of mainstream record labels in order to get attention. Small businesses as well have been able to put their products and services within view of any one surfing the web for local services on sites such as Google places and Facebook. This in turn has produced a whole plethora of choice for the consumer. The youth culture of generations past had more homogenized themes (think 1950s early rock & roll, 1960’s hippie movement, and so forth). The current and future generations now readily pursue individual tastes and preferences. The blow back on this of course is that mass appeal is becoming less and less relevant.
These are generalizations of course, and there will always be exceptions to the norm; but for the most part, the days of brand or artistic dominance are numbered. It is becoming less likely that a phenomenon like the Beatles will ever recur because of the vast number of options available today, although certainly newer artists like Justin Bieber have enjoyed great success after becoming popular through social media.
The millennials love choice and options. In fact, it seems that there will be a decline in the popularity of blockbuster movies and mass appeal music for the next generations. These will increasingly compete for attention with computer games played over the internet due to the advances in computer gaming technology and the high-speed internet connections that are now standard in most households. The combination of these two factors combined gives the users maximum control of their entertainment. However, it will mean the eventual demise of more traditional forms of entertainment that puts emphasis on the attraction and not the consumer. This is why I believe that no one brand or recording artist will be able to dominate a culture or movement to the extent we have seen in previous generations.