Musicians Need to Respect Their Listeners and Add an Easy Mode

Hello old saw of new original music, not nice to see you again. How many times have I encountered new original music, that’s challenged my expectations, and changed my perspective of music. I’ll be honest it hasn’t been a pleasant experience.

Now don’t get me wrong, I really love me some Demi Lovato. But the problem with underground music is that unless somebody wants to listen to The Velvet Underground 100 times, it isn’t a rewarding experience to listen to new challenging music. Most people just don’t have the time to listen to new music, and as a result music has become an elitist insular community, when it should be more accepting and accommodating.

Ideally an easy mode would include 3-4 notes, 4/4 time signature, 3-4 instruments, and maybe vocals. Which is by far more accommodating to the general music listening populace, than most music on the radio. And this is what I’ll never understand about music fanboys and their continual, aggressive insistence that the mere presence of an easy mode would somehow compromise a special experience. It’s worth saying, time and time again: an easy mode does not have to change the core experience in any way, at all, period. Listening a version of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures that had an easy mode would, theoretically, be completely identical to listening Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures now. The continued insistence that an easy mode would somehow affect the normal mode seems to represent a listener’s lack of respect for themselves, an idea that they would not be able to listen to the music that they want without ruining it for themselves.

There’s a lot of talk about “respecting the listener” when it comes to not including an easy mode, an idea that all music listeners should listen to the song the way the artist intended. And yet I think the lack of an easy mode showcases the exact opposite. It shows an almost stunning lack of respect for music listeners with the idea that they cannot be trusted with their own music listening experience, that even those who want a challenging songwould somehow be lured by the siren song of lower difficulties and destroy their own experience because they’re too impatient or immature to know what they actually want. The Genius youtube video series is a perfect example of this: I never used it once while listening to Bruno Mars, because I knew what experience I wanted. I didn’t get as into Lady Gaga, and so I used it liberally.

I don’t say this because I have bad taste in music. I say this because the music community has a responsibility–no, an obligation–to make music more accessible to the listener. After all how can deaf people share in the experience of listening to the latest Taylor Swift song? There’s an entire segment of the American Population that can’t even into music because they can’t hear it, and that’s just not right.

I mean, it’s not like I have this belief because I am an idiot and can’t into music. No I have this belief because I am morally superior to you. I am an ubermensch fighting on behalf of those who never asked me to fight for them. And really isn’t that why we all became journalists?

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