2016: Music Today Shaping the Future

By Jimmy Huisman

Saying that 2016 is the best year in music may be a bold claim, but we are seeing a major shift in culture.

Also, almost all of the high profile artists have or are going to release albums this year.

Albums like Kanye West’s “The Life of Pablo”, Frank Ocean’s “Blond”, Beyonce’s “Lemonade”, Chance the Rapper’s “Coloring Book”, and Radiohead’s “A Moon Shaped Pool,” just to name a few.

“Because of streaming, the culture has been greater due to the ability to listen to literally every project out and connecting with artists directly,” said Louie Hernandez, writer for hip-hop blog Pursuit of Dopeness.

With streaming services like Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, Google Play, and Sound Cloud fans can listen to all of their favorite artists.

“Fans are able to connect with their favorite artists directly. Every social media site is a platform for artists to release and promote the music,” said Hernandez.

In the 60’s and 70’s we saw a lot of great music come out due to what was happening in the world.

During this time people were dealing with the issues of sexuality, race, gender, and the war overseas.

Currently we are dealing with some of the same issues like racial profiling, the Black Lives Matter movement, the LGBT movement, and a presidential election that will go down in history.

It’s in times like these where people tend to cling onto music more than ever.

Artists start to put out music to cope with the uncertainty of everything that is happening around us and we listen because we need that outlet.

Trends that we are seeing become popular in 2016 are no name artists blowing up over night and secret album releases.

“Low profile artists are blowing up at the same time as the big names. 2016 is the year of opportunity to become an outstanding artist and become rich overnight like Lil Yatchty,” said Hernandez.

Some of those artists include 21 Savage, Lil Uzi Vert, and Lil Yatchty.

Daniel Mallory, a sophomore at Iowa State University said, “I hated not knowing when Frank’s album was going to drop. This feeling doesn’t go away either because most of my favorite artists are giving release dates and then secretly dropping them at a different time.”

This may be a negative to some but it now keeps people interested.

We sit and wait hoping that maybe tomorrow Drake and Kanye will surprise us with that mixtape they have been teasing for so long.

That uncertainty keeps us coming back for more.

These emotions are something we deal with in 2016 that we haven’t really dealt with before.

We may not know the reason behind the notable secretive releases in music; whether they come from the shift in culture, the deaths of some of the biggest music icons, or how the whole streaming industry is taking over.

But we are in a great time for music.

And it isn’t even over yet.


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