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Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye

Stevie Wonder – Superstition

The music that we hear now will be the basis of the music that we will be listening to twenty years from now.  Musical genres are constantly evolving from and influencing one another.  This trend is evident simply by examining the roots of the musical genres that have emerged during the past century .  Two musical movements that shared similar beginnings, but also have fundamental differences in their musical objectives was the Motown movement of the 1960s and today’s Indie rock movement.  Both emerged from existing musical genres (Motown from soul, rhythm, and blues; Indie rock from the punk movement as well as contemporary pop-rock music) and further defined the existing genres into more specific terms.

Marvin Gaye – Heard It Through the Grapevine

Motown began in Detroit in the 1960s, when Berry Gordy, Jr. founded Motown Record Corporation.  Motown Records had a profound influence on the music scene, and it is widely considered the first truly successful mainstream record label to be owned by an African American.  Motown is responsible for introducing many famous black artists, such as Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5, and Marvin Gaye, into the “pop” music scene.  Motown music was considered to be on the simpler side, as the label tended to avoid producing songs that were overly complex or difficult to understand musically.  The Motown sound was suited to pop music and optimized to be embraced by the masses.  Motown Records was very successful at not only integrating black musicians into mainstream music culture but also in helping them achieve commercial success.

Vampire Weekend – Cousins

Another movement, which is more contemporary, is the indie rock movement, which began in the 80s but really took off in the late 90s and during the new millennium.  The indie rock movement is not so much a change in musical style as it is a change in the way that artists think about marketing and promoting themselves and their music.  Whereas Motown was trying to take the genres of soul, gospel, and blues and introduce them to the mainstream, indie rock is trying to do the exact opposite, taking control of the music away from the record labels and putting it back into the hands of the musicians.  Indie rock bands primarily generate popularity and interest for themselves via word-of-mouth and the internet through social media such as Myspace, Twitter, and Facebook.  Artists of the indie rock movement place retention of their creative licenses as their number one priority, choosing to forgo  popularity and success on the mainstream music scene in exchange for the ability to have  control over the production and promotion of their  music.

NICK BARETTA

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