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Context : MusicalStuff, PopMusic

Quora Answer : Why does British pop music seem to be so superior to American pop music?

Jan 28, 2020

It isn't, necessarily.

But I think that UK's advantage over the US is that it is smaller and more unified. So its music industry has less inertia.

When a good new musical idea blows up in the UK. It quickly comes out of the particular region or subculture that spawned it, and excites people around the country.

In the US, great ideas are happening in cities and other regions all the time, but they won't conquer the mainstream while they're still fresh. It can take decades for something like House music to go from exciting scene in Chicago to mass culture. And, frankly, musical genres tend to go a bit stale within five to ten years. By the time enough American regions have caught on to a new music to make it mainstream, much of what was exciting about it has long-ago evaporated.

In the UK a genre like punk or jungle or dubstep can go from a bunch of cool kids, to national treasure in 3 to 5 years. And somewhere between those two poles, it can be the most exciting thing ever in pop music.

I was watching a documentary about Bowie on YouTube a few weeks ago. Bowie borrowed so much from Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. Two innovative American artists. But it was Bowie who could take those ideas to the top of the charts.

One reason music from the black community is so strong in the US - apart from the main one, which is that African Americans are drawing on two great traditions of music : European and African, and continually finding new ways to recombine them - is that the black population is relatively smaller, so although spread over the same geographical area, it's a tighter social network. Something cool that's happening in black culture in one city can, more quickly, be noticed and become "mainstream" within the whole black community. (AfricanAmericanMusic)

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