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Context : MusicalStuff

Quora Answer : Why is music today of less quality than it were a decade or two ago?

Apr 17, 2019

It isn't.

Firstly we don't have an agreed upon and measurable definition of "quality", so we have no way of saying whether the music is better or worse. If you go for just subjective "do I like this" then plenty of people today like today's music.

But suppose I make a guess at the kind of music you, dear OP, think is quality.

One reason is that we don't employ so many session musicians any more.

Back in the 70s, if a moderately successful pop singer-songwriter wanted to make a record, he or she would have to hire a bunch of session musicians to record an album with.

Session musicians are not machines. They bring their own knowledge and sensibility to the music. The songwriter gives them the chords to play, but they'll all get on improvising an ostinato here or a walking bassline there or listen to what another musician is doing and subtly respond to it. Musicians have a dialogue, inject difference, bring new ideas etc.

Today, a lot of music made on computers. By a single guy. The problem is not that computers sound bad. But computers don't spontaneously contribute the way session musicians do. If you have one guy programming drums and basslines in FL Studio then it's all on him. If he doesn't come up with the idea of doing a slightly different chord sequence on the second verse, or a different drum fill on bar 33, then no-one will.

Pop music made by bands and session musicians had many brains contributing to it. The producer-and-computer model means our music is made by just one (or two) brains.

Contrast :

Maybe this will change as we get more artificial intelligence in our music composing tools, which will start being able to add that variation based on rules (or trained examples.) : See MusicAndAI

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