What would music look like in 2822?

Welcome Friend! 

We just celebrated New Year! It’s officially 2822! My name is Sohil, but as an electronic DJ, I go by the name of SOCHILL. I spend most of my time in my outdoor studio in San Diego, making music as it comes to me under the shade of some stellar palm trees. My good friend and lead vocalist Yingxi is also writing this letter and she will introduce herself later on.

Let’s just say that times have CHANGED. In 2200, America started the shift from a Capitalist to a Socialist country along with the majority of countries following suit within the century. Focusing on America, the production of music and the materials that make listening to it possible are now owned by the public. (Britannica) All of the created products are made solely for their use, rather than for profit. (Wikipedia)

Musical production / Material base

This has created an enormous improvement for the lives of the workers who make America’s world of music possible. Back in 2022, the power and profit was in the hands of big labels like Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group. Not to mention, a great amount of people’s hard earned income was going to streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music. The executives of those companies took the majority of those profits from the artists while giving the only substantial amounts to cream of the crop artists. This created terrible financial support for musicians who couldn’t fit the criteria to make it to the very top. (New York Times 3)

In today’s Socialist America, these borderline inhumane conditions have died out, thanks to the end of the rule of these profit-maximizing companies. Now, artists freely upload their music to SoundWorld where listeners can tune in for free all around the world. Artists aren’t worried about changing themselves and making hits that have replay value, so they can prove their value to labels. Neither are they worried about the opposite outcome of working long hours to get paid pennies from streaming platforms. I’m not!

This has a huge impact on the hours put in by artists because instead of being like work horses trying to produce for the big man, now they have ownership and autonomy, where they create and work in their own direction. In today’s age, an artist’s top priority when producing music is authenticity and for their unique sounds and messages to truly connect and resonate with their listeners. (USE not profit) Standardization and the drive for viral music used to be first priority because that was the main way artists could make a living. This harmed the authenticity of popular music, but now instead of making hits, an artist’s goal is to connect with listeners by creating music directly for the listener’s use. All because of this shift, artists view music as a truly honest expression of what is inside. That is why we say that “the difference makes the difference”; it is each artist’s differences and their authenticity that brings invaluable value to our listeners. This direction for creation is epitomized by today’s mantra of “finding your space”. Artists today own the fact that they have something special inside and it is up to them to create and bring that into fruition to bring the largest use to listeners. Work hours devoted to these priorities have created a much more enjoyable and fulfilling process for artists, where they know that their end result of authentic and relatable music creates irreplaceable value for the listener. Not to mention that this whole situation has bridged the gap between amateurs and artists since it is so easy to upload music to SoundWorld. Amateurs who enjoy making music for fun are also much more likely to become artists due to these improved conditions.

Perhaps the biggest improvement in our musical society is with the lives of the material and product production workers that make listening to music possible. In the old capitalist system, they were at the bottom in wages, even though they worked the hardest under the toughest conditions. (Routledge Companion 4) This is finally a reality of the past, and rightfully so. There are brain chips (not enough time to go into detail) that we listen to music on for the ultimate sound. Today, the workers who gather the raw materials needed and the workers who manufacture the products work in clean and safe factories, for reasonable hours and sustainable income. The way that they used to be treated as laborers was completely inhumane, but now, they have equal working conditions as anyone else.

Musical Content/ Superstructure

Considering that a capitalist society and a socialist society have different structural arrangements in the manner in which they operate, their social, economic and cultural arrangements are also different. The musical content in the capitalist USA 2022 and a socialist future would be very different. In the capitalist USA 2022 music content, the artists express the sentiments of the majority in the society by lamenting about the capitalist system. The capitalist USA 2022 system creates enormous wealth but also creates great misery for the majority (Chibber, 2019). As such, the content of the music expresses how only a few affluent people accumulate wealth while majority languish in poverty creating social classes which continually divide the society.

On the contrary, since socialism is about equality and fairness to the people, the content of my socialist future music would differ from the Capitalist USA 2022 in that; it would be used to express discontent with the government involvement in almost every aspect of life. It is important to understand that in a socialist system, the government decides everything. Another difference is the structural system of the music. For the capitalist USA 2022, music operates more like a business entity than a social expression channel.

Today, the music industry is structured to serve a commercial purpose as opposed to serving a social educational or entertainment purposes. It also encourages people to work and accumulate wealth for themselves with phrases such as “Get that Guap” meaning ‘get that money’. Record labels sign artists and produce music with the motive of making profit (Storey, 2018). The digital platforms such as iTunes, Pandora, Boomplay among others are put in place to sell records and profit from it. This is contrary to my socialist future where the content of the music would serve more educational and entertainment purposes to the society.

The third difference is in regard to the target audience. It is important to understand the capitalist USA 2022 promotes formation of social classes. Considering that different classes identify with different genres of music, artists and musical producers target different social classes within the society with their music.

 Things would be different in my socialist future because in a socialist system, there is low degree of distinction in the class of people. As such, the content of music would be created to target a universal societal audience considering that there is low to no class distinction.

College Students and Music

In my socialist future, there will be low level of class distinctions. The socialist system will advocate social fairness thus breaking the social classes that create division. College students will engage with music to relax, express themselves, come to terms with their emotions and generally improve their wellbeing (Ferenc, 2004). In addition, college students will engage with music as a way that dictates how they should take steps to impact the society. This is different form they engage with music in capitalist USA 2022 where they engage it music for identity. Since they belong to different social classes and different music genres appeal to different social groups, college students engage with music to showcase who they are in terms of social groups. For instance, the wealthier and better educated people identify with classical, Jazz, blues, and choral genres of music as opposed to low income people and less educated who tend to incline to country, disco, golden oldies, heavy metal and rap music. Social classes cause this distinction. In my socialist future, college students will engage with music for expression, relaxation and to come to terms with their emotions, creating a “woke” society as opposed to showcasing their social identity.