Home > Editorials > The Rise of The Configurative and Experiential Culture in the Music Industry.

The Rise of The Configurative and Experiential Culture in the Music Industry.

I never really understood the current electro-phenomenon that is dubstep, or as my more pretentious friends would correct me, “Post-Dubstep”, since the genre we hear now is an evolutionary product of years past.

(And I thought that prefixes like “post” and suffixes like “core” were on their way out, I guess I was mistaken. Yes, I’m talking to you post-electronic mathcore, and other nonsensical genre titles!)

Ahem, anyhow, I just could never get into it. To me, dubstep was just a combination of things I have heard before–a bit of techno/electronica with a few other flares built in.

It started to seem just like another trend that folks cling to so that they have a piece of art that they can claim as their own–a certain musical identity in which they can base their personality upon.

Now, clasping towards a musical identity isn’t a bad thing–there still exists die hard punk fans who cling to their roots and so on and so forth, and I am all about the mesh of music and it’s culture. Though to me, dubstep was just another budding fad that will slowly but surely fade out or even transform into something new.

However, it wasn’t until a few friends of mine put on a widely popular local rave that my outlook started to change. The event itself was a whopping success, partially due to the professionalism put into each aspect. One friend is a lighting technician at the Hard Rock Casino and the other friend is a successful local DJ, so they really brought their a-game. Under the bright lights, smoke machines and industrial sized bubble makers–my outlooked switched from outside observer to understander to..hell I’ll admit it, enjoyer.

Though, the phenomenon that is becoming dubstep may seem fairly simple to some–great tunes that include a good atmosphere–but to me it’s actually a bit more complex and it speaks loads about the current state of the industry. The genre really shows us about two particular aspects of the industry: the experiential aspect and the artistic aspect through cultural configuration.

To speak of the artistic aspect of dubstep, we have to talk about sampling. Sampling is the ultimate form of cultural configuration. Sampling gives people the opportunity to take multiple songs and create (configure) them into a new artistic entity. This idea of configuring existing products to create a new one is seen all throughout electronic and dubstep culture. In a similar fashion, we see configuration through the environment too. Dubstep culture takes pieces of techno (lights and rave parties), hip hop (bass beats and even rapping in some cases), rock (rock based samples) and many more to create its own culture. We are now seeing the break out of genres that enable people to create their own environment rather than just something that can be heard. This configuration becomes even more apparent when one gets their hands on the proper mixing software, and realizes that they, too, can take their stab at a decent mash-up or dubstep mix.

Dubstep also reflects the experiential aspect of music today. Everyone knows that nowadays labels and artists seek most of their revenue and promotions through live performances. Dubstep and electronic culture are no different in the way that they promote their live performances as a major part of the dubstep experience.

Dubstep proves to us that music isn’t necessarily about just music anymore–it’s about the environment and experience. Sure dubstep music can be fun just listening to it on your i-pod, however, the music takes on a whole new form when in the right place with the right people at the right time. It promotes the experience.

Now that record sales are dying, we are seeing a rise in genres that really promote an experiential type of culture, rather than just a song. Genres that promote great music, but also a certain environment, a certain feeling, and a certain experience. I would argue that the death of album sales, is becoming the birth of a musical society based upon musical culture and musical experience.

This is brilliance, people. Pure brilliance.

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