Music industry provides hope during year of despair



Rapper Logic, also knowns as Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, at the Okeechobee Music Festival in Okeechobee, Fla.

By Saketh Vasamsetti, Columnist

We’ve seen a lot in 2017.

Political tempers have been flaring constantly since Donald Trump’s election as president. As the first year of his term nears an end, it seems the feuds and controversies aren’t likely to disappear. Beyond his presidency, the United States suffered the deadliest year of mass shootings in more than a decade.

Too many lives were lost from horrible incidents such as the Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs shootings. Other forms of violence continued throughout the year, resulting in exposing those in high places in our society after hundreds of victims of sexual assault took a stand to call out their assaulters.

But through all of the negativity, a certain part of our society saw rather large growth. This year was perhaps one of the best years the music industry has had in a very long time. A large number of musicians found year-long success providing fans an almost constant influx of content.

According to statistics from Nielsen Music, a music sales measurement solutions company, it was declared that hip-hop was officially the most listened to genre.

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    Artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Logic and Frank Ocean not only put out successful projects, but also provided music that carried a significant message to listeners. Of the three, Logic found the most success in affecting his listeners from the song “1-800-273-8255” off his third studio album “Everybody” from April 2017.

    The song “1-800-273-8255” addresses the troubling subject of suicide. Featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid, the three musicians tackle the subject and encourage people to reach out to their resources. The title of the song is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline hotline.

    After the release of the song, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline released a written statement that detailed the song’s enormous impact. On the day of the song’s release, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline received 4,573 calls, a 27 percent increase to its average number of calls on that day of the week.  

    Logic responded to the statement in a tweet saying, “The most important song I’ve ever wrote…”

    The encouragement of self-love dipped outside of these more serious songs such as Logic’s “1-800-273-8255”. One of the biggest names in music right now is Cardi B, a 25 year-old rapper from the Bronx. Cardi B started her career after several years of being a stripper at various clubs in New York to escape poverty and an abusive relationship.

    Her song “Bodak Yellow” talked about her struggle to become a self-made artist, and it subsequently inspired millions of people. It shot to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, making Cardi B the first female artist since Iggy Azalea in 2014 to reach the same accolade.

    Outside of hip-hop and rhythm and blues, pop music made a huge comeback and claimed a lot of the music industry’s success as well.

    Artists such as Selena Gomez, Lady Gaga and Kesha continued the trend of building self confidence in their music. Gomez opened up about her own struggle battling lupus and reached to many of her fans going through the same troubles. Lady Gaga and Kesha both were on the frontline of exposing sexual assaulters in the music industry, providing enormous influences to all those who gained the confidence to speak out about their own experiences.

    This year also saw a large growth in the recognition of Latin music. “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi featuring Daddy Yankee and “Mi Gente” by J Balvin and Willy William both took the U.S. by storm and became enormous hits. Foreign music is slowly becoming more relevant in the U.S., infiltrating American radio stations and making a name for itself.

    Music has always been seen as a form of expression for people who struggle to express their feelings in more formal ways. This year stands as an epitome of that statement while also encouraging people that music is an effective, powerful outlet. The world is very unpredictable and there’s no telling when exactly there will be good and bad times, but it’s guaranteed that both are always in store.  

    Regardless of what’s going on in the world, music stands as an everlasting outlet. No matter what 2018 may bring, we know there will always be something to listen to.

    Saketh is a sophomore in LAS.

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