Music has an infinite number of purposes. To listen for only one or two purposes is to be narrow minded. When I was 13, I would fistfight over music I loved or hated. I still feel like some things are sacred and I’ll tell you what they are.
Let’s start with what’s not sacred, though. Music for commerce is not precious but there can be tremendous artistic value if you look for it. The formulas found in pop and commercial music can be annoying and insulting, but within that context, there are always things to appreciate. First off, don’t be mad at formulas. Whatever music you love and consider the highest art has a formula; from avant garde to improv jazz. A typical melody, chord progression or groove can be annoying if nothing is done to give it a signature. This is where things become special. The way an element is articulated or shaped is what defines the artistic value of a piece. This process gives you real ownership over a composition.
Some advertisers consistently have great taste and that gives them credibility with me as a consumer. If music plays a large role in an ad, what it says in terms of thoughtfulness, originality and energy is exactly how I perceive the company for which it advertises.
You can do whatever you want as a pop singer…no rules and no judgement from me. However, if you’re going to call yourself a band you must hold steady to some principles. First, don’t worry about selling records…just be the best band you can be. Finding individual and collective strengths will yield a sound that no other group of musicians can make. Write songs that you can rightfully own…don’t just use the clichés de jour. This is your collective life together so take on subjects that really matter to you. If you have nothing to say, there’s no point to being in a band. Find a sound that reflects you at the core. When it’s authentic, you can do it your entire life. You’re voices dictate everything. From what melodies should do, to the kinds of tones and dynamics you should pursue, to your haircut, every detail of your energy should be focused in that direction so that the songs have a world of detail they live in.
No one ever grows up saying, “Someday I wanna play guitar with Justin Bieber”. They say, “I wanna play guitar in The Rolling Stones!” The difference between pop fans and band fans is that the pop fans wish THEY could be up there in the spotlight and band fans wish they could be IN the band.