Parvati Magazine February 2014 - Sobriety - Page 22

MUSIC SEX SELLS B eginning with the twentieth century, First World society became consumed with consumption of goods and products and people began to pursue material goods with the goal of gratifying desires rather than using goods as a way to support one’s needs. This big shift started a pattern that has continued into the twenty-first century and is the single biggest reason why people are now mostly unconsciously driven by impulses and desires. One only needs to study first world society during Christmas time. It is a confused amalgam of celebrating the birth of the Christ and a manipulative commercially driven consumption fest designed to create perpetuate constant wanting in our young ones. Regardless of recessions and other economic slumps, Christmas mass has become more like Christmas few, and the mass is more about the masses in the shopping centres. Why has this shift occurred? Advertising and exploitation of our wants and desires has led to a society that seems to revere Santa and his presents more than Christ and his presence. The music industry is one of the largest consumer driven industries. It got this way mostly through exploitation. Even the Sex Pistols gained extensive national news coverage from calculated marketing tactics. Notorious for its exploitation of the arts, the artist, the consumer and focus on a healthy bottom line, to a record label, money is more important than art itself. As far as the major record label is concerned, art is dead, long live consumerism. MUSIC Sex sells! That’s the sober truth. Sex or sex appeal is used in advertising to draw interest to help sell a particular product. The purpose of imagery in music is to attract the attention of the potential customer or user. This is why music videos have become so successful. It is an instant captivating three-minute advertisement. For much of the current pop charts, the type of imagery that may be used is broad, yet it often includes nudity, suggestions of sex and provocative content. Sociologists study the pop music industry as a means to witness the reflection of consumer culture at a specific time. For example during the Vietnam War, Bob Dylan ruled the charts. As he prophesized that “the times they are a-changing”, his songs reflected those times. Let’s move forward 20 years. Madonna starts to push the envelope with “Like A Virgin” and music videos create the opportunity for artists to use sex appeal to sell more product. As I said earlier, the sober truth is that sex sells. So now in the early part of 2014 I have to look back on some of the biggest tracks of 2013 and the biggest difference between the earlier periods and take a sobe r look at what is happening. Where there once was a sense of provocativeness it has somehow morphed into explicit sexuality. Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” are just two examples of calculated use of sex to sell product and gain media attention. In fact, “Blurred Lines” is even more problematic as its lyrics are not much more than an anthem to date rape. That goes beyond just the question of sexual wanting to a more troubling dynamic of sexual taking, of imposing one’s will on another and encouraging others to do the same through a catchy backbeat. this way given how sexual violation seems to be endemic all over the world from Delhi to Steubenville to the Congo to Halifax and in many cases there is an assumption that “she/ he was asking for it”. Having been drunk a few times in my life I am quite familiar with the term beer goggles. What may be perceived as sexy through the eyes of a drunkard becomes very unappealing when one wakes up sober. I hope that 2014 is the year we move towards sobriety, towards a year of mass musical content that does not cater to the lowest common denominator and that finds artistic expression more compelling than explicit advertising. I hope that our collective psyche reflects back to us commercial music that resonates at a higher frequency than that of sexual wanting or taking. It is all too unsurprising that our collective psyche is being reflected in Since 1994, Rishi Gerald, founder and CEO of RishiVision and entrepreneurial coach, has empowered thousands of businesses. Rishi has an MBA in marketing and entrepreneurial studies and a BBA in accounting. He has spent nearly twenty years coaching, consulting, managing and supporting thousands of businesses from new startups to active global leaders. For more information on Rishi, please visit