Beyonce is a prolific artist whose works began small with cameos and commercial pieces for Disney Channel’s “Smart Guy.” She has a storied career that has taken her through many eras of music. His huge fanbase encompasses an ever-expanding hive that is gaining more and more power every year. Although she is one of the most “popular” artists of our time… this year at the Grammys, she was placed in the dance music category.
It means many different things.
First, this dance music is becoming more and more popular. Bottom-up, ticket sales and digital plays from traditionally underground or niche electronic music artists are becoming increasingly prominent among casual listeners. Major record labels and radio stations have less say in the music we choose as streaming continues to dominate the industry. Smart people in the music business have probably seen this trend and are advocating Beyonce to cash in on the growing popularity of EDM.
by Beyoncé Renaissance, is a musical triumph that will influence future works ranging from dance to pop to rhythm and blues. When played from start to finish, the album flows like a DJ set with micro moments within and between songs where it becomes unclear where one song ends and the other begins. Shit is smooth. Renaissance draws inspiration and samples from beloved works of historic house music and famous artists of the past. The work of Renaissance is certainly worthy of recognition.
But this begs the question: what is popular music? Beyonce, with her massive and broad appeal, is placed in the dance category… while Nikki Minaj, which should definitely be considered in rap, is continually shifted to pop and other genres where it’s unlikely to win. So what are the Grammys for? What constitutes the best? If we’re going to give the dance prize to whoever has access to the most resources and the best team, then we’re giving it to Beyonce. What about RUFUS and ODESZA? She’ll almost always eclipse lesser-known artists who also deserve a share of the limelight (unless you’re beck).
Music is something deeply personal and subjective. It is colored by our life experiences, moods and feelings. Who am I to say someone’s the best? I would even say that when it comes to music, there is no “best” objective. Sure, we can look at record sales, radio plays, and artist collaborations. But all the superfluous stats mean nothing if that song doesn’t touch your heart and set you free.
So if Beyonce’s team wants to get into electronic music, so be it. John Mayer released a country album paradise valley in 2013. And Taylor Swift was a country star until she decided she wasn’t. Increasingly, the fuzzy lines of genre elude boundaries and defy categorization. The important thing here is to allow new artists to enter the public consciousness while celebrating veterans who have earned their keep.
It’s just music baby. In the face of all these rewards, pomps and circumstances, remember that it is you who presses play.