‘Sex Sells’ is one of mankind’s most well-known advertising philosophies, and nowhere else is it more relevant than in Pop Culture and less specifically nearly everything on the Billboard charts. Go ahead; tune your TV to your favorite music channel and just wait. Eventually you’ll be inundated with bouncing butts, jiggling jugs, lusty leering eyes, and other ‘Not Safe for Work but Apparently Safe for the Living Room’ imagery…hasn’t happen yet? Wait for it. Of course there are the exceptions but what would the ‘boob tube’ be without, well, boobs?
On August 1st, 1981 MTV, and the end of civilization, came to be by way of their airing the 'Video Killed the Radio Star’ music video by Buggles. ‘Video’ was MTV’s first music video and a modestly cheesy 80’s new wave cut focusing on that era’s cute obsession with the evils that could accompany technology. The song itself had been in radio circulation for years in the UK, and enjoyed quite a bit of success before its debut on the small screen. Becoming MTV’s opening act secured a surge of attention for the hit single and MTV executives saw dollar signs in their future. This curtains-up moment for MTV revolutionized the way record labels exposed consumers to music of their artists.
Over the years, music has become not only more provocative and sexually charged, but painfully simple. SUNY Albany’s psychology professor Dawn R. Hobbs concluded in ‘Evolutionary Psychology’ that greater than 90% of Billboard’s top 10 songs in 2009 contained “reproductive messages” or as it is understood in the common language, sex. As for the disintegration of the quality of music in general, there is a database of files containing information on the characteristics of thousands of songs dating back to 1955. A study of the nearly 300 gigabyte file aptly titled Million Song Dataset confirms what older generations always say, music has gotten worse. In today's "now culture", simple music is more aurally edible. Combine the simplicity of music with more and more sexual imagery and presto you get today's music industry.
Music videos highlighting certain 'assets' are in abundance and there is nothing new about female artists who use their sex appeal to their advantage. For those who have trouble grasping the sad state of affairs the music industry finds itself in, look no further than Nicki Minaj and her Australian carbon copy Iggy Azalea. Minaj's 'Anaconda' and Iggy's feature on the Jennifer Lopez single 'Booty' are perfect examples of how far our music has fallen from the days of old. Contrary to what Will Smith says, parents really do understand. Their music is better than ours, but people will still go crazy for the next sex-centric Pop sensation.
- Published in Editorials