Football season is officially upon us. This month, millions of Americans embraced a timeless tradition, gathering around the TV excited for kick-off. However, this year's kickoff had a unique musical flavor that represents the times like few other. Pharrell, Soundgarden and Ariana Grande took America through the celebration of the NFL season, creating a musical moment that highlights the levels at which society's relationship with music is more eclectic and more borderless than its ever been. And since kickoff, another more recent musical moment proves how music is, more importantly, more so the conduit of culture than it's ever been: CBS and the NFL decided to pull Rihanna's "Run This Town" song before Thursday Night Football in the wake of the Ray Rice controversy.
There are two driving forces re-shaping how today's youth generation approaches music. First and foremost, technology's ability to flatten our round world has fueled this generation's ability to venture outside their music comfort zones. As a result, nearly every genre has been mainstreamed -- imagine what the cast of "The Voice" would look like in 1985.
Secondly, in this new flat world where music is globally accessible, culture is now globally relatable. Culture is the most powerful message carried around the world and music is the conduit through which the bits and bytes of culture flow.
REVOLT's Road to Truth Millennial study found that one-in-two young adults ages 15-34 years old say their generation is unique from previous generations because it is "connected by music." In the 90s, if you had a Red Hot Chili Peppers patch on your backpack, it declared a lot about who you were, what other bands you liked, what types of people you hung around with and more. The rise of the multi-genre music consumer has ushered in a whole new connection between people of various backgrounds, dissolving cliques, boundaries and borders like never before. And, young adults today use music as a vehicle to create the more accepting world they want to live in. This is indeed proving to be quite the festival generation.
Given technology and culture as a connector, music has become a means to engage the masses is an opportunity like never before. So then (as a writer) I'd like to pose the classic question given to us by the great rapper MC Rakim, "how can I move the crowd?"
Moving the crowd has become the challenge to the art of programming (or using music in marketing) to a cross-genre audience. During simpler times, you could program a radio station, TV channel, magazine or other outlet, through a single genre. Being a Rock outlet, Hip Hop resource or Dance music destination, meant you spoke to an audience that was defined by that genre. Now, with the average consumer's playlist stretching from Iggy Azalea to Porter Robinson, Lorde and Kendrick, to the Yung Jakes of our world, engaging the masses through music is a huge, but complex opportunity.
Stay within a single genre and you're obsolete, but venture too far outside a credible POV across genres and you will be perceived as inauthentic. In looking at some of the artists REVOLT has pushed on to our platforms, one could ask -- what do Jungle, Bobby Shmurda, Diplo and Kiesza have in common? The answer is everything. From 808s to "the drop," the appeal is the same as a result of Millennial culture's influence on the world as we know it.
If every young generation is reflected in the music of their time, what genre of music defines today's young generation: the Millennials? With access to music like never before, and using it as a means to unite culture, this generation's favorite genre of music isn't a single genre, it is as singer Meghan Trainor says "All About That Bass," it's what we call: Fire.