Skrillex, Diplo & Justin Bieber = Everything wrong with EDM

Skrillex, Diplo & Justin Bieber have released a song called Where Are Ü Now.

What the F*ck guys.

Okay first…feel free to watch the video/listen to the track…

Skrillex, Diplo and Justin Bieber – Where Are Ü Now

There are so many things I want to say right now I’m not even sure how to collect my thoughts.

One of those thoughts being, how the hell did I find out about this track on Ryan Seacrest’s website…I shouldn’t have admitted that.

The SECOND thought is just…

Disgusting.

The actual song, the music, sure, it’s catchy.

But I doubt Skrillex even touched this song. Diplo will produce for anyone bigger than himself, and I respect the hustle, he’s amazing at what he does, but I hope this fails miserably. Just because something works (getting your name out to the masses; there are now a lot more 12 yr-old-girls who know the name Skrillex/Diplo/Jack U) doesn’t mean you should do it.

This is especially painful for me because I’ve finally begun to like Skrillex. I was a Skrillex hater for years because I hated Dubstep in general and held him personally responsible for bringing it to the masses. I thought it was a faction of EDM comprised of neo-punk-tech kids (the new generation of punk rockers raised on technology, and thus, deferring to the electronic dance music version of Hard Rock/metal/punk) that would eventually phase out; there are a lot of similarities between rock and dub etc. But after years of hearing about what an amazing person Skrillex is, and finally getting to witness it for myself, (most recently on the February sailing of Holy Ship), I broke down and admitted it, Skrillex is fucking awesome. I’ve totally listened to dubstep just to party in the same room with him. Music aside, he’s a genuinely good guy and we need more good people in this world.

Skrillex is the perfect example of someone who’s THE EXACT OPPOSITE of Justin Bieber!!!

If you check out the comments on the “Where Are U” now youtube video, which are, of course, ridiculous and filled with trolls, all of the “bielibers” or whatever; their main argument is that we should stop judging Justin for what he does and instead judge him on the quality of  his music.

deadmau5-eye-roll-gif

Well okay, first of all, I can judge whoever I want about whatever I want on whatever terms I want. Two, screw his music, it’s pop music. It’s manufactured by a team of producers in a studio. He sings YES, and apparently he is involved in “most” of the song-writing processes (which, i.m.o., is just a publicists/managers way of saying “NO SERIOUSLY GUYS HE IS TOTALLY INVOLVED,” when in reality the songs are created by a team. It should be called a “product,” not a song). I’ll give him that, but it’s 2015!!!!! Judging people on their personal merits, values, morals, and ACTIONS is exactly what technology has allowed us to do on a greater stage than ever before! It’s EXACTLY how we make decisions!

The reason I’m so focused on this idea of judgement and ultimately boundaries (where do we draw the line as fans? As critics?) is because Wolfgang Gartner just published an article on Medium.com earlier this week (Feb 2015) titled “Hashtag Blessed: Music’s Unfortunate Social Media Side Hustle” about the effects of social media on the music industry. A lot of people are applauding it, and I agree, it’s awesome to get some perspective from someone like Joey (his real name) who has been in the game and succeeded on every level (even without Justin Bieber-ish good looks mind you!); but his thesis, his main point, can be stated simply as: musicians are now JUDGED by their public personas, not just their music.

Well…

full-house-gif-duh

Welcome to earth. This is how life works now.

We have precedence! 

Let’s take Wolfgang Gartner’s article as gospel and use it as precedence moving forward and continue looking deeper at why things have changed.

This is how buying decision process happens with humans: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buying_decision_process (wikipedia so you know it’s real!). For those who don’t click, here’s the short story:

  • Problem/Need recognition
  • Information search
  • Evaluation of alternatives
  • Purchase decision
  • Post-purchase behavior

So when Beethoven moved to Vienna in 1792 and began studying with Haydn, do you think anyone outside of his social circles (IRL) knew what he was up to on the weekends? Do you know of anything Beethoven liked to do on the weekends?

How is this relevant you ask?

Well that’s the point…it’s not…none of that shit mattered. People didn’t have that much access to other people’s personal information/whereabouts/daily activities. But we do now! (thanks TMZ).

STEP TWO OF THE BUYING DECISION PROCESS IS INFORMATION RESEARCH.

Where do you research things these days? The library? A book perhaps? HA! The only reason people go to the library these days is because they’re too broke to afford their own laptop (seriously guys you can get a chromebook for like $199, just buy one). So to answer my own question: you use the internet. And the internet, while it does provide access to information, does not have morals or know right from wrong. There is no “truth” label on the articles you read.

Even 30 years ago, before the internet was widely used as a social tool by the public, people had limited knowledge at their fingertips to make decisions (compared to the wealth of knowledge we have today). Word of mouth was the most reliable form of influence (a case can be made it still is) and our decisions were based unevenly and too heavily on steps 1,3,4, and 5. I’m not saying that there weren’t tabloids 3o years ago, I’m just trying to prove how drastically the internet HAS changed things. That it PROVIDES the ability for more in-depth research.

Buying a song, buying a concert ticket, deciding between Coachella and Ultra, following someone on Soundcloud for that matter…these are all bi-products, results, of the buying process, our buying process, the process of buying into a Brand.

And that’s the difference. Because today, in 2015, YOU are a brand, and the brands you decide to associate yourself with, even if they’re only online, have a REAL effect on your personal brand.

(How else would entire companies be formed ((successfully!)) around lifestyle attitudes?)

The internet exists, and for better or for worse the flood gates have been opened allowing us to make more informed decisions about everyone and everything we involve ourselves with/in. The only thing we can all truly control are our own emotions…so how you chose to deal with this reality is up to you. But you’ve been warned: You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. And if you only have 4 friends + Jbiebs on twitter…I’m seriously concerned for your mental/emotional/physical health.

I get what Wolfgang Gartner was getting at: It IS disappointing that certain artists are being booked over others due to their followings on social media.

But if one has not asked themselves the types of questions we’re raising, then perhaps they haven’t thought deeply enough about what success looks like for them on a personal level. Someone might want to be famous, but doesn’t want to produce their own music…that’s fine, hire someone to do it for you (Rebecca Black!). Others might not want to be famous, but want to make a living making music…even better…ghost produce for Martin Garrix (easy Martin, I’m just poking fun, no need to have your lawyers contact me).

martin-garrix-mad-twitter-rant-edm

No the first time Martin has gotten mad at me.

And going back to the issue of bookings…It’s NEVER been about the music once things reach a corporate level! The reason major record labels have had their panties in a bunch since Napster was created is because for the first time, it COULD JUST POSSIBLY…wait for it…become about the music.

But if you want to play the corporate game and attain Britney Spears-ish levels of success, then you’re still going to have to play the image game. There are countless accomplished actors and musicians who have fallen from grace due to their personal lives becoming…exposed…(we’re not even touching politicians in this article). It’s called the game of LIFE and no one is safe these days. Not even questionably racist billionaire NBA owners who get entrapped by old lovers. No one…is safe….make your Instagram profiles private yo.

The only argument I can possibly think of is: It’s not fair.

It’s not fair to judge music or musicians based on their personal lives.

To which I can only answer, take a look at history: life isn’t fair. It’s never been fair, and it will never be fair, unless you live in a Utopia.

And even if you don’t know jack about history you’ve probably watched enough TV/movies to know that a Utopia never works out for anyone.

Musicality 

So let’s keep judging Justin Bieber on his “musicality”…Here’s a quote making it’s way around the internet about the track, how it came together, and Justin Bieber’s involvement:

“After the album release, Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun promoted the project and revealed how the song and collaboration came to be on Instagram.

“Justin Bieber wrote this song in the studio one night just vibin out,” he said.”

Here’s the Instagram post from Justin’s manager, and again, I don’t see Skrillex anywhere:

justin-bieber-diplo-scooter-braun-skrillex

Oh ya? He was just vibing out? I know 13 year-year-olds with more flow than this:

Skrillex, Diplo and Justin Bieber – Where Are Ü Now lyrics

[Verse 1: Justin Bieber]
I gave you the key when the door wasn’t open, just admit it
See, I gave you faith, turned your doubt into hoping, can’t deny it
Now I’m all alone and my joys turned to moping (really?)
Tell me, where are you now that I need you?
Where are you now?
Where are you now that I need ya?
Couldn’t find you anywhere
When you broke down I didn’t leave ya
I was by your side
So where are you now that I need ya?
Where are you now that I need ya?

[Bridge: Justin Bieber]
Where are you now that I need ya?
Where are you now that I need ya?
Where are you now that I need ya?

[Verse 2: Justin Bieber]
I gave you attention when nobody else was payin’
I gave you the shirt off my back, what you sayin’?
To keep you warm
I showed you the game everybody else was playin’, that’s for sure
And I was on my knees when nobody else was prayin’, oh Lord

[Hook: Justin Bieber]
Where are you now that I need ya?
Where are you now that I need ya?
Where are you now that I need ya?
I need you, I need you, I need you, I need you
I need you, I need you, I need you, I need you
I need you the most

[Bridge]

This is 10 lines of poorly written…poetry? 10 “where are you now’s?” and 10 “I need you’s”

For me, regardless of the parameters outlined by the producers about what they needed from him in order to make a successful song (which we know wasn’t the case. if it was, we would call it a “creative brief.” The quote above from Bieber’s management confirms that this was written by Justin and then pitched to Diplo), this just doesn’t cut it. I have to make the conscious decision NOT to involve my personal brand with something like this, coming from a punk like him.

Justin Bieber is from Canada, you’d think that somewhere along the way he would have gotten in a fight or two on the ice that would have set him straight or taught him a lesson…

Georges Laraque would be disappointed. And for those who don’t know who Laraque is, or why being Canadian has anything to do with what I just said, watch this video:

The reason I’ve included this video is to show you that it’s possible to have class even while doing something most of us deems as illegal or avoid at all costs. It’s not just about how you present yourself but how you actually live your life. And if you can’t go a few months without being a huge d-bag, then I don’t want anything to do with you. It’s that simple. Next time you feel like being rude to someone for no reason, think about Georges Laraque breaking your nose, and then gently helping you off the ice after.

Conclusion

So ya, catchy song eh?

No but seriously now, the reason I chose to include the words “Everything wrong with EDM” in the title of this article is because Skrillex, Diplo, and Justin Bieber coming out with a new song is a perfect example of what happens when people stop caring about what they’re listening to, who’s creating it, and most importantly, HOW IT’S BEING CREATED. The idea of referring to all electronic dance music as “EDM” is just another example of the ignorance behind the decision to include Justin Bieber on an “EDM” track. Decisions like this have in turn created a very real new genre in dance music called “EDM,” and it stands for: Commercially-created electronically-composed pop music for people who’ve moved on from mainstream pop.

I listen to TranceDeep House, and Drum and Bass. I don’t listen to “EDM” because 1) I don’t like the way it sounds and 2) I choose not to be associated with, or let my personal brand be reflected by it.

The only question now is, will you?

 

Daniel Taibleson

Daniel Taibleson

Co-Founder & CEO | Daniel started Only The Beat with one mission in mind, to share the music he loves with the world.
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