There are many factors that contribute towards the seaming lack of social/political conciseness in the "popular" music of today. The one factor that maybe most responsible goes largely under reported and there for gets generally overlooked. That being the continuing deregulation of the U.S. media by the FCC (example, the Telecommunications Act of 1996). Right now in fact the FCC under Michael Powel (son of Collin Powel) is considering elimination of the last few remaining restrictions left on media ownership in this country. This would result in even more media ownership being consolidated into the hands of fewer mega corporations. In fact as of today all radio stations, television stations and daily newspapers in this country are owed by less than ten companies. Stop and think about want that means. The call letters or the mastheads may be different but the owner is the same company. This madness of course began under Ronald Reagan's FCC with the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine and has escalated to the sad state we're in today. So much for the legacy of the "Great Communicator" or the myth of the "Liberal Media", Corporate Media is more factual.

With this consolidation brings an emphasis shift away from public responsibility to the bottom line. A protest song critical of corporate control is not about to make it onto a Clear Channel play list. Now this is not some corporate "conspiracy theory" (a term often use to trivialize anything criticizing structures of power) but is more an act of economic self interest by the media. Media is in the business of selling a demographic to advertisers. Advertisers become the sole interests that big corporate media want to keep happy. To hell with diversity or serving the public good, profit is media's motivation not breaking new artists with a point of view. Big corporate media give you the music/entertainment they and their advertisers want you to have not necessarily the music you want to hear. This is true for all other forms of art and entertainment as well. It's all about maximizing profit and serving the status quo plain and simple.

And as for the artists them selves. With knowledge comes responsibility. There are folks out there that are making music that is relevant to the grave state of the world today, addressing such topics as our illegitimate U.S. President declaring war on the world in the name of corporate greed, you just have to dig around to find them. Some names that come to mind are Saul Williams, Michael Fronti, Anne DeFranco, KRS One, Public Enemy, Steve Earl as well as the other folks in this article. There's a lot of hip hop, nu-metal, hard core punk or folk style music with a point of view but not much "pop against the machine" as I like to call it, and almost no straight ahead traditional rock'n'roll with any to speak of. That's a void I'm attempting to fill with my own band (Slow Motorcade). I stated that with knowledge comes responsibility, let me also add that yes, it's still cool to care (that didn't end with the 60's and 70's). Do any of the big mega selling "artists/acts" around today like the currant crop of boy group or girl dance beat singers poses the knowledge and talent to do a Marvin Gaye "What's Goin On" styled record? Time will tell, but I'm not optimistic. This may not be the 60's any more, but remember a big record company will still put out a "subversive" record if they know they can make a lot of money off of it. It just won't get played on the radio. We may still have some freedom of speech left in this country, we've all but lost our freedom to be heard.
Anthony Castillo of Slow Motorcade 1/26/03 Los Angeles CA.