Bob Shell: New Music?

Nude topless blues singer
Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2022

Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2022


New Music?


Do you listen to new music? If so, you’re in the minority, apparently. A study by MRC Data found that 70% of those surveyed only listen to old music. Why would that be, do you suppose? Could it be that those of us in older generations who say ‘classic rock,’ meaning music from the ’60s and ’70s, is just better than what’s being put out today, are right?

Listen to music on the radio and most stations play older music. The big recording companies like Universal and Sony don’t court new music, they put their money into buying up the catalogs of aging pop and rock stars.
Considering all this, it’s no surprise that viewership of the 2021 Grammy Awards fell by more than 50%. That’s even more significant when you factor in that most people were stuck at home without much to do. Why didn’t they watch? I’d guess they just didn’t like the music.

Also, at a time when logic would make you think it would increase, downloading of new music declined last year for the first time ever.
When your product isn’t selling, it’s time to re-evaluate what you’re making, be it music or anything else.

Am I saying that new music is universally bad? Of course not. There are artists making very good music today, but it’s hard to find their needles in the haystack of junk. I often browse through the new releases on the music download service we have here, and sometimes I find pearls among the pebbles. But not often.

Unfortunately, our music service no longer offers artists’ biographies, so when I find something good, I can’t find out anything about the artist. I used to keep up with music and artists by reading Rolling Stone, but when it was sold and the new owners jacked the price up to fifty dollars a year, I just couldn’t afford it anymore. That’s a shame, because I’d read it since it was a newsprint tabloid in the 1960s.

One newer artist I stumbled on when I was browsing is Elise Davis, whose very personal and unique songs really speak to me. But I found her after months of searching through dross.

Even the young people I know listen to older music. I was talking to one young man recently, and he told me his favorite music was by George Harrison.

“Oh, yes,” I told him, “his solo work after The Beatles broke up.”
He looked at me wide eyed. “George Harrison was one of The Beatles?!”
Ah, the wisdom of youth!


About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author, former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine and veteran contributor to this blog. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models.  He is serving the 13th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read additional articles by Bob Shell, click here: 

Editor’s Note: If you like Bob Shell’s blog posts, you’re sure to like his new book, COSMIC DANCE by Bob Shell (ISBN: 9781799224747, $ 12.95 book, $ 5.99 eBook) available now on . The book, his 26th, is a collection of essays written over the last twelve years in prison, none published anywhere before. It is subtitled, “A biologist’s reflections on space, time, reality, evolution, and the nature of consciousness,” which describes it pretty well. You can read a sample section and reviews on Here’s the link:

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