The elephants in the room of popular music, the ones who not only don't get talked about by critics and who (as far as I know) don’t get paid attention to on news or entertainment sites either, but who also get undercounted on Billboard and are mostly excluded from the Brit singles chart and therefore Popular, include what was historically called "easy listening" or "beautiful music," as well as smooth jazz, quiet storm, lite rock, adult contemporary, urban AC, and oldies. Music liked by the audiences [for such genres and formats] will always get undercounted because their listening is less concentrated on specific tracks and less concentrated on recently released ones but also because these audiences are less likely to buy the music directly, whether on a single or an album. They're nonetheless consumers, and presumably respond to what gets advertised on radio and TV (and now on YouTube?).Ref. to "Popular" is to Tom Ewing's project over the last decade of blurbing and shepherding a discussion on every track to hit number 1 on the British singles chart from 1952 to the present — hence also my reference to the Brit singles chart.
But I’m guessing these audiences download a lot that in the old days they'd never have purchased in physical form, and that there's been a change in e.g. the way people listen on the job from, in days of yore, hearing a radio station piped into an entire office to, nowadays, listening to their individual iPods and such. I emphasize that these are guesses.
The phrase "elephant in the room" usually refers to something that everyone affected by knows is there — a mother's drug addiction, for instance — but that, owing to e.g. family members' desire to sustain their habitual ways of working around the problem and getting through the day without too much pain, no one is willing to talk about. Whereas (1) "adult contemporary" and ilk are only a problem for someone, if there is such a person, who takes all of Anglo-American popular music as a good hunk of their remit and (2) such genres, though big enough, are generally barely attended to by those who don't deliberately tune to the stations, so are in effect invisible, and so discussion is simply not generated rather than being psychologically suppressed.
I myself don't feel a great imperative to try and take the measure of e.g. Jason Mraz and Michael Bublé; they're part of the general environment of the music I do care about, so I'd rather have knowledge than not have knowledge. But the world is full of other relevant stuff, such as the economics and sociology of music, music theory, J-pop, and so forth, that I'm also not paying enough attention to, and that I'm more interested in. So Mraz, Bublé, et al. will continue to get short shrift from me.*
( Actual elephant hiding under the cutCollapse )
( FootnotesCollapse )