The web has given the opportunity for producers to make more adventurous music than ever before, while levelling the industry’s playing field for a whole new generation of unlikely pop stars. No longer the domain of multi-million dollar conglomerates, pop music has come to the bedroom and seen artists as varied as AlunaGeorge, Charli XCX and Teengirl Fantasy rise to prominence in short amounts of time. So what will happen to the old concept of pop in the digital era?
Artists like rising UK songstress Charli XCX, Brooklyn-based post-dream pop outfit Teengirl Fantasy and London duo AlunaGeorge (who recently scored a #2 single in the UK via their collaboration with Disclosure, “White Noise”) have all made chart-bothering music without the aid of big budgets and studios. They’ve taken advantage of a distribution model where SoundCloud streams and iTunes links are the new normal, by projecting a realness that other, more manufactured acts simply can’t compete with.
In this sixth and final episode of our H∆SHTAG$ series, we chat with some of the artists that have made compelling independent pop music over the past few years. What exactly is “pop” when Billboard has just recently added YouTube views to the way it calculates its charts? How has the Internet changed the way that radio sounds? Is there something that connects all of these blog stars? AlunaGeorge, Charli XCX, Red Bull Music Academy class of ’10 Katy B, Teengirl Fantasy and 4AD’s Blood Diamonds seek to answer these questions, with noted journalist Ruth Saxelby of Dummy also weighing in.