What Is Missing From Music Today?

On twitter, I asked the question “What is missing from music today?” and the internet went crazy.

There are so many points of view on this subject, but out of the 225+ responses I received, the theme that kept repeating is that our generation needs more soul, passion and authenticity in the music that we’re creating.

Maybe mass media outlets have a stronghold on what we listen to on a regular basis, but with the ability to freely share ideas like never before in history, why isn’t there more of a representation of authentic music in the mainstream of our social consciousness?

This is your chance to let your voice be heard. Share your thoughts on this subject in the comment section below.

Twitter Responses copy


About the author, Matthew Shell


Matthew Shell aka MTS, is an audio production engineer, music business instructor, and multi-instrumentalist. Based in Alexandria, VA, his versatile production style spans genres as wide as jazz and rock, to RnB and soul. Matthew writes and produces music released as solo productions under his own name, as well as for other bands and solo artists. He is the founder and CEO of publishing house and record label MTS Music, a company founded on integrity with the goal to provide the highest quality services & products.

Shell’s work on the production for Marcus Johnson’s album Flo: Chill reached #7 on Billboard Top Contemporary Jazz Chart in 2009. Later that year he worked as the engineer on O.A.R.’s album Rain or Shine that reached #5 on the Independent Albums Chart and also #7 on the US Alternative Albums Chart. In 2011, his work on Grammy Nominee Carolyn Malachi’s Beautiful Dreamer was featured on FOX 5 DC Morning News.

Shell’s career as a Recording Artist took off in 2012 when “Freedom”, his collaboration with Trey Eley was launched by the Recording Academy via a Worldwide Exclusive First Listen at GRAMMY.com in 2012. The album was also featured as one of Generation Bass’ Top Albums for 2012.

In 2013, Shell collaborated with Arun Shenoy on “Genesis”, a jazz instrumental which received massive airplay as the lead single on the full length album, “Victorious”. The video for “Genesis” was released via Steven Slate’s youtube channel in a cross-promotion for the Raven MTX multi-touch control surface.

In 2014, Shell released a single “My Baby”in association with DJ Flexx. The song featuring the vocal talents of IhsAn Bilal, Honore’ & D.C. Don Juan was a song Shell co-wrote and produced for his wife, Terra.

Shell released his follow-up to “Victorious” in 2015 titled “Spiritual Relationship: The Deeper Meaning”. The music on the album was conceived over a 15 year period. During this process, over 200 songs were created and scratched before this final version of 11 songs were picked to be recorded and release as part of this project. Shell’s wife, Terra, inspired the completion of this concept album which goes from two destined souls being alone, to meeting, to growing in love, to protecting each other, to finding true love that lasts a lifetime.

As a freelance audio production engineer, Shell has produced for several other artists including Kenny Wesley, Gerald Albright, Greg Adams, Paul Jackson Jr., Wouter Kellerman, Rocio Marron, Vicu Schek, Kenny McNeil, Collin Brooks, Substantial, Rafael the Drummer, D2D, Kolten Perine, Javier, and Marcus Johnson, has remixed for Selena Gomez, assistant engineered for Philip Lawrence, engineered for O.A.R., and mixed for Free, Jeff Lorber, Ricky Kej, and Marcus Mitchell, among others.

CEO: MTS Music
Producer: The Opportunity
Engineer: The Sweet Spot, Assembly Line Studios, Blue Room Productions and DJ Flexx’s “The Pocket”
Adjunct faculty: Omega Studios

13 thoughts on “What Is Missing From Music Today?

  1. Everyone keeps talking about all these “heartfelt” concepts. I’m sorry but that’s b.s. There may be more music to sift through since the ability to create music is inexpensive these days, but there’s still plenty of these songs that exist. Hell, I’m not really a fan of it but Adele’s new tune has all that warm, fuzzy, honest, open, integrity, soul, passion, compassion, authenticity (on and on) stuff. Maybe you’re just not listening in the right places.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Heart. Everything that everyone is mentioning would be an afterthought if the music being made was something that they could connect to. Even sampling, done in such a way that brought the original feelings made when that sampled record debuted would cause less of a stir. There is no heart in today’s music.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There’s plenty of soul, passion, and authenticity in music today. It’s tougher to find it with the glut of self-produced albums, only a few of which are any good or even competent. I am concerned about the future, when only those who inherit money can afford to be musicians. And yes, there will be some of those who are great, as was Mendelssohn, and as is Ed Sheeran, but if you think “soul” is in the Donald Trump’s and Jed Bush’s of the world, you’re welcome to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If feel that we have lost a whole generation of Australian Rock Music. You only have to look at the Australian iTunes Rock Download Charts to see that the majority of the top 100 is made up of 70’s, 80’s and 90’s rock.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Independence is missing from the music industry today. Artists seem to pander, or are forced, to the industry’s preconceptions of what they should be. The industry tries to fit you into a box once they have you, regardless of what made them notice you in the first place. Seems to go that way with every major artist to break through the last 5 years or so. It has certainly become more apparent anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Diversity! Mainstream music culture is, usually, to try and make the next pop song sound like the current pop hits, which definitely shuts down on the creativity aspect of just making the best music from your heart that you can do and put it out here. Then, maybe once a year, up to 3 years, a totally different sound will become famous, and then everyone else/herd of mainstreamers/wannabe mainstreamers drops everything were formerly working on, and then chases the new sound, terrible trend as far as true creativity and diversity in the long run . . It’s one of the reasons I love being indie, and work on great music, from my heart, that I love, how I want, when I want, and how I want. And if it catches the mainstream ear great, if not, great, but I’m happy, and so should each artist out here be happy with the music you’re creating, if not . . My 2 cents for today Matthew, thanks for asking . .

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The main issue when it comes to finding “more of a representation of authentic music in the mainstream” has less to do with genre, style, instrumentation, etc. than one might think. The issue is that there is a HUGE disparity between interest in music and an incentive to make it. It’s not possible to be make a living writing songs anymore, and so instead of a large number of songwriters representing lots of styles, you’ve got literally just a handful. The result? Mainstream music is all starting to sound the same, and isn’t at all representative of the huge number of styles, influences, etc. that are actually out there.

    Like you said, there has never been a better time for the sharing of ideas. The data supports this – due to Spotify, Apple Music, etc., more people are listening to music than have EVER listened to it before. Here’s the thing though: the revenue generated for songwriters is not consistent with this massive interest. In other words, there is no incentive to be a songwriter anymore. It’s not a reliable way to make a living. Remember that little tune “All About That Bass?” It was streamed over 178,00,000 times. That’s a HUGE hit. Guess how much the songwriter made (not Meghan Trainor, the guy who actually wrote the music). A little over 5,000 bucks. When that’s how much a songwriter is making from a once-in-a-lifetime viral smash of a song, it’s not hard to see why people aren’t so eager to jump into the songwriting business.

    This is due to several extremely antiquated laws that no longer hold much relevance in today’s society. Songwriters (that is to say, the people who write the songs rather than record them) get a royalty based off a law passed in 1909 that had to do with piano rolls (which effectively don’t exist anymore). It decrees that royalty rates for songwriters are set by a federal court, and are NOT determined by a free market. Why does this matter? It is a hopelessly out of date law, and hasn’t kept up with technology like streaming. In short, it results in the kind of ridiculously small pay-outs like I mentioned.

    So what’s missing from music? Sure – genuine emotion, independence, simplicity, etc. But that all comes from one place – the songwriter. If we want to get the music industry back on track, we need to make it an environment that incentivizes artists to write songs. Otherwise, we get the kind of homogeneity that plagues the industry.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: How to break free of writer’s block | RockDafuqOut


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