Of course you may now say that things can’t be that bad, that popular music isn’t that bad at all, and that the writer of this book must be a quite frustrated person when claiming that most of today’s music is complete crap. So maybe it’s now time to introduce you to Sturgeon’s law, which will be a great tool for critical thinking, and that may also help you to make some great progress when analyzing things in future.
So what’s Sturgeon’s law about? Well, let me start with a short history lesson…
Science fiction stories and books had become highly popular in the first half of the 20th century, but the genre was often derided for its low quality by both critics and by writers focusing on more traditional genres.
American fantasy, science fiction and horror writer Theodore Sturgeon was quite frustrated because of that situation, until he started examining works in other genres, which led him to the conclusion that the majority of examples of works in other fields could equally be seen to be of low quality, and that science fiction was thus no different in that regard from other art forms.
In the March 1958 issue of Venture, Sturgeon wrote:
“Using the same standards that categorize 90% of science fiction as trash, crud, or crap, it can be argued that 90% of film, literature, consumer goods, etc. is crap. In other words, the claim (or fact) that 90% of science fiction is crap is ultimately uninformative, because science fiction conforms to the same trends of quality as all other artforms.”
The phase “ninety percent of everything is crap” has since been known as “Sturgeon’s law” (originally known as “Sturgeon’s Revelation”), and nowadays it is believed that it can be applied to every single domain, including music.
In 2013, philosopher Daniel Dennett championed Sturgeon’s law as one of his seven tools for critical thinking:
“90% of everything is crap. That is true, whether you are talking about physics, chemistry, evolutionary psychology, sociology, medicine—you name it—rock music, country western. 90% of everything is crap.”
Sturgeon’s law has been tested in many fields since it was coined about 60 years ago, and nowadays it’s believed to be universally true in all domains.
NINETY PERCENT OF EVERYTHING IS CRAP, INCLUDING THE VAST MAJORITY OF MUSIC IN ALL GENRES.
As said before this has always been the case, even back in the 1960s and 1970s, and even back in the days of Beethoven. High quality art is a rare phenomenon, and nowadays the very few good or even great works are no longer being promoted by record companies, which explains that the vast majority of all mainstream music is crap.
THE FACT THAT NINETY PERCENT OF ALL MUSIC IS CRAP IS NOT JUST SOME CLAIM BY THE AUTHOR OF THIS MANUAL — IT’S AN UNIVERSALLY ACCEPTED LAW!
The sooner you will accept this and the sooner you will start analyzing today’s music in order to realize how bad it actually is, the sooner you will start to progress, and the faster you will learn how to make music that will be a lot better than anything currently out there.