Billboard_1 Our recent commentary on the failure of efforts by the music community to get out the youth vote during the recent election was just published in Billboard under the rather amusing title above.
Why did the incredible efforts made by the music community to get out the vote and influence the 2004 election have so little effect?  Despite an unprecedented number of concerts, campaign appearances and fund raising, less than 20% of all eligible voters ages 18-30 went to the polls – the same pitiful percentage as in 2000.

But weren’t we all incredibly naive to expect that musicians could influence voters when the vast majority of today’s music does not communicate on any kind of meaningful level?  The rush for the lowest common denominator by labels, radio, MTV and greedy musicians all encourages and rewards music that connects with people on only the most superfluous levels. It has become all about bling and booty.

While we should applaud efforts to get out the vote and influence elections, why would a fan head to the polls when we’ve taught them that chasing sex, riches, and fame are what really matters?  Many of us joke that Republicans just aren’t as sexy as Democrats; but isn’t the Republican party the home of the kind of wealth and power that much of today’s music celebrates?

The music community needs to remember that the deepest and most lasting relationships between art and the public are based on connecting on a far deeper level. Only then will artists begin to influence their audience on issues that really matter. And then perhaps artists can also expect their fans to support them by buying CD’s and tickets because the art that they are sharing actually matters.

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