I was recently asked this question, and I must admit that at first I could not think of an answer. As it is an art, does that mean that any kind of sound or noise can count as being music? I think different people will have different definitions of what music is though, which is why there are so many genres and everyone has their own taste.
I think that the purpose of art is for the artist to convey their emotions and feelings to the audience. As music is an art, then it leads me to think that music is sound organised in a way for the listener to be able to feel what the artist wants them to feel. In other words, music should be able to make a listener feel a certain emotion. This can be done either by the melody or by the lyrics, or even both.
Some people say that certain genres are not proper music. The specific genre brought to me when I was asked ‘what is music’ was dubstep. I have encountered many people who do not regard this genre as being ‘proper’ music, and although I cannot say that I enjoy listening to it either, thinking about the definition of music changed my view of it. I realised that emotions are conveyed onto people in different ways, and any type of sound can do this. For example, birds tweeting usually conveys calm and relaxing emotions, while a sound like cars honking or babies crying can convey a stressful emotion. Of course not everyone will think that, and so it is possible that what some people think as being annoying can actually be pleasing to another. There won’t be many people who think against this norm, but that is where pop music comes in.
I think that pop music is the easiest for people to relate to, hence why they are popular. This might be because they have a catchy tune, and/or because the lyrics are able to touch many people. Unfortunately I think that there is a problem with pop music at the moment, in that artists are often used by record labels just to make money. This might seem to make sense and the obvious thing to do for a business, but I think that this is the wrong way to approach an art. In my opinion, the quality and passion for music should come first, and as people who share the same values come to see this artist, the money will follow.
Being a musical artist can bring a lot of money, which attracts a lot of people into the business, but I think that doing it for the money is wrong. I think that record labels and artists can sometimes produce what they think people will like and sell millions. Sure the music might be popular, but ultimately will the artist be just as happy producing something that perhaps doesn’t truly convey their emotions? Unfortunately most people will never see that money even if they produce good quality music, but perhaps the whole point of music shouldn’t be for the money. Perhaps it should be a way for the artist to let out their emotions and the money is sometimes just a consequence of that.