“Millennials listen to music with no meaning”, is something that people love to say about our generation. And they might be right… But with the evolution of technology, nowadays, anyone can be a musician and that has created a large community of millennials who support and invest largely in the music industry.
Brian “Brio” Riofrio (@bri_tothe_o) is a multifaceted artist with a concentration in music. His assets range from being a rapper, producer, songwriter, sound engineer and fashion designer. Brio’s goal as a musician is to inspire others, to express himself, and to create a language for anyone to relate to.
Kira: Why do you think that older generations say that millennials listen to music that is not notable and has no meaning? For example, older people love to complain about rap lyrics and shit.
Brian: Well I feel like it’s because we do. Music and content that we see and hear through our phones isn’t very notable… Millennials have a short attention span so we don’t always even care to listen to music with depth.
Kira: So you do think this stereotype about our generation is true?
Brian: I do. I think that the stereotype is correct.
Kira: So who are some artists that create music with a message?
Brian: Obviously A$AP Mob has an inspirational movement. Jaden Smith gets stereotyped as making trap rap but he also uses his platform to encourage environmental safety which is super dope. Even Ski Mask the Slump God supports and donates to a lot of low income communities. Even though some if his music seems empty and dumb, he does say very credible things at times.
Kira: Love to hear that. And A$AP Mob is life.
Kira: How do you think music has evolved today? Like what makes our generation of music so much different than others?
Brian: I feel like a big difference is that anyone can create music now. You can be any race or any gender. As long as you have the confidence in yourself and want to use your freedom of speech, making music can be for anyone. But in a way, music has been going in a circle and today the style represents old sounds too.
Brian: Also things like fashion, the internet and money all correlate with music. So when fashion changes, music changes with it and vice versa. And with the internet artists can now reach millions of people. And people talk about in their songs, only things that you can get with money and stuff.
Kira: Ohhh I see. I like the correlation between music and fashion going hand in hand, and today artists are so unique with how they look and fashion can be a big staple along with the music itself.
Kira: What advantages do aspiring musicians in our generation have?
Brian: Technology for sure. You can reach people all around the world which is really fucking cool and it makes it easier to get in touch with higher ranked people in the music industry… You can also have a home studio in your house now which is huge. You can make professional music in your own home for a lot cheaper.
Kira: That’s true. It’s projected that recording labels aren’t going to be necessary/ valued in a few years.
Brian: Yes I definitely agree with that. With the distribution platforms that we have now, you can upload a song yourself, make your own website, and you can be more yourself when you are the one promoting it.
Kira: What platforms do you think are the most valued?
Brian: All the streaming platforms are huge. Like Spotify and SoundCloud. I can put my own music on Spotify and Itunes through distribution websites like DistroKid or Tidal. This allows me to put any music that I want to on streaming platforms. Without these distribution websites it would be really hard for someone like me to get my music up on ITunes.
Brian: Another really valuable thing about our generation is that we can get feedback really quickly through the internet. So when I put out music, I know what my fans do and don’t like. Back in the day, you would have to buy CDs and find out word-of-mouth how people felt about it.
Kira: Is the music industry more competitive now?
Brian: Yeah people invest more money into music now and the industry is a lot more saturated because literally anyone can create music and promote it.
Kira: I feel like even though there is a lot more competition, its cool to create a group like you and your friends have done with WODA. Where you are pulling together artists and combingin your networks and resources. Also similar to A$AP Mob like you metioned before.
Brian: One hundred and ten percent. And all of us in WODA draw more traffic to our art through music and through each other’s fan base which is cool. The industry can be surprisingly very supportive.
Music is constantly evolving and borrowing from the past, which doesn’t necessarily make our generation of music new. But millennials have slowly stopped caring about record labels and started caring about how to use technology as an asset to promote their music. Even though it can be a cutthroat industry, finding people who support your craft can take you can long way.