Music in Russia will not roll back in the 1980s. Troitsky and other critics of local culture are wrong

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Against the background of what is happening more and more often (from Artemy Troitsky to Twitter users) they talk about the rollback of the music industry in Russia in the dark times. Why this will not happen – a column by Vladimir Zavyalov.

The main agenda of any talk about music in Russia in the last two months – what will happen to the industry and music in general? The picture is bleak: restrictions and departure of streams and labels, the creation of the Association of the music industry, dreaming of state support. Against this background, it is tempting to draw a simple conclusion: now the industry will roll back 15-20 years: music in Russia will be less, music in Russia will be worse.

Loudest of all on this topic spoke* Artemy Troitsky. The thoughts of the father of Russian music criticism of all Russia are simple and scary: the Internet is under lock and key, the industry will be in 1984 (not Orwell’s, but Soviet Chernenkov’s), song and dance ensembles, Cossack choirs will flourish, international cultural exchange will break. In general, everything goes according to plan and flies clearly where – the route is built. The AK column successfully coincided with twitter disputes about Russian culture, accompanied by the question: “Is it there at all?” (and how “Russian” it is).

Trinity can be understood. He, an old-fashioned man, found art councils, semi-secret apartment buildings, records “on the bone”, a semi-independent rock club, Western vinyl at the price of local wages. Unlike all of us, he remembers how it was before, so he instantly revived in his head a picture of the former horror. However, this does not cancel a number of alarming, and sometimes frankly controversial takes in his material.

“We have her [коммерческой поп-музыки] the Ministry of Culture, state media companies, and even the presidential administration are actively intervening. They distribute government orders, provide (or not) TV broadcasts, and bless corporate parties, ”Artemy Kivovich writes. This once again confirms that Troitsky is an old man who discusses local industry in the spirit of traditional show business institutions – TV, radio and corporate parties.

Kizaru shows how to literally be wanted in Russia and at the same time become popular

It seems that Troitsky missed the streaming boom in Russia, the whole wave of Russian fancy rap and any other music from the charts. Surely he does not know about the existence of a conditional OG Buddha, living without TV broadcasts, government orders, blessings on corporate parties and other things that, according to Troitsky, decide the situation in the industry.

Artemy Kivovich says that “the entertainment and cultural leisure industry in Russia is incredibly dependent on the state.” With regard to the record market, this is pure untruth – until February 24, 45% of the market was controlled by a large trio of majors (Warner, Sony and Universal), another 20% – Zvonko (its customers – non-governmental labels “First Music”, “Soyuz Studio”). , Union Music, as well as Effective Records and Gamma Music). The record industry of the Russian Federation was one of the few industries that existed almost without government intervention, even if it played by the laws of the Russian Federation.

Keeping in mind Soviet censorship, Troitsky frightens the reader with military ensembles, Cossack choirs and agitpop, and foretells to any musician who deviates from the party line the search for detours in the dungeon. But this is a serious exaggeration. So, Kizaru, co-author of the most popular album of 2021 – a man who not only until February 24, but his entire career was under investigation in Russia and in forced emigration. Was he underground? Except in the metaphorical.

Will the lives of musicians change? Definitely. We have already written about thisand more than once. We have yet to imagine how painful the departure of streams and labels will hit the wallets of artists, how the future situation will affect their thoughts and words – it is clear that as before it will not be. It will be painful, but not deadly.

Russian music will definitely not turn out to be historical or literary in 1984, even under the worst scenarios. Some things are simply impossible to unwind.

Comparing the 1980s and 2020s is terribly wrong. Now it is much easier for us to adapt and circumvent restrictions. It is impossible to recreate a dam that has already been broken. More than one generation has grown up that has taken non-norms in vocabulary and ethics for a recognized musical canon. If it is still possible to give up Spotify, it is impossible to imagine that the whole country will get rid of all the listening habits accumulated over the years, from OG Buda, Mayot and Lovv66. Yes, Mayot may no longer boast a new sports car, OG Buda will learn Aesop’s language, and Lovv66 will become a UAE citizen. But even if their tracks will never appear on any streaming service again, it does not mean that the listener will not satisfy his listener request.

Our info field is too wide – if they close the stream in one place, it will break in another: again, the example of Kizaru shows how a rap star can live in exile without concerts. He can live well.

As for cultural exchange, it is worth saying honestly: the loophole in the domestic market occurred in 2014, when due to the first sanctions and the economic crisis, we lost most of the concert imports from abroad. After that, Russian music actively worked inside – looking for itself in the roots and localizing Western trends. In this sense, little will change. Will local artists – not only from Russia, but also, say, Belarus – continue to travel to Europe? There will be, albeit with restrictions and costs: Ic3Peak is rolling back the European tour right now, and “Silent at Home” is going to Coachella. It is simply impossible to sever these ties.

Ic3peak is an example of Russian cultural exports that will not disappear

Yes, musical emigration will grow – but, as practice shows (see, for example, the recent concerts of Monetochka and Noize MC), without support, artists abroad will not remain. Moreover, such musicians speak louder and are heard louder, including at home. Can they be shut up? Hardly.

Would you say that local content cannot be influenced from the outside? Remember such an artist from London. His name is Oxymiron.

Naturally, music in Russia will become more difficult: in money, in statements, in platforms, and in ways of expression. But since 1984 we have gone too far – there is no way back.

Instead of the final, let this one be song heroines with covers. Both we and you will survive.

* The Insider is included in the register of mass media acting as a foreign agent by the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation.

Details on the topic

Leaving Spotify, cancellations of festivals and albums: what happened to music in Russia in a month

Leaving Spotify, cancellations of festivals and albums: what happened to music in Russia in a month

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