Acceptance Envelops New Age Music


We love historical articles here at New Age Music Guide! One of the very best is this one; “Acceptance Envelops New Age – Grammys Welcome It, But Definitions Differ” from 4 December 1986 by Boston Globe’s Steve Morse.

It starts like this:

“New Age music finally has come of age.

When Grammy Award nominations are announced in January, New Age music for the first time will have its own category.

Yet if there no longer is any dispute over acceptance of the music, there`s still wide-open debate over just what New Age music is. Is it acoustic folk? Acoustic jazz? Electronic music? Ambient meditation music? Or a combination of all the above?

“I`ve been following the different names it has been called,“ says composer Jim Scott. “When I toured with the Paul Winter Consort six years ago, no one called it New Age music. It was called whole earth music after the Whole Earth catalog. And it`s certainly been called granola music. Once I even saw it called yoga music. That was in a store in Colorado, where there were just three albums in that category–one by Winter, one by an electronic composer, and the other was `Jane Fonda`s Workout.` So I guess we`ve come a long way from that.“

A long way, indeed.

It may have emerged from the holistic health movement and hippie concerns with peace, love and planetary balance, but New Age music today is a new bandwagon–and major record labels are clamoring to hop aboard.

These labels have watched New Age pianists George Winston and Michael Jones, harpist Andreas Vollenweider and synthesists Kitaro and Vangelis catch on with a stressed-out public in need of easy-listening instrumental music

–which is perhaps as good a definition of the New Age genre as any.

The floodgates opened last year when A&M signed a distribution pact with Winston`s label, Windham Hill. Then Geffen Records signed Kitaro, and RCA linked up with the Private Music label. And just three weeks ago, MCA signed for 11 albums from the Narada label. These include four by Jones, a Canadian who has become so popular he earned a reported $200,000 in royalties so far this year.

Jones` figures are hardly on the level of a big-name rock star (Paul McCartney reportedly earns $20 million in royalties a year), but it shows the growing clout of the genre. New Age artists are now responsible for 2 to 3 percent of all record sales, which may not seem impressive until one considers that the music business is a $4 billion industry.”

Read the complete article here. Highly recommended! 

Picture by DNDavies –