Hi, im new here and am writing a paper on how economics affect music. I was hoping that you guys might have a few ideas to stoke the intellectual fire. Here is what I have so far:
1) 100's of years ago music was affected by the economic conditions of its time. Music was a luxury good so when times were good music was more of a priority and used for entertainment, such as in the classical era.
2) Music today is affected by economics in a different way. Economics tends to determine what is written, as in the lyrics of a song.
If any one has more ideas or can help me build off of this it would be much appreciated.
The fundamentals of economics on music are no different to other goods and services in a relatively free market. The decisions companies make on whether to stage and record Richard Wagner's Ring cycle (a series of four operas) versus Karlheinz Stockhausen's Licht (a series of seven operas) is no different. Likewise on the individual level on how much Wagner to listen versus Stockhausen all the way up to government subsidies is no different to how much other similar consumption and subsidy choices.
Suggest you read up a book about economics first for your school assignment ...
Thank you for your reply, I am a graduating senior with a degree in economics and finance. This is the last class i have to take to officially graduate. I was referring more to how the economic conditions of a country/ period affect the music created. For example during the classical era people were well off and as such people began to use more luxury goods (music) and with this renewed interest in music came concert halls, pianos, and a new style of music.
You might look at how shifting buying power in the economy changed the nature of music. For example, perhaps early classical appealed to the wealthy patrons; romantic music appealed to the growing middle class; and modern pop appeals to teens with allowances; etc. Seems like a fairly simple and obvious generalization.
Seems to me the angle to pursue is "supply and demand". We get the music we get today because it meets demand, ergo it sells.
I think you can also build the argument through a reverse angle: why do orchestras (like in Philadelphia, and in Calgary a few years ago) have to go "bankrupt"? In the case of the Calgary Philharmonic, more perplexing as the barrel of oil has been doing extremely well. Answer: dwindling attemdance because people aren't drawn to the music they champion. No demand means hard financial times.
I remember one writer point out that during Bach's time most people were probably able to listen to classical music only a few times in their lives. In addition, most probably lived and died only a few kilometers from where they were born as it was very difficult to travel. In contrast, more people today have more access to Bach due to the technology of recorded music but listen mostly to commercial pop music.
Don't forget about copyright issues--how nowadays large corporations own most music copyright instead of the composers and make tons of money from it. Also, you should mention digital media, and how music is much easier and cheaper to find and distribute because of it.