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Thread: Devaluation of music

  1. #16
    Senior Member Victor Redseal's Avatar
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    I DO believe music is devalued today. I just don't believe it was always devalued. At one time, if you were good, you could make a decent living as musician. Today, it's getting harder to do. You can still do it but unless you become some sensation like a Katy Perry or a Taylor Swift, you have to be a teacher. Your real bread and butter is mainly income from teaching. Then you try to land gigs whenever you can. It's hard. Even if you are making and selling recordings, CDs are less popular than they were. Consumers would rather have it for free so they download. The royalty checks from Spotify are pathetically small. I've made more busking on the street for a week than a major artists makes off Spotify in a year. How can you continue to make and sell music if you don't get paid enough to make a living at it? And if I have to work another job to have the money, I don't have the time to write and record the music.

    Consumers don't want to pay for music anymore but show no concern about how an artist can continue to give music away for free. There's a knowledge disconnect. Money magically gets made to pay recording artists whose music is being downloaded for free or for a penny or two.

    That says to the artist: "I don't care how hard you worked to become a recording artist and musician, I'm not paying you for your music. I expect you to give it to me for free and if you end up in the gutter, I don't care. There'll be more of you where you came from." The only way to make it today is to be insanely popular but if you are then you are almost certainly peddling crap. I'd buy an original Thomas Kinkade painting before I spent a cent on your music. But maybe that makes me part of the problem too?
    "God," asked Adam, "why did you make Eve so beautiful?"
    And He replied, "So that you could love her."
    "But God," asked Adam, "why did you make her so stupid?"
    And He replied, "So that she could love you."

  2. #17
    Senior Member fluteman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor Redseal View Post
    I DO believe music is devalued today. I just don't believe it was always devalued. At one time, if you were good, you could make a decent living as musician. Today, it's getting harder to do. You can still do it but unless you become some sensation like a Katy Perry or a Taylor Swift, you have to be a teacher. Your real bread and butter is mainly income from teaching. Then you try to land gigs whenever you can. It's hard. Even if you are making and selling recordings, CDs are less popular than they were. Consumers would rather have it for free so they download. The royalty checks from Spotify are pathetically small. I've made more busking on the street for a week than a major artists makes off Spotify in a year. How can you continue to make and sell music if you don't get paid enough to make a living at it? And if I have to work another job to have the money, I don't have the time to write and record the music.

    Consumers don't want to pay for music anymore but show no concern about how an artist can continue to give music away for free. There's a knowledge disconnect. Money magically gets made to pay recording artists whose music is being downloaded for free or for a penny or two.

    That says to the artist: "I don't care how hard you worked to become a recording artist and musician, I'm not paying you for your music. I expect you to give it to me for free and if you end up in the gutter, I don't care. There'll be more of you where you came from." The only way to make it today is to be insanely popular but if you are then you are almost certainly peddling crap. I'd buy an original Thomas Kinkade painting before I spent a cent on your music. But maybe that makes me part of the problem too?
    Yes, that 's the argument musicians make. I really don't want to dive down this rabbit hole, but when you think about it, people today are actually paying a whole lot of money for their music. They are paying huge sums for internet access and data capacity, and also cable tv access, making a select few companies very, very large and rich. Back in the golden age, all radio was free, and tv too, and they gave most people all the music they could ever want, even classical music (though they might also buy records by their favorite stars). All you had to do was listen to some ads.
    Today's consumers feel they are already paying a lot for their music, and they don't want to pay twice. So far the content providers have had a tough time getting their nuggets from the internet and cable tv motherlode, especially the small ones. Disney fights hard on many levels for its profits, but what is good for Disney isn't necessarily good for the struggling individual musician.
    I'd rather not go further into this, it seems to be an emotional point for many.

  3. #18
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    For whatever reason, including no doubt many cited in the original article, about 0.5% of my peers at home and work like ‘Classical music’. I am 47. So I have I guess 140 or so people in this group that I know well enough to know their tastes. Two of those people like ‘classical music’ – 1 exclusively opera and the other has some interest in classical period composers. That’s it. As for any 20C art music let alone contemporary – none.

    But despite all this, if you look hard enough there are two vibrant chamber music festivals near my fairly rural part of SE England and Radio 3, The Proms etc all make me feel very excited at the present. What the future holds is another matter.

  4. #19
    Member philoctetes's Avatar
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    I may get nostalgic about Golden Age TV but definitely not about "free" music from those days, when the FM dial was almost as useless as short-wave and AM played nothing but hits until you were sick of them. FM got better but the internet really changed the landscape.

    All commercial entertainment has a pyrimidal structure. They want to impale us upon the peaks. Best to check out the foundation where the buskers hang out... but they don't want you to think that way...

    Sports has confronted the same scam, I grew up where there were no professional teams and amateur sports were highly respected and attended. But kids nowadays are raised to respect only "the best" and treat the rest as losers. And we know what athletes will do to be "the best"...
    Last edited by philoctetes; Jan-11-2018 at 20:50.

  5. #20
    Senior Member fluteman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by philoctetes View Post
    I may get nostalgic about Golden Age TV but definitely not about "free" music from those days, when the FM dial was almost as useless as short-wave and AM played nothing but hits until you were sick of them. FM got better but the internet really changed the landscape.

    All commercial entertainment has a pyrimidal structure. They want to impale us upon the peaks. Best to check out the foundation where the buskers hang out... but they don't want you to think that way...

    Sports has confronted the same scam, I grew up where there were no professional teams and amateur sports were highly respected and attended. But kids nowadays are raised to respect only "the best" and treat the rest as losers. And we know what athletes will do to be "the best"...
    You make great points in your second and third paragraphs, but as for your first, well, you didn't grow up when I did in New York, or in Chicago or Boston, for that matter. Back in the day, WNCN in New York, WFMT in Chicago and WCRB in Boston were great classical music stations that went much deeper than the predictable classical hits or easy listening choices. Yes, you wanted to own some beloved favorite LPs, but there was really no need to compile your own complete library unless you were a serious student or musician yourself. All that began to change for the worse as early as the mid 1960s. The pyramidal structure you describe was well in place by the 80s. But at this point, with streaming and download services, conventional classical radio has lost much of its purpose anyway, at least for serious listeners.
    You'll be glad to hear that minor league baseball has made somewhat of a comeback in my area, I think mainly for the reasons you touch upon. It seems a bit more genuine, an a bit less ostentatiously commercial. But I don't think you'll see classical records making a comeback anytime soon.

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