Classical Music Forum banner
461 - 480 of 500 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,370 Posts
- Those who do not recognize sociopolitical analysis as a valid and established perspective in musicology are indeed akin to flat-earthers. I did not infer stupidity, only a fair degree of ignorance.

Does anyone else want to point out where I contradict myself?
So, agree with 'your' sociopolitical analysis or one you happen to agree with, otherwise you're ignorant. Got it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
365 Posts
So, agree with 'your' sociopolitical analysis or one you happen to agree with, otherwise you're ignorant. Got it.
I'd add socio-political analysis is a thing and we can all agree it is useful, in opera there are class clashes. But completely invented narration to support precise ideas and sell more books is another thing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,138 Posts
Speaking partly as a moderator, and partly as just a regular member of TC, my only comment on the above is that "arguments about arguing" are a side issue and don't really advance the discussion of the topic at hand.
Fair enough. After a while, though, I think "side issues" and "what 'advances' the discussion" get blurred.

Who's "impression" is false? Who claimed they were being "revolutionary"? The whole point is circumventing traditional classical music institutions and using a different paradigm to promote and sell directly to their audience. But this idea was not unique to classical music, far from it. Classical musicians took their cue from the Indie scene which predates by several decades the Internet. Hip-hop started out entirely Indie, as did other pop genres.

One of the first things Claire Chase did was found the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) - and others like her founded or co-founded their own ensembles and performance venues. These classical musicians commissioned new works, and this new model grew.

This all really took off with the digital age, and record labels realized that the ground was shifting, and their grip on selling music wold over time erode. This has been the case for all genres, not just classical music.

Sites like Soundcloud, Bandcamp, CD Baby allowed musicians to market and sell directly to their audience without a record label or publisher. But building an audience was still done the old-fashioned way: live concerts.

I'm all for it and see it as an outgrowth of what the potential the Internet presented, for all the arts, not just classical music. But it has taken a while for that potential to become reality.

I don't see anything to be against.
The impression that artists like Chase go about their business completely divorced from traditional institutions is false. And many people have this impression. So what's going to happen to the next generation when those traditional institutions actually die out? I'm most worried about the institutionalization of entrepreneurialism, which is conditioning composers to a life of financial insecurity and glorifying it.

Chase had said that "the artist needs no outside entity to legitimize or stamp approval on her work." This is true in a limited sense, but help from cultural gatekeepers is required to disseminate that work. The gatekeepers that helped Chase's generation are being replaced by new ones, though no one's sure what those are yet. It's become apparent that the internet has been settled by big money and is not nearly as "democratic" as we thought it was. Grassroots growth is extremely rare: according to John Wihbey, "[v]iral is the exception, big broadcasts - and lonely voices whistling in the digital hurricane - are the norm." Consumers are reluctant to sift through the growing avalanche of new music in front of them and resort to simply focusing on what's popular. When artists become popular through good press, people seem to think more highly of their music without even needing to hear a note of it. Unfortunately, this means that there are only a few "winners" and the number of "losers" keeps getting larger and larger. And I think focused solely on "entrepreneurialism" helps people ignore these unpleasant realities (hence its newfound acceptance in music programs).

Now I don't think Claire Chase herself ignores unpleasant realities, but some of her rhetoric enables other people to do so.

My jaundiced view of some (not all) of what goes on arises from a sense that it is too easy for a clique to create a large body of mutually reinforcing articles based on their own shared assumptions (or prejudices) and practically impossible for anyone to refute them.
I completely understand, and there definitely are many toxic cliques in academia, but as fbjim says I don't think McClary's theory is even that "bad."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,138 Posts
So, agree with 'your' sociopolitical analysis or one you happen to agree with, otherwise you're ignorant. Got it.
No. Simply agree that sociopolitical analysis can be a useful perspective. Doesn't have to be "mine."

I'd add socio-political analysis is a thing and we can all agree it is useful, in opera there are class clashes. But completely invented narration to support precise ideas and sell more books is another thing.
Agreed, and I think it's pretty easy to tell which is which.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,081 Posts
A running joke, by the way, with "indie" musicians is to see how many of them have rich parents- it's usually a lot. If "serious music" is dying, it's because of this - if you want people to make art, you need a class of people with free time, and at least some level of financial security, which you don't get when the patronage system is gone, academic humanities are being slashed and demonized (ironically by some of the same people who lament the poor taste of modern society), and the cost of living (rent, medical expenses) is skyrocketing while wages are not.

A lot of people have expressed similar views, but it's almost certain that countless people with the same natural talent as Mozart or Mendelssohn have died as poor laborers who never got the chance to utilize their gifts. Without any financial security or support structures, it's virtually certain countless more will have the same story. In some way it seems like a regression to the years when music was a game for the wealthy- except without wealthy patrons.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,009 Posts
The impression that artists like Chase go about their business completely divorced from traditional institutions is false.
While she may have attracted interest from established institutions more recently, she didn't start out that way. She created her own performance organization (ICE) right out of college and worked for years building an audience and support, not only for herself but for a group of artists. She is not alone, virtually all musicians and composers of her generation have done a similar thing. To fault Claire Chase because of her success I think is the actual false assumption.

Chase had said that "the artist needs no outside entity to legitimize or stamp approval on her work." This is true in a limited sense, but help from cultural gatekeepers is required to disseminate that work.
It in true in every sense. and is at the heart of the path being carved by new artists, both within the classical community and outside with other genres. "Help from cultural gatekeepers" is a vague phrase, and unless you provide specific examples, and site them on the timeline of her career or others, then it is an empty phrase.

It's become apparent that the internet has been settled by big money and is not nearly as "democratic" as we thought it was.
Actually the Internet is a fairly neutral playground. What is important is for an artist to build an audience outside of the Internet and then to use the Internet, i.e. social media, to market their work to an already existing audience which can then grow exponentially. But the initial spade work is like it has always been, playing live gigs and cultivating an audience.

Grassroots growth is extremely rare: according to John Wihbey, "[v]iral is the exception, big broadcasts - and lonely voices whistling in the digital hurricane - are the norm." Consumers are reluctant to sift through the growing avalanche of new music in front of them and resort to simply focusing on what's popular.
This is irrelevant for what I'm talking about on a couple of counts:

1) I've already said more than once that an audience needs to be cultivated through live performances, not from scratch on the Internet, which is virtually impossible. But why would someone try that knowing how long the odds are of succeeding when there are more obvious paths?

2) None of these new classical music artists are fantasizing about going viral, they more realistic than that. They are seeking to grow their audience and create opportunities for their music to the extent it can support their career. They have no illusions about becoming the next Billie Eilish - they simply want to find a way to compose/perform the kind of music they are passionate about, without artistic constrictions applied externally.

Now I don't think Claire Chase herself ignores unpleasant realities, but some of her rhetoric enables other people to do so.
And I think you are being unfair in how you characterize her career, intentions, and impact.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
312 Posts
Actually the Internet is a fairly neutral playground. What is important is for an artist to build an audience outside of the Internet and then to use the Internet, i.e. social media, to market their work to an already existing audience which can then grow exponentially. But the initial spade work is like it has always been, playing live gigs and cultivating an audience.
I'm not familiar with Claire Chase so can't comment on her, but I heard reports that platform such as Spotify might not be an equal platform due to cheating.

There is a video about it:

There is a Journal of High Technology Law Piece on this topic:
... However, the payout for artists is not great. In 2018, Spotify paid about $.006 to $.004 per steam to the holder of music rights. To put this in perspective, about one million plays would translate to around $7,000 on Spotify and around $1,650 on Pandora. Therefore, artists, record labels, producers, and anyone else that is a holder of the music rights have a strong interest in getting as many streams as possible for their music. Consequently, streaming fraud is a massive issue in the music industry right now, as fake accounts are used to inflate streaming play numbers.
Recently, Tidal, a music streaming platform, was accused of intentionally falsifying streaming numbers for Beyoncé's "Lemonade" and Kanye West's "Life of Pablo." Tidal is primarily owned by Beyoncé's husband Jay-Z, and as a result of the fake streams, Tidal is accused of paying inflated royalties to Beyoncé's and West's labels. Assuming that these accusations are true, Tidal is responsible for several hundred million fraudulent streams. These fraudulent streams generated massive royalty payouts for Beyoncé and West at the expense of other artists. This leaves other artists wondering what can be done to combat fraudulent streaming in the music industry.
However, aside from the Tidal allegations, it is often very difficult to identify the source of fraudulent streaming. For the most part, the streaming problem in the music industry is undetectable. This works to further disadvantage the independent musicians and small labels. As a result of the undetectability of fraudulent streaming, legal ramifications do not seem like they will work to deter the streaming fraudsters.
In a document draft by a FEC attorney, he pointed out that Bandcamp and other sites similar to that who appeal to consumer through claims of directly supporting artists may be deceptive advertising.

I'm concerned on how these trends impact the livihoods of contemporary classical composers and musicians as they break apart from record labels (which I don't think is necessary a bad thing).

I'm not in the music industry and these examples are in non classical musics, so this not be representative of the internet platform for classical music, but I'm concerned that if these reports are true then the career of a contemporary composer may not be an improvement from the past as they are losing out revenue that can support their expense. So, if my concerns is ill-placed please let me know as it would be great to correct a an incorrect perception of the classical music industry and the struggle facing contemporary classical composers and musicians.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,370 Posts
No. Simply agree that sociopolitical analysis can be a useful perspective. Doesn't have to be "mine."
Portamento said:
Of course, some members will claim that everything I've just said is part of a leftist conspiracy theory against classical music, but they also can't be bothered to read the many sources I've cited as evidence for these trends. It's like trying to explain the Earth is round to a flat-earther.'
Quote without comment.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,009 Posts
I'm not familiar with Claire Chase so can't comment on her, but I heard reports that platform such as Spotify might not be an equal platform due to cheating.
Spotify is a mainly site to promote music, not sell it. Because it is a monthly subscription based service, they don't pay royalties in the strict sense. They pro rate their monthly revenue from all subscriptions according to the total number of plays an artist received. The more plays someone gets the larger their slice of the pie. I would imagine all streaming services have a similar process for paying artists, songwriters and publishers since they are all subscription services.

Bandcamp is a site where musicians put their music up and sell directly to their fans. I have a page for my music. Each artist prices their tracks as they choose, usually $1 per track or $10 per album, but it is entirely controlled by the artist. During the covid shutdown, and continuing at the present, Bandcamp has waived their revenue sharing percentage.

Here's how they pay:

When a fan buys something on Bandcamp, an average of 82% of the money goes to the artist or their label - typically in 24-48 hours - and the remainder covers our revenue share and payment processor fees.
YouTube also pays royalties.

No system is perfect, but you would be wrong to assume that it is preferable trying to get a major record label contract for new classical music. Nor do they rely solely on selling their music inline, which is primarily a way to promote and market their music. Composers get commissions, performance ensemble can get grants, and payment for live performances, and many teach. A combination of all these revenue streams can be enough for them to continue in their chosen career.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
312 Posts
Spotify is a mainly site to promote music, not sell it. Because it is a monthly subscription based service, they don't pay royalties in the strict sense. They pro rate their monthly revenue from all subscriptions according to the total number of plays an artist received. The more plays someone gets the larger their slice of the pie. I would imagine all streaming services have a similar process for paying artists, songwriters and publishers since they are all subscription services.

Bandcamp is a site where musicians put their music up and sell directly to their fans. I have a page for my music. Each artist prices their tracks as they choose, usually $1 per track or $10 per album, but it is entirely controlled by the artist. During the covid shutdown, and continuing at the present, Bandcamp has waived their revenue sharing percentage.

Here's how they pay:

YouTube also pays royalties.

No system is perfect, but you would be wrong to assume that it is preferable trying to get a major record label contract for new classical music.
Thanks for the reply, clear up how this process works. Seems like Bandcamp is a better model than the record label companies. My only lingering concerning, is that artists as you pointed out use Spotify as a promoting site, and I read that Spotify use an algorithm to recommend tracks or singers to the users. Could cheating through stream farming or other methods skew the algorithm to favor a certain artist which increase their visibility and their share of the pie while diminishing others? I know this might not be a widespread problem but just a thought I have. I'm not trying to find the "perfect" system as none exist, but to learn more about what happen behind scene. Thanks for taking time to answer my questions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,009 Posts
Thanks for the reply, clear up how this process works. Seems like Bandcamp is a better model than the record label companies. My only lingering concerning, is that artists as you pointed out use Spotify as a promoting site, and I read that Spotify use an algorithm to recommend tracks or singers to the users. Could cheating through stream farming or other methods skew the algorithm to favor a certain artist which increase their visibility and their share of the pie while diminishing others? I know this might not be a widespread problem but just a thought I have. I'm not trying to find the "perfect" system as none exist, but to learn more about what happen behind scene. Thanks for taking time to answer my questions.
I remember reading an article, more than a year ago, maybe even longer, about people fraudulently adding a popular artist's name to their track, as an additional artist - but that Spotify changed how music is input to disallow that kind of manipulation. I seem to remember it was mostly one culprit, at least that's how I remember it.

In my own use of Spotify, the "Fans also like" feature consistently returns relevant results.

For example, for Claire Chase the associated artists include the JACK Quartet, Ensemble Recherche, Mark Feldman, and a collection of other experimental classical and jazz artists I would probably be somewhat interested in based on my interest in Claire Chase. The algorithm is not perfect for any artist, but also doesn't producing completely wrong results.

The same is true for the "Appears on" section (which Spotify removed for a while, presumably to correct inconsistencies) everything looked kosher.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,298 Posts
I've already said more than once that an audience needs to be cultivated through live performances, not from scratch on the Internet, which is virtually impossible.
This has always been true, and I agree with SanAntone, it still is true, even in the internet age. Even the top popular music stars relentlessly tour all over the world, and though to the rest of us they travel (and live) in luxury, from some detailed descriptions I have read, it is very hard work and often far from fun. Yet, they do it.

The same is true for all music genres, though generally on a smaller scale. The "institutions" that actually support new musicians seeking to establish themselves are those that provide the opportunity for live performance, however modest, for however little remuneration.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
660 Posts
Yes. My original degree was in mathematics, which is different again. My current studies are at a business school. My jaundiced view of some (not all) of what goes on arises from a sense that it is too easy for a clique to create a large body of mutually reinforcing articles based on their own shared assumptions (or prejudices) and practically impossible for anyone to refute them. (Take the example of the quoted stuff from Susan McClary: how would one, even in principle, refute her assertion? It is expressed as a statement of fact, but it is at most a metaphor designed to support a viewpoint that she wants to use her assertion to promote.) None of this might not matter too much, except that such cliques can have political objectives, which they seek to pursue using their academic prestige as a tool. Susan McClary's objective here is presumably to advance feminist positions, and that is the reason for the assertion about Beethoven. As political campaigning it may or may not be successful, but is it really academic research? I imagine you could pick other passages from a work as long as Beethoven's 9th and hang words off them to establish :rolleyes: pretty much whatever you wanted, and no one could refute it (- all they could do would be to agree or to disagree or more pertinently to suggest that it is simply meaningless).
I agree. It's simply ideology driven "new musicology", nothing to do with the music and I think she (and others of her like) is the one "raping" the music. Academia and cliques churning such "research" needs an audit/formal inquiry, and have their grants suspended.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,081 Posts
If you want the humanities defunded, I have excellent news about college funding since the 1980s. No longer will kids learn useless things like Beethoven, Rembrandt or Joyce - it's all Javascript, all the time now.
 

·
Registered
Mahler
Joined
·
3,907 Posts
Discussion Starter · #477 ·
I am aware of several of those from Wikipedia. My point was for any given symphony orchestra that bears a local/national name who is receiving government subsidies (i.e. money funded by tax payers), it would be unwise to have programs only on contemporary music. I have seen orchestras fail by incorporating larger shares of such music in a vain attempt to appease entities.
OK. Can you provide us with a list of such orchestras that have failed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,452 Posts
Let's revisit the finale of your post in question:
'This polarized environment is what led Beethoven -

The term 'flat-earther' is a derogatory term which infers ignorance and stupidity. And your conclusion applies those labels to anyone who doesn't accept as factual the perspective you've derived from your sources.
Flat earthers don't want to know, because vorticity easily proves the Earth is round (see the equation). And worldwide vorticity data is updated at least every 12 hours. Governments of the world pay a lot of money to get this data and map it. Now with the internet anyone can track the changes in the vorticity maps and check the directly resulting weather activity for their location. Clear weather or foul, it's vorticity that generates it or squashes it, every day of our lives. Theirs too.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
660 Posts
OK. Can you provide us with a list of such orchestras that have failed.
Let's take a higher level view. The vast majority of modern large symphony orchestras do not make profits on their own. It is normal (unfortunately) for them to run on operating deficits. Orchestras are expensive to run. The majority don't have the opportunity to recover their costs over a large number of performances annually. If you want them to have any chance of not relying or reducing reliance on tax payers' subsidies, then an annual program of old music and some new, carefully selected, helps with that. With an aging subscriber base, reducing interest from younger audiences and cash strapped donors (notwithstanding the future in a post COVID19 world), symphony orchestras need a total revamp of its values. Running only one type of music, particularly music that doesn't resonate with future audiences, is a sure sign of doom.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,945 Posts
Indeed. I am currently semi-retired, and am filling my time pursuing a PhD after a life working in the commercial world. It has been an eye-opening (although not entirely surprising) time. Some points, which may or may not be relevant in academic fields relating to music, but which occur in the field I am involved in:

- Academic research is much less academic (in the sense of objective and seeking to avoid self-interest from shaping the conclusions) than professional research.
- References to a myriad of other papers are primarily used to exclude other voices, by intimidation and ridicule. ("You haven't read X & Y 1998 and C & D 2018, etc. Well you don't know what you're talking about then.")
- Group think is rampant, where getting published depends on "joining the conversation" (which means accepting the premises of the dominant clique) and not undermining the reputations of those on editorial boards by challenging their positions. A cites B cites C cites A, etc.
- There is a huge problem, the "replication crisis", where findings cannot be repeated (and indeed, few try because work which simply checks the findings of others is not novel and interesting and will not advance one's career: agreeing previous work is not novel, and disagreeing is problematic).
- Specialisms such as the one you refer to have a vested interest in generating provocative "findings" which support their prior theories as applied to whatever area they are investigating, as that is "interesting".
- Social science is interested in producing "new theory", but not so much in having the theory tested. For example, you investigate something, come up with your ideas of the themes that might explain what you see, and cross-refer that against prior work from others in your clique, seeking to demonstrate that you have extended or slightly corrected the prior work, and citing your chums in the process. You hope this will get you published because it supports the prevailing prejudices, and that will then advance your career. Much of this stuff is not falsifiable, as it is little more than speculation, so you end up with a self-perpetuating network of mutually referencing papers which is good for nothing more than appearing to support your prior (often politically motivated) prejudices and boosting your reputation with people who already agree with you.

One way of summarising all this is that it provides a leisure activity for an intellectual class which is well remunerated (if you are successful), delivers status, and allows the advancement of political postures. Nice work if you can get it.

I hope that the academic approach to music is not similar to the above, but every time a post here links to a political stance my heart sinks a little further.
One problem in the social sciences is that there are too many people who need reputations, degrees, and jobs, and too few brilliant ideas.
 
461 - 480 of 500 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top