Wednesday, March 24, 2004

This little article on 20th century music hanging out at the cinema got me thinking just a little. First, I thought it was already known to everyone who thinks about music that Hollywood is the only place where composers can actually earn a living. Doesn't take any special genius to come to that conclusion. I had a couple of other thoughts though.

First, concert hall style music is dying slowly. I don't care to argue that Hollywood is responsible for this, though of course if people spend their time at the cinema, they aren't spending it at the symphony. I prefer to think it is the combination of the (also slow) death of music education generally, especially regarding older music, and changing tastes.

I guess that is in fact my other thought. I think the first time I came accross the idea that tastes, in music and other things, have changed from trickle-down to bottom-up was in a fascinating book I read in college, not for a class, but just cuz it was on the "new book" shelf in the library and looked interesting. I suppose things in our culture have moved along that axis ever further since 1987, with the growth of prison inspired fashions and music and so forth. I don't remember if I linked to the article before about the death of the classical recording industry. Very little new recording is being done now. Sometimes in the certain contexts I hear people speak of a market being "saturated", usually by people who have never studied economics at all. I think the term really should only apply when the populace has decided they don't need any more of a product, that they no longer value it. We have not reached this point yet in things like films, computers, video games, (thankfully) books, or a variety of other things you could name. It seems we may have gotten there with concert hall music though.

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