Steve In one of your recent posts you w…

06.01.09 | 11 Comments


In one of your recent posts you wrote

Hopefully it’ll finally kick me into action to make some decisions
about the kind of record (or whatever passes for a ‘record’ these
days :) ) I want to make.

which kind of kicked off an idea I’ve been playing with recently.

You often write about music but generally it’s about a narrow genre, that of pop & jazz. Not that it’s surprising nor in itself a bad thing as your thoughts are very insightful, and you are not alone in that way of thinking. Most people ignore the classical tradition when talking about how to market music in the modern world. Considering the smaller market, the difficulty of the works, the lack of simple tagging etc, etc “classical” music seems to be ignored by many in the press even though it spans a good 1000 years and a myriad of genres & styles.

The thing that makes this interesting is that the model used for selling & creating music before the advent of the record might now become relevant again now that music is so readily and fluidly distributed. As a record buying public and record producing musos we have become to believe that music comes in 40 minute (or with CD, 70 minute) bundles. This applies to all genres, e.g buy a 30 minute symphony and you will get a couple of filler works to pad out the CD; or recently I heard a discussion decrying some musician who had only put out a 30 minute CD & he was ripping off his CD customers for selling them short of the expected 70 minutes. This is as insane as buying a picture by it’s size or colour scheme but it wasn’t always like this was it? Before the record your budding composer would write a concerto (3 movements @ 5 minutes each) or a song (3 minutes) or a whatever took his fancy or more pertinently what he was commissioned. And this is what brings me back to your statement, perhaps the distortions of the last 50 years will go by the way as you release a song here, a suite there and are no longer bound by the recording format.

FWIW my record collection is now all on a computer and every classical CD has been broken down to the individual works as they were written, I am no longer constrained to listen to all four Mozart horn concertos when I only want one. I can pick a track from one of your excellent works or create a random play list & this is surely far more in keeping with how listening used to be (only better).

While the drift of this argument is mainly about recording/writing the models of the 19th century might equally be relevant to the way people interact with live music, after all concerts were popular, there were superstar performers but there were also well programmed concerts with a variety of music. Nowadays the music industry has programmed us to only accept the artist as a whole package that we find it hard to accept diversity. Maybe the future technology & business models will release us & you from that slavery.

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