Music Industry

Published on August 10th, 2017 | by Alan Cross

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Your Marxist Lesson for Today: Music and the Decline of Capitalism

SocialistRevolution.org has this interesting look at how they believe capitalism is screwing art, specifically music.

Capitalism’s protracted global crisis, now closing in on a decade, is at root a structural crisis of the productive forces. This in turn finds expression in society’s core political and ideological institutions, culture, roles, and rituals, all of which are being significantly affected.

The IMT has documented multiple aspects of this phenomenon in our epoch. With respect to music, our 2013 article outlined the rise of private streaming models and the danger they pose to musicians’ livelihoods. Since then, the situation for musicians has further degenerated in increasingly distorted ways.

There are signs that even the once seemingly impenetrable fortress of corporate-backed rock and pop is suffering from serious cracks in the foundation. Ted Gioia, critic, historian and founder of Stanford University’s jazz studies program recently penned an extremely interesting piece entitled, “Does the Music Business Need Musicianship?”

According to the article (which is worth reading in its entirety for its insights), ratings for MTV’s Video Music Awards dropped 34% between 2015 and 2016, following a comparable decline the previous year. “In an industry that agonizes over shifts of a fraction of a percent, this kind of free-fall is unprecedented,” Gioia wrote. “The music business brought out its biggest guns for the MTV event—Beyoncé, Kanye, Rihanna, and Britney, among other one-name phenoms—and the show was broadcast on 11 dif

Capitalism’s protracted global crisis, now closing in on a decade, is at root a structural crisis of the productive forces. This in turn finds expression in society’s core political and ideological institutions, culture, roles, and rituals, all of which are being significantly affected.

The IMT has documented multiple aspects of this phenomenon in our epoch. With respect to music, our 2013 article outlined the rise of private streaming models and the danger they pose to musicians’ livelihoods. Since then, the situation for musicians has further degenerated in increasingly distorted ways.

There are signs that even the once seemingly impenetrable fortress of corporate-backed rock and pop is suffering from serious cracks in the foundation. Ted Gioia, critic, historian and founder of Stanford University’s jazz studies program recently penned an extremely interesting piece entitled, “Does the Music Business Need Musicianship?”

According to the article (which is worth reading in its entirety for its insights), ratings for MTV’s Video Music Awards dropped 34% between 2015 and 2016, following a comparable decline the previous year. “In an industry that agonizes over shifts of a fraction of a percent, this kind of free-fall is unprecedented,” Gioia wrote. “The music business brought out its biggest guns for the MTV event—Beyoncé, Kanye, Rihanna, and Britney, among other one-name phenoms—and the show was broadcast on 11 different networks, including VH1, BET, CMT, and Spike. Even Comedy Central gave the event wall-to-wall coverage . . . more people watched The Great British Bake Off the previous week.”

Curious? Keep going.

 




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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker.

In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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