More Riffing on the Business of Music…

02008-07-13 | Music | 1 comment

Names on the Wall
Photo of list of names at the De Young museum in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.

Some things are better done by large groups, like the funding of large public works, museums, road construction, rapid transit systems, healthcare and so on.

What happened to music in the 20th century was that it became inexpensive. Until about 80-90 years ago there was no way to record music. Music was performed, but never recorded. If you wanted music in your house, you had to learn to play an instrument – or make your kids learn music. If you wanted music at your party, you hired a band. Because of the invention of the record player and the radio, music became available for all.

Selling musical recordings at a reasonable price was only possible because of large volume. Many famous recordings from the seventies did cost more (((and sometimes much more))) than a million dollars to record (((that’s nowadays the minimum cost of recording any classical orchestra))), but by selling millions of copies everybody won. The music fan had his Led Zeppelin or Fleetwood Mac album and the band and record company made good on their investment. $10 is about 0.001 percent of the cost of recording a major album – not including the advertising cost (((or video))).

Too bad that the really big stars never moved musical recordings into the art-market – maybe by selling an album to one buyer for a a lot of money. No radio play, no CDs in stores… just a master for one buyer to listen to, to hold, to re-sell or whatever.

David Byrne talked about fine arts versus music in his review of “Die Soldaten”.

1 Comment

  1. Panj

    Your Music, Ottmar…is a Fine Art and I am so glad it has appeared in my Lifetime! I find the Idea that one could possibly buy an individual Piece fasanating…and having it custom made…fantastic!
    Speaking of Fine Art, I am not seeing it in the new Skyline of the new De Young Museum…reminds me of a prison…or a memorial to WWII camp…all it needs is one very thick piece of barbed wire strung along the lower roof. Perhaps I was just too attached to the old building.

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