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August 15, 2011

Casa BlancaThis is a brief post to highlight the gist of three articles having to do with challenging assumptions, and a very important fourth thing – we offer a new video in honor of the Feast of the Assumption (and another significant major holiday known to the cognoscenti) August 15, 2011.

First, typically provocative words quoted from a famously opinionated fiddler in this quote from the amusing article Nigel Kennedy accuses fellow violinists of destroying Bach’s legacy,
by Dalya Alberge and published in the Guardian, Saturday 13 August 2011.

“Even the description of oneself as being ‘authentic’ is unbelievably arrogant – and, in the case of so-called ‘period’ performance, misguided. How can music … be authentic if it is stripped of passion and made into an exercise of painfully self-conscious technique?”

We assume that passion in performance is a hallmark of authenticity but it need not be over the top.  Each performer should make his or her own choices.

Item number two is an article highlighting a book by Robert Levine,  How the internet has all but destroyed the market for films, music and newspapers , which offers some insights on how technology companies are diverting the streams of revenue away from the usual distributors and artists.

“The Pirate Bay never tried to release better music than EMI – it just distributed the same music in a way that didn’t provide any compensation for its creators.”

The assumption that music should be freely distributed is effectively pulling the rug out from under the creators of music as we have mentioned earlier on this blog.

Thirdly, the article The Elusive Big Idea By Neal Gabler, published August 13, 2011 in the New York Times, shatters assumptions of the value placed today on innovative thinking.

“If our ideas seem smaller nowadays, it’s not because we are dumber than our forebears but because we just don’t care as much about ideas as they did. In effect, we are living in an increasingly post-idea world — a world in which big, thought-provoking ideas that can’t instantly be monetized are of so little intrinsic value that fewer people are generating them and fewer outlets are disseminating them, the Internet notwithstanding. Bold ideas are almost passé.”

A post-idea world?  That hurts.

Finally, August 15th marks the Feast of the Assumption.  We offer this video as a tribute:

  1. jeffreyquick permalink

    “Music should be free” is a big thing with the CMAA…maybe the Jeffrey Tucker influence. I think that the notion of “intellectual property” is incongruent; if something is property, it remains property forever, it doesn’t stop being property 70 years after the death of the author, and it certainly doesn’t cease being property and then become property again (as in certain Soviet works). That said, I see no problem with copyright law being the kind of handout to artists that I can approve of, and I certainly don’t object to my BMI checks…and I’ll accept the charges of inconsistency and run to the bank. Yes, I have a ton of Latin church music at Those things are very clearly NOT public domain, but licensed for unlimited copying. That’s a pragmatic business decision; there’s not a market to publish them, mechanical royalties on print music are chump change anyway, and if I get it out there and they’re performed in concert, I get performance royalties (which is where the money is.

  2. Thanks, Jeffrey. Yes the Church Music Association of America seems to have lofty goals that probably encourage composers a little less than arrangers.

    Since we’re mainly interested in the effects of absconding with property from the perspective of recording artists, the issue differs a bit in the details but is conceptually the same: If you have your music available for people to peruse, what provisions exist for meaningful compensation?

    We intend to pull all of our CDs from Amazon, since they are now forcing us to sell at a loss, and it costs us so much to act as a drop-ship service for them that we are actually losing money on every sale.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Saturday morning quotes 5.13: Assumptions II | Unquiet Thoughts
  2. Saturday morning quotes 6.13: Assumptions III | Unquiet Thoughts

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