Packaging Music As A Product - hypebot

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Rob Falk

Anyone who thinks that music is not a produuct has never been involved in the synchronization license side of the business. Yes, artistic ideals and standards factor into whether or not a composition is to be licensed, but so do political convictions and personal relationships. But, in my experience, the overwhelming factor in whether or not a composition should be licensed is not whether or not the composition and the film have a beautiful synergistic reaction where the union of of the two is so much more than their sum. It's whether the idea is cool or hip. Is it good for the artist, imagewise, to license a track to this film? Does it enhance our brand?

Once that is out of the way, it's salami. Oh, yeah, there's a premium if you want the whole sausage, or if it opens or closes your show, but if you want just a slice or two in the middle... it's 6.99 a pound (price per second). How many ounces ya' want?

This ain't art, it's commerce. So much of this discussion reminds me of the rhapsodic essays on baseball and boxing. The grown boy in the grassy pasture... the noble warrior... at the end of the day, grown men are being paid to whack a ball with a stick or each other with fists. And, we're not talking stipends from patrons of the arts. It's not art, it's not science, it's business.

And, with a nod to Jerry Seinfeld, not that there's anything wrong with that! Some people are quite artful at their business. Don't get me wrong. There's still a lot of fan in me. There's still a lot of art, passion and creativity in music. But, there's also art in a Jaguar, a Cuisinart, and certain toilet brushes found on display in museums. They too, like music, are products: things that have been composed, created, or brought out by intellectual or physical effort. Great, now what do we do with them?

Perhaps we quibble about language? Do we mean music is not a commodity, a mass-produced unspecialized product? Well, some is and some isn't.

With regard to the London Symphony Orchestra trying to establish itself as a brand? There are lots of orchestras. Not all will surviive. No one in their right mind can believe that the best will triumph. That has never happened.

"Music itself is not a product. A thing of beauty, a universal language, an outpouring essential to life and expression, yes - but not a product..." Blah, blah, blah. I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.

Ya' want the store brand, or Ben and Jerry's? One scoop or two?

Hypebot Editor

To me, music that has lasting value must begin as art then it is fine that it is later marketed as product. But if a musician or composer begins with the end as commerce the result is sure to be flat, pointless and ephemeral. There may plenty of room for that kind of pointless crap in the world...just not in my world.

Rob Falk

Yes, I completely agree with you. Without art, music is muzak.

I still disagree with the author of the Guardian article. In that article, the author bemoaned a deal between the London Symphony Orchestra and BabyIQ where LSO recordings would be marketed to people, albeit very young people.

Assuming that the LSO was not formed to sell music to babys, but was merely attempting to market its otherwise fine performances to babys and their parents, where's the harm? In fact, wouldn't exposure to fine music under nurturing circumstance help to build a love of fine music in people?

Marketing, no matter how crass or vile, will never diminish art. When people feel compelled to rant on and on about the need to keep art pure, I wonder about their sense of reallity.

Philippa Ibbotson of the The Guardian writes, "Rather than aiming to instil a love of music or smooth away youthful anxieties, their new venture is, apparently, "all about brand recognition..."

Who said rather? How about in addition to? Who made it the LSO's job to spend their time and money trying to get people to love all orchestras? Perhaps, Ibbotson, rather than worrying about quality musicians with a quality product trying to maintain their own quality of life, should focus her energies in reviewing the product, in terms of artfullness, repertoire, and the like, instead of whining about someone trying to make a buck while doing high quality, artistic work.

Rob Falk

Now, here's what critics and fans should be taking issue with:

According to an article in the Hollywood Reporter, we should be on the lookout for a new supergroup in August: The Slumber Party Girls.

They are "...a manufactured group consisting of five multiethnic teens who sing, dance and act, are taking corporate pop to a new level."

How did this artistic combo find each other, you might ask?

They were, according to HR, "...formed by Geffen Records and merchandising firm DIC Entertainment, who auditioned more than 1,000 girls as part of a strategy of targeting youngsters (and their parents) with a multimedia blitz."

Read more here.

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