In the final of part of this two part essay, frequent Hypebot contributor Kyle Bylin continues his look at the on going evolution of the music industry. The essay is inspired by the work of Talcott Parsons, a former Harvard professor who wrote that society was in a natural state of equilibrium or balance. When changes occur in one part of society there must be adjustments in the others. Bylin examines how the music industry is evolving using the same four distinct processes that Parson used to illustrate how change occurred in societies. Read Part 1 here.
Stage 3 - Inclusion occurs when groups previously excluded from society are now accepted.
- The possibility for the full inclusion of The New Musical Middle Class in a music industry that allows more sustainability and a more proven financial future. If not the inclusion of The New Musical Middle Class, what else?
Stage Four - Value Generalization is the development of new values that tolerate and legitimate a greater range of activities which leads to increasing the legitimization of the ever more complex system.
- The music industry reaches a state of equilibrium and the newly formed parts coexist with the main system.
Conclusion: Where Is The Musical Middle Class?
The image above is a social systems paradigm of The Musical Middle Class which examines what functions the various elements of the social system perform in regard to the entire system.
This image evolved from my previous research into The Evolution of Tribal Curiosity. As you move up the four classifications (Hunter-Gather; Tribe; Chiefdom; and State) their realm of social influence increases along with their discretion of what makes “good music.”
The Musical Middle Class was placed between Chiefdom and Tribes, because they are the core supporters of it's existence. Without the support from Independent Leaders (Opinion and Company Based) and from what we've come to understand as more organized communities of followers or Tribes, it wouldn't be able to sustain its growth from side to side. Often defined by its closer relationship with those two groups and it's levels of sustainability, ownership, and control, the one thing unclear about it is: How much income does it generate?
While that is the biggest question that challenges those In Support Of The Musical Middle Class, there was a question that was equally important to me: Why do we believe it exists in the fist place?
The Digital Music Revolution reflects on how the music industry was impacted by technological advances which changed the way music is consumed, but it fails to provide insight into its social changes. By evaluating the four stages a society goes through as it evolves, I saw opportunity to apply what I had learned to the changes in the music industry. Within this newfound opportunity, I discovered new insights as to why this space in the middle of the industry was opening and growing, which eluded to the creation of The Musical Middle Class.
This in turn led me to believe that what we are experiencing is no longer a Digital Music Revolution, but a more apparent Social Music Evolution.