SXSW Music 2013
Who Cares If You Have an Audience?
In 1967, Milton Babbitt wrote a famous article "Who Cares if You Listen?" arguing that modern music had reached such a high level that laypeople were no longer qualified to appreciate it. The ensuing controversy raised basic questions about the artistic endeavor: WHY do we create, FOR whom, and with WHAT expectations?
Today, popular artists face these exact same issues as their predecessors in the avant garde did a generation ago. As music becomes commoditized and acclaim comes in tiny Facebook "likes," it begs the question: what are we creating for?
This panel will examine the state of popular and classical music to see if the audience figures into the creative process in an immediate way; whether tonal language needs to be simplified; the implications of having a part-time artistic class that has dayjobs; whether great artists are owed a living; and what rewards may exist outside of fame and fortune.
To quote Varese: "The present day composers refuse to die!"
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- Are artists owed a living by society?
- What are the implications of having an artistic class who has to make a living through other means?
- Whom are we creating for, if no immediate audience is present?
- Why create, if fame and fortune are not imminent?
- Is it ever possible or desirable to try to broaden your appeal if your inclinations are outside the present popular artistic debate?
- Brian Felsen, President, CD Baby
Brian Felsen, President, CD Baby