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Are we witnessing the Great Cheapening of Art?


ProfD

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Disposable cameras, M-Audio KBs, Fruity Loops software and Behringer-owned Midas consoles, etc.

 

Are these signs that the art of music, photography and recording are being devalued at a rapid rate?

 

Technology has reached a point where "anybody can do it" with cheap gear and saturate the marketplace.

 

What is the incentive for buying a $10k KB, mic, camera or $500k recording console?

 

IKEA and Hyundai make furniture and cars respectively. Yet, folks still buy from Ethan Allen and Mercedes Benz due to their perceived quality.

 

Sure, companies still pay enormously talented photographers, musicians and recording engineers, etc., for their goods and services.

 

However, tabloids and TMZ pay a fortune for fuzzy pictures of celebrities. Record companies are investing in youtube recordings.

 

So, I wonder how the art of music and photography and the products associated with it can hold their value. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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Are these signs that the art of music, photography and recording are being devalued at a rapid rate?

 

Technology has reached a point where "anybody can do it" with cheap gear and saturate the marketplace.

 

Music, or any art, should not be only for an elitist group of people. The folks with the dough are not the most talented.

-Greg

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It's a valid question. My belief is that there will always be a percentage of people who recognize and appreciate quality. Above all, those who create are responsible for generating as high a quality product as they can muster.

 

My feeling about "anyone can do it" is positive, not negative. First, the contrast between quality and shit is even higher when the world gets saturated with shit. Second, by democratizing the process, you'll have more people who can legitimately access the talent pool who would previously been driven off by the cost of getting into it.

 

I'm optimistic about the future. :)

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Was a time when many families provided music lessons to their children through private lessons (which were relatively affordable), or kids rec'd music education through the public school system. I don't think anyone would argue the widespread availability of those "tools of creation" hurt the arts. Providing access to tools is not intrinsically dilutive. Cheap hammers, Home Depot and Costco tool sets do not lead to shoddy workmanship.

 

Rather, 1) poorly trained craftsmen and artisans, and 2) the public's willingness to accept shoddy workmanship lead to the dilution of quality and the lowering of standards.

 

 

 

 

..
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I'm not sure access to tools makes all that much difference.

 

During the middle ages, canvas and paints were far more expensive in real terms than they are today, and few had the leisure time to devote to such pursuits.

 

Yet, the fact that my aunt can crank out oil-on-canvas paintings of barns and trees has not seemed to devalue the Mona Lisa in any measurable way. ;)

 

--Dave

Make my funk the P-funk.

I wants to get funked up.

 

My Funk/Jam originals project: http://www.thefunkery.com/

 

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There was a time when you had to write a symphony to receive a degree in music. I think those days are long gone.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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I understand the tools and access to them do not make an artist. Nor do I believe music should only be in the hands of a few. Folks shouldn't have to pass a proficiency exam in order to be a muso either.

 

However, as a result of technology, record companies no longer have to invest and/or develop an artist or band when they can snatch one with 13 million hits on youtube. The standards of a quality recording have lowered.

 

Folks don't have to go out to hear live entertainment at a local establishment or buy concert tickets when they can pull it up on cable, satellite radio or the computer.

 

There is a lot more 'competition' within entertainment which could drive the price of music down.

 

It is already happening as folks will buy a 99 cent download faster than a CD. Some don't want to pay a buck.

 

In other words, musos will have to go an extra mile in order to sell themselves. Then, they have to negotiate based on the marketplace. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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I teach in a mass media department. We have known for years about the "democratization" of the means of production. Video cameras are cheaper and better, computers now do what half million dollar recording studios did when I was just starting out. The "backpack journalist" (interviewer, audio, video and lighting all rolled into one) is here-to say nothing of the ubiquitous blogger. Let us not mention forumites who can make their opinions known to others across the globe. There are more people in the game but content has and always will decide who stays in the game.
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There was a time when you had to write a symphony to receive a degree in music. I think those days are long gone.

 

I doubt it. I had to do it for my bachelor's degree in the early '90s. I'm not sure about lesser degree programs. However, I would debate that writing a symphony makes one a great musician, or capable of generating a high-quality musical product.

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Thank God.

 

Blasphemer! :laugh:

 

There was a time when you had to write a symphony to receive a degree in music.

 

Must have been a while ago. :laugh: I'm 45, and in my day getting a music degree was about as hard as getting one in underwater volleyball or putt-putt golf. Playing courses (Jazz Band, Orch, etc) are graded by attendance. You show up, you get an A. You miss 3 classes for a B, 5 for a C etc.

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I guess I disagree with the premise. I don't think music has been cheapened, not at least in the 50 years or so that I've been involved and paying attention. For example, when I was a kid working in a music store in the 60s we used to sell "jaws harps" as if they were a musical instrument. If that wasn't cheap "music", I sure don't know what was.

 

What has changed, to my mind, is the ease by which every goof in the world with a jaws harp (or its current functional equivalent) can now disseminate their cheap music globally.

 

Larry.

 

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It is already happening as folks will buy a 99 cent download faster than a CD. Some don't want to pay a buck.

 

 

There's a lot of music I wouldn't pay 99 cents for. But I willingly paid $17 to download a live album by Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood.

"In the beginning, Adam had the blues, 'cause he was lonesome.

So God helped him and created woman.

 

Now everybody's got the blues."

 

Willie Dixon

 

 

 

 

 

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It is already happening as folks will buy a 99 cent download faster than a CD. Some don't want to pay a buck.

 

 

There's a lot of music I wouldn't pay 99 cents for. But I willingly paid $17 to download a live album by Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood.

 

Hey I just bought that on bluray :thu: $29

 

ps. If you listen close enough you'll hear multiple mistakes, or off notes.... just fyi

 

 

-Greg

Motif XS8, MOXF8, Hammond XK1c, Vent

Rhodes Mark II 88 suitcase, Yamaha P255

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By talking about record companies, you blow your whole premise. While crap abounds, it long has (record companies shipped crap too). Do you want to discuss the methods of creation or distribution?

 

People are still making money as artists and musicians. They're just doing it differently.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Sure, there are tools for everybody, cheaper, faster and easier to use. But there will always be Leica cameras, Steinway pianos and high end equipment around for the happy few. The value or real Art (or craftsmanship) will be hold by those happy few, people who can tell a work of Art between thousands of imitations or/and garbage. The mass I am afraid will be trapped between technology and the celebrity magazines, youtube videos and family cars. But I believe it was always like this. Real Art, classic values need to be found and it's not easy
Be grateful for what you've got - a Nord, a laptop and two hands
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Consider in your youth when you went to the store and bought what ever and your delight and satisfaction with it. As you grew older at some point in your life you start to notice the quality to dwindle along with your satisfaction. you look across the isle and see a child buying whatever and their delight and satisfaction with it. I have stuff form several years ago that is in better condition and of better quality that what I can get today. if you feed them shit they will eat it, love it and ask for more while the elders get more disgusted and die off.

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It is already happening as folks will buy a 99 cent download faster than a CD. Some don't want to pay a buck.

 

 

There's a lot of music I wouldn't pay 99 cents for. But I willingly paid $17 to download a live album by Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood.

 

Hey I just bought that on bluray :thu: $29

 

ps. If you listen close enough you'll hear multiple mistakes, or off notes.... just fyi

 

 

You don't have to listen all that close :laugh:

 

It was nominated for a couple Grammys, maybe because it sounds like real people and not some machine.

 

"In the beginning, Adam had the blues, 'cause he was lonesome.

So God helped him and created woman.

 

Now everybody's got the blues."

 

Willie Dixon

 

 

 

 

 

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Again, I don't have an issue with everyone having the capability of expressing themselves artistically.

 

With so much art being throw out there nowadays, I'm expecting and waiting to hear a lot more great music.

 

Maybe that's my problem and/or I need a better sieve. :laugh::cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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Yet, folks still buy from Ethan Allen and Mercedes Benz due to their perceived quality.

 

I would argue that it's due to their *actual* quality, rather than merely perceived quality, but that requires me to make a value judgement --- and that is exactly what ProfD has put his finger on...

 

Along about the mid-1930's in the US, somewhat earlier in Europe, our culture began to reject the idea that there are, in fact, absolutes --- that value or quality or moral judgements can, and should, be made. It began with the philsophers, then trickled down thru the artists, thru the educators, to the professionals, the working class, the family infra-structure, etc. 75-years later, we now have a culture that has little ability, nor even the desire, to esteem some things as intrinsically worthy and other things as intrisically worthless.

 

We can use music as an example, but it's the same in every corner, from furniture to automobiles to movies to books to professions to worldviews; when you lose the awareness and/or desire for absolute value, all you have left is the relative value. And you simply go for whatever's easiest, cheapest, and fastest.

 

Art can't *by definition* hold its value in a culture that doesn't esteem absolutes. Francis Schaeffer wrote a book about it...

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Buying a saw doesn't make you a carpenter....

You hit the nail dead on with that one.

 

Well, in a way it does.....if not just a really bad one.

 

Anyway, I think men need to create at whatever level they can with whatever skills have been bestowed. Be it Pro, hobbyist, or just a synth goofball with a computer......Whats the alternative? To destroy?

 

:rimshot:

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I think men need to create at whatever level they can with whatever skills have been bestowed.
Um

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Really? Music is known as one of the most difficult and credit-intensive majors in the entire Cal State system. It takes more class credits to get a Music bachelors than a business degree, for instance.

 

Universities and conservatories have different requirements. Many conservatories require only the very minimum in non-musical academics, like a poetry class.

 

I start at the U of Illinois, and indeed it was like you say. I switched to St. Louis Conservatory and the requirements were pretty simple.

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Yet, folks still buy from Ethan Allen and Mercedes Benz due to their perceived quality.

 

I would argue that it's due to their *actual* quality, rather than merely perceived quality, but that requires me to make a value judgement --- and that is exactly what ProfD has put his finger on...

 

Mercedes has one of the worst reliability ratings of all the manufacturers:

 

http://money.cnn.com/2006/11/17/autos/pluggedin_Taylor_Mercedes.fortune/index.htm

 

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