do you think it's ever possible that serious art can be popular?
If so, is that the general public actually appreciating it for its artistic
phenomena, or is it coincidence? I've often felt that for serious
art to be popular, it would have to contain an element that already
appeals to the masses.
Often I'm blown away by the fact that Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen
Spirit" ever became popular. In my home town of Erie, PA, they
NEVER played it on the radio, even when it was a top 10 hit. This
was the case until Cobain died a few years later. It seemed that
Nirvana's music was so extremely different at the time, that Erie's
top 40 radio was afraid to play it in fear of losing listenership.
Though around 1991 - 1993 in my home town, and probably most
places, "grunge" music and "alternative" took over a good portion of
Top 40, thus no longer making it "alternative," since I always felt
by definition, Alternative as a format meant "alternative to mainstream."
At 06:58 PM 1/27/2001 -0800, you wrote:
>This is the popularity of stupidity, a well known, often lower class (and
>therefore massive) human tendency from which much money can be made or,
>more dangerously, dubious political ends can actually be achieved. A sucker
>born every minute, eager to explore their worst instincts, I'm sure you've
>met a few... This is not the work of any art the world ends up respecting.
>Hindsight (usually possible once the subject has disappeared and/or a
>contrasting alternative becomes available) shows us that people will opt
>for supporting the darndest good for nothing (except making money) stuff
>JUST BECAUSE IT'S THERE, especially when taste is NOT the reason it exists.
>Appealing to what people want can succeed in debasing their intellects just
>as often as it may improve them. You may say that entertainment is not
>intended to be about improving people, but I think it is. This potential is
>at the foundation of ANY act of creation, whether it is followed or not.
>Good taste, however, demands it.
>Just because people will automatically distribute their likes and dislikes
>among what is available does not mean that what is available is good for
>them or to them or, in the case of radio, good for the art of music. Giving
>people what they want is the very best way to make money and the very worst
>way to make serious art. This is why most all of America's art and
>entertainment is not even trying to be serious - it's virtually ALL
>inextricably tied to making money. This has always been the never-ending
>dichotomy in modern art's mass distribution, the necessary players so
>surprisingly incompatible yet historically melded together, which something
>like the Net has the potential of separating to a significant degree at
>last. So there, higher tastes may finally go their own way for their own
>purposes and the money makers another for theirs. The resulting contrast in
>taste will be starker than we have ever seen.
>How will this new independent taste making support itself? As you can
>plainly see on this list, those most worried about that are not the artists
>who support it and are most directly affected by it, but the agents of very
>large industries which are now helplessly addicted to popularity for
>survival, and who see their entertainment pawns slipping away one by one.
>Next go the knights. The Bishops are still not sure what is happening, the
>King and Queen still sleeping comfortably... The game of checkers is far
>more popular than chess but even checker players know that chess is a much
>more serious game, but it's all a matter of taste.
> >Top 40 a terrible mistake for humanity? Let's not get *too* elitist!
> >After all, the format wouldn't have survived if it weren't
> >profitable....which means some people listen....hey, everyone has a
> >right to their taste. Now, if Top 40 becomes predominant, to the
> >*exclusion* of other formats, that does indeed suck.
> >--- Numair Faraz <numairATopenmpeg.org> wrote:
> >> I agree with both Mr. Coleman and Mr. Joyce's opinions, however I
> >> think that
> >> we should have some optimism towards the majors on their actions with
> >> regard
> >> to online radio. Although Top 40 radio was a terrible mistake for
> >> humanity,
> >> I think that the reason it did so well had a lot to do with the
> >> technology
> >> being used. I was an avid listener of radio before this contraption
> >> called
> >> the Internet, and I can say that it must be very hard for new radio
> >> stations
> >> to break through, as you don't really "surf" radio in the way that
> >> you do
> >> the Internet. Radio is something that is primitive and contains no
> >> "push"
> >> technology at all - it's all pull. It's very difficult to find any
> >> new
> >> stations on radio, as the technology makes it so that you must search
> >> the
> >> array of channels in a consecutive order rather than interactively
> >> selecting
> >> a channel on a dynamic tuner, which is what we have with the
> >> Internet.
> >> One of the largest media companies in the world, AOL TimeWarner, owns
> >> both
> >> Spinner and Nullsoft. Spinner is what I think Mr. Coleman referred
> >> to as
> >> the "net radio dial" (or one variance of such an idea). It offers a
> >> set
> >> number of stations, and a playlist decided by AOL. Nullsoft, on the
> >> other
> >> hand, is an Internet legend for their (at times heroic) stances on
> >> consumer
> >> interests with regards to music and intellectual property. They have
> >> a
> >> product called Shoutcast - which is almost the opposite of Spinner,
> >> allowing
> >> people to start their own stations and create dynamic playlists on an
> >> ever-changing plane of selection.
> >> As AOL is embracing the Internet radio platform and actually enabling
> >> both
> >> user-based radio channels _and_ the standard static format, I feel
> >> that we
> >> should watch and hope that they continue on this path of exploration.
> >> We
> >> shouldn't simply cast the majors off as wishing for stale, limited
> >> radio, as
> >> they are interested in the full exploitation of their artists -
> >> something
> >> that is not possible when your artist gets rejected by Top 40 radio
> >> in
> >> traditional media. Internet radio offers an unbelivably exciting new
> >> way of
> >> looking at music, and everyone is interested.
> >> An interesting new startup called XM (www.xmradio.com) aims to create
> >> satellite based radio that is accessible from coast to coast. What I
> >> find
> >> very interesting about this format is that it completely disregards
> >> the
> >> advances we have been making with regards to personalized music in
> >> the last
> >> 2-3 years. XM aims to build the world's largest radio studio and
> >> create
> >> their own channels. It seems to me that XM will not enjoy long-lived
> >> success, as within 10 years we will (er, should) have wireless
> >> infrastructure capable of taking what are now our dynamic, wonderful,
> >> but
> >> hopelessly tethered radio stations into a world without wires. As XM
> >> is
> >> using some of the most powerful statellites ever built by Hughes
> >> Networks,
> >> it will be interesting to see how they adapt from 100 static radio
> >> channels
> >> to something a bit more dynamic.
> >> A random thought:
> >> I see a lot of what is going on with Internet music and "us vs. the
> >> majors"
> >> as analogus to the situation 400 years ago between the settlers and
> >> natives
> >> in America. We, the Internet community, are the natives; we all know
> >> who
> >> the settlers are, seemingly encroaching on our space. I strongly
> >> think,
> >> however, that both us are scared of each other - we barely understand
> >> each
> >> other's worlds, and all we know is that it's something we don't want
> >> to be a
> >> part of. I feel that as the natives, we owe it to our new neighbors
> >> (hmm,
> >> what would we call them? =) to simply give them a chance. Sure, they
> >> might
> >> have brought various scourges with them (copyright law, anyone?) and
> >> tried
> >> to convert us to their horrid religion, but by trying to combat them,
> >> we
> >> simply make their side stronger. The Internet community can fight
> >> the
> >> majors, but we'll lose some of the very things that we hold to be
> >> good and
> >> just and pure (such as an open exchange of music and ideas, and
> >> everything
> >> else) - because remember, they have been sustaining their model of
> >> life in
> >> the Old World for many, many years, and are much greater in number
> >> and force
> >> than we are.
> >> *** Numair Faraz
> >> *** Open MPEG Project
> >> *** numairATopenmpeg.org
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: owner-phoATonehouse.com [mailto:owner-phoATonehouse.com]On Behalf
> >> Of
> >> Jeff Coleman
> >> Sent: Saturday, January 27, 2001 5:18 AM
> >> To: Don Joyce; phoATonehouse.com
> >> Subject: Re: pho: Internet Radio...Profitable?
> >> --- Don Joyce <djATwebbnet.com> wrote:
> >> >The medium IS the message anyone using it becomes
> >> part
> >> > of, willing or not.
> >> Which is why I think it is vital that the music link
> >> back to the performer, and that the accepted wisedom
> >> about where music comes from and how it is paid for be
> >> changed through public education.
> >> The majors aren't going to do this for us. They are
> >> going to continue to push the limited choices model,
> >> and they will suceed to the extent that an audience
> >> exists for which this is the most comfortable model.
> >> Pretty easy to imagine (because it already exists) a
> >> net radio dial!
> >> Jeff
> >> --- Don Joyce <djATwebbnet.com> wrote:
> >> > This (below) is all about how the Net is reversing
> >> > traditional media
> >> > priorities and applications. Although the cost of
> >> > transmitting high quality
> >> > Netcasting will undoubtedly come down in time, no
> >> > Netcast may ever get much
> >> > more than 381 listeners a month. The Net does not
> >> > work like a radio, does
> >> > not seem to BE a radio, and is not a comfortable
> >> > platform for those old
> >> > kinds of one-way imposed taste, and that form of
> >> > aggrigated music (as well
> >> > as the types of aggrigated music delivery planned by
> >> > labels) may never come
> >> > to what they have always considered economic
> >> > "success" there. Net radio can
> >> > never be a center of or for anything as it sometimes
> >> > can be with atmosheric
> >> > broadcasting. The Net turns out to be almost an
> >> > exact reversal to all other
> >> > traditional media tendencies, and humans, being the
> >> > creatures of their own
> >> > thinking habits that they are, are reacting mostly
> >> > by trying to find ways
> >> > to make it conform to their off-Net expectations.
> >> > This painfully
> >> > frustrating forcing of square pegs into round holes
> >> > (otherwise known as
> >> > bottomless holes in which to throw money) just goes
> >> > on and on. The Net
> >> > suggests REVERSING all thinking - from how to
> >> > COLLECT a relatively
> >> > indescriminate audience to how to connect with
> >> > individuals with highly
> >> > specific interests who, together, may never add up
> >> > to any size traditionaly
> >> > considered necessary to make a profit.
> >> >
> >> > Terrestrial radio attracts it's audience from a VERY
> >> > limited little radio
> >> > dial, everything you can "pick up" at a glance, and
> >> > which can quickly be
> >> > checked out in its entirety from end to end. There
> >> > has always been a
> >> > picture of the "whole" of anyone's radio world, and
> >> > once one knows that,
> >> > decisions of allegence can be made with
> >> > self-satisfied confidence (or
> >> > resignation). So radio hits the Net and everyone
> >> > assumes, wow, now we have
> >> > the whole world as our potential audience, this
> >> > should be great for radio.
> >> > - AND IT IS! Except there doesn't seem to be
> >=== message truncated ===
> >Woody Lewis
> >pMedia, Inc.
> >420 Park Avenue
> >San Carlos, CA 94070
> >cell - 415-640-2001
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