The Music Industry

I really enjoyed the Negus reading on the recording industry. I think the point that was the most interesting was the simple unpredictability of the recording industry. Although a label can do everything “right”, they still can’t guarantee that an artist is going to be a success. Even if they have an artist who has been successful thus far, there is nothing to say that their next release will be successful. Recording labels need to be able to ascertain the kinds of tastes that are being cultivated almost before they have been created in order to produce music along those same lines. Negus details how the industry has basically tried to intercept public taste through various means of surveillance. They record and keep track of what people are listening to and how in an attempt to reliably market to them. But it doesn’t always work. I think this related to our concept of “technological determinism” in that various corporations can try their best to use technology to sway the demands of the consumer, but at the end of the day we are human and our wants are fickle. I don’t think technology will ever 100% control our lives, but it is spooky as we get closer and closer to that limit.

In “Taste,” Elana Levine and Michael Z. Newman write that, “culture was categorized and defined through a taste structure that functioned hierarchically, positioning the tastes of socioeconomic elites most highly” (189). This serves to demonstrate how our understanding of the world enters a position of naturalization in which we accept the universality of truth. We accept that this is just the way the world is, when in reality it is almost entirely socially constructed.

 

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