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Thread: The Devaluation of Music: Itís Worse Than You Think

  1. #1

    The Devaluation of Music: Itís Worse Than You Think

    https://medium.com/cuepoint/the-deva...k-f4cf5f26a888

    What do you all think of this? It's not so much about streaming, though that is mentioned.

  2. #2
    All the classic values of Western Civilization are in the process of devaluing. Music, art, follow this downward spiral. The last man will get smaller and smaller, as Nietzsche predicted.

  3. #3
    Member Taped Rugs's Avatar
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    The idea of "value" = "$$$" is relatively new in relation to art and music, considering how many centuries humans have been creating such things. Perhaps humanity has more to mourn about. Art was once primarily a vehicle for enhancing spiritual rituals or community celebrations. For many artists throughout history, art also has served an important function as a pathway to communicating or sharing their emotions and ideas with other members of their species. The "devaluation" of art and music has been going on since people started paying for art "products" and has led to this pathetic view that the best art brings the most profits to its purveyors.

  4. #4
    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by infandous View Post
    https://medium.com/cuepoint/the-deva...k-f4cf5f26a888

    What do you all think of this? It's not so much about streaming, though that is mentioned.
    Thank you for sharing. I didn't care for the article so much. I can debate why many of the author's assertions don't really connect. I feel the author is coming more from a position of nostalgia than reason. To his points...

    - Death of context: iTunes is a tool to deliver music. The fact that music can be enjoyed without the physical medium was true 100 years ago when people listened to the radio and had to imagine who the artists were and what they looked like.

    - Commercial radio: Has always been an issue, as described. It's nothing new.

    - The media: The media has, by enlarge, always promoted the "newsworthy" artists of the time and ignored the underground (unless that was the angle). Nothing new.

    - Conflation: Not sure what this really has to do with the subject.

    - Anti-Intellectualism: Meh. Even some of the most complex music I enjoy invokes an emotional reaction from me. And people have connected with music on an emotional and spiritual level forever, so I don't see how this has devalued music.

    - Movies & Games: One could argue that these mediums can attract listeners to explore music more. Growing up, the music of Star Wars opened me up to classical music in general.

    - Music in schools: This one holds some merit, but is more broadly true for teaching culture and arts in general.


    While I would sound like a broken record, the proliferation of content (perhaps what the author refers to as "hyper-supply") has devalued any individual song/album trying to stand out from the pack. The internet, YouTube, Spotify, iTunes and the like provide everyone access to virtually everything.

    When you have access to millions of songs, most of it will be lost in plain sight, fighting for one's attention. In the end, as access to content increases, potential listeners tend to get overwhelmed and gravitate towards what they already know instead of using the tools for discovery.

    If "value" is to be considered financial, yes, users are less and less willing to pay for individual music (unless it's a .99 cent song or a subscription to a service). But if "value" is also about one's personal attachment and how a song/album "reaches" that person, then the value of music is arguably alive and well.
    Last edited by Poisoned Youth; 2 Weeks Ago at 09:52 AM.
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  5. #5
    Member Guitarplyrjvb's Avatar
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    ^^ A very wise post!

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    All the classic values of Western Civilization are in the process of devaluing. Music, art, follow this downward spiral. The last man will get smaller and smaller, as Nietzsche predicted.
    Exceedingly true, which is essentially why I'm finally through with the Left and still don't feel at home on the Right - a vacuum-equilibrium which I suppose renders me somewhat lost in/on the world.

    Terrible times to be grownup with a penchant for classical tradition, skill, craft, thought and culture; I can't even begin to imagine what it must be like to be young these days. Although my eldest kid hands me some obvious snippets of insight once in a while.

    Meanwhile I'll keep paying for popular music, alas human-made such most probably won't be made any longer in 15-20 years' time.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
    "[...] things that we never dreamed of doing in Crimson or in any band that I've been in," - Tony Levin speaking of SGM

  7. #7
    Member Top Cat's Avatar
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    As I approach my 72nd birthday, this conversation about the decline of Art, Music, Education, Cinema, literary works is recycled with every generation.
    As a young man in the late-50's -60's, growing up in the early days of rock n roll and during the British invasion with the Beatles, long hair, hippies,etc. And what I can remember many old timers in my parents and especially grandparents lamenting the decline of civilization as they knew it. That rock n roll music from Chuck Berry, the Beatles, Elvis, was just loud noise and those kids with long hair looked like girls.
    And I've found myself in my later years, as the world around me changed, echoing many of the emotions I heard the older generations saying about my generation. And to my surprise I sounded like my parents.
    But I find solace in the fact this too will pass, and the next generation will bring something new to the table, but really nothing is new, it just has a different color coat of paint.

    I think technology and the internet, and because everything can be accessed instantly, impact on a much larger scale than previously.
    The media has always been about self promotion and revenue. Whatever form of art or news will bring in more revenue will be promoted.
    Once in awhile they get it right. For some reason, the media will discover someone or something that deserves to be exposed, and it is then they use their power in a positive way, but for the most part, they are useless in my eyes.

    Another thing I've learned about world around me after all these years, is how cyclical everything is. If you don't like something, wait around long enough and it will go away, or the opposite, if you like something and it fades away in popularity, wait around and it will come back(pardon me for a moment while I turn my album over to play side 2, and while I'm at it, I'll warm up my analog synthesizer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Exceedingly true, which is essentially why I'm finally through with the Left and still don't feel at home on the Right - a vacuum-equilibrium which I suppose renders me somewhat lost in/on the world.
    thank god I'm not the ONLY one who feels this way.
    My only hope is someday the pendelum will quit swinging in such a radical arc, and wind up somewhere in the middle.
    I do wonder sometimes if a mixture of a bit of left and a bit of right will result in living/governing by commonsense rather than extremism.
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  8. #8
    My take isn't dramatically different from Poisoned Youth's.

    I do find it interesting that we are on a board devoted to a type, style, genre, whatever you wish to call it, that would not have existed without the profit motive that drove music for the past 50 - 75 years. At least, that's how it seems to me, since the equipment required and the studios required would have been pretty prohibitive to amateur enthusiasts (or even expert musicians), assuming such things would have been developed at all, back in the 60's and 70's if there wasn't any money to be made. (feel free to pick this argument apart, since I just thought of it now anyway, lol)

    I have seen better articles on this subject, but I thought this one would at least make for a good conversation starter.

  9. #9
    Member Top Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by infandous View Post
    My take isn't dramatically different from Poisoned Youth's.

    I do find it interesting that we are on a board devoted to a type, style, genre, whatever you wish to call it, that would not have existed without the profit motive that drove music for the past 50 - 75 years. At least, that's how it seems to me, since the equipment required and the studios required would have been pretty prohibitive to amateur enthusiasts (or even expert musicians), assuming such things would have been developed at all, back in the 60's and 70's if there wasn't any money to be made. (feel free to pick this argument apart, since I just thought of it now anyway, lol)

    I have seen better articles on this subject, but I thought this one would at least make for a good conversation starter.
    Profit motive has been the main driving force behind most music and not limited to just the past 50-70 years. I think in the early days the profit motive was mainly for the equipment to play the recordings, not the recordings themselves.b
    People like to criticize the record labels or the media on the proliferation of bad music and commercializing it,but we tend to forget, if the masses didn't support it, it wouldn't exist.
    Soundcloud page: Open Window, musical meanderings https://soundcloud.com/precipice
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  10. #10
    The only thing in the middle of the road is a dead armadillo.
    Maka ki ecela tehani yanke lo!

  11. #11
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sturgeon's Lawyer View Post
    The only thing in the middle of the road is a dead armadillo.
    I thought it was a dead skunk.

    Stinkin' to high heaven.

  12. #12
    Member Top Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sturgeon's Lawyer View Post
    The only thing in the middle of the road is a dead armadillo.
    Unless it's Paul McCartney! lol
    Soundcloud page: Open Window, musical meanderings https://soundcloud.com/precipice
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  13. #13
    Member Jay.Dee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Terrible times to be grownup with a penchant for classical tradition, skill, craft, thought and culture
    There hasn't been a time when classical tradition, skill, craft, thought and culture were so deeply ingrained in the minds of the youth as they are now.


  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Exceedingly true, which is essentially why I'm finally through with the Left and still don't feel at home on the Right - a vacuum-equilibrium which I suppose renders me somewhat lost in/on the world.
    I believe the terms Right - Left are no longer any useful in interpreting - and creating - the new world. The old world is crumbling right in front our eyes, and what will take its place one can only guess/hope/fear.

    I sense that our - sort of - duty is to safeguard some of these values and pass it on to the ones who are coming. But yes, living in the current Limbo is pretty scary, and hard.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    As I approach my 72nd birthday, this conversation about the decline of Art, Music, Education, Cinema, literary works is recycled with every generation.
    As a young man in the late-50's -60's, growing up in the early days of rock n roll and during the British invasion with the Beatles, long hair, hippies,etc. And what I can remember many old timers in my parents and especially grandparents lamenting the decline of civilization as they knew it. That rock n roll music from Chuck Berry, the Beatles, Elvis, was just loud noise and those kids with long hair looked like girls.
    And I've found myself in my later years, as the world around me changed, echoing many of the emotions I heard the older generations saying about my generation. And to my surprise I sounded like my parents.
    But I find solace in the fact this too will pass, and the next generation will bring something new to the table, but really nothing is new, it just has a different color coat of paint
    I think more people have to admit that it's just not our world any more. I used to stress about stuff as it related to my kids. It took a gentle reminder from my wife that it's a new world...but no less new than it was for my dad who spent his best years in a nazi prison camp, while at the same age, I was getting high and listening to my prog records at volume 11 on my bedroom stereo system. lol

    Obviously, it doesn't mean we can't comment or lament how things change, but we certainly do risk sounding like our parents. All in all, we should feel blessed...we had a great run. Things will never be the same, no matter how hard we try.

    Lastly, over 20 years here , I've often read how people get concerned about the support for "local" talent. I think today's youth are much more in to that than we ever were. Shit, I went through a stage where I wouldn't like bands because they were only locals. lol It's a heck of a lot easier to get in to that now, because you can get it so easily. In the past, you saw them at a show, or they handed you a bootleg cassette or something because they didn't have recording contracts. My son is an amateur artist and when he puts out a cd, all of his friends, and old highschool friend and work mates can pick it up on their Spotify , itunes, souncloud and all that. Yes, he doesn't make much money at it...but he gets heard, and has fans. Only due to such easy access and devaluation lol. How that tran$lates...that's up to them to figure it out. He's still at the age when getting heard is more important than money.

  16. #16
    Orange Tick Squasher Buddhabreath's Avatar
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    In my country at least, I find that younger people seem to be the ones most aware, concerned, and engaged with about critical issues like climate change, wealth inequality, kleptocracy & the threat to liberal democracy etc. That's my impression anyway from personal anecdote as well as public polling. It is largely the old farts in my age group that tend to be the most clueless. So that gives me a reason for at least a glimmer of hope. That and the fact that people have been bemoaning the decline of civilization since the Sargon's Conquest of Sumer.
    The combined fortunes of the world's 26 richest individuals reached $1.4 trillion last year ó the same amount as the total wealth of the 3.8 billion poorest people.

  17. #17
    Member Jay.Dee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    The old world is crumbling right in front our eyes, and what will take its place one can only guess/hope/fear.
    It's not crumbling, but only being overcome by a dynamic movement towards the whole, which preserves what it overcomes.

    Nothing is lost or destroyed but raised up and preserved as in a spiral, like the opening of a fern or a shell.

  18. #18
    Man of repute progmatist's Avatar
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    Speaking of the classical tradition: up until the 1970s, people went to the symphony wanting to hear the latest contemporary work. What we now call Romantic and Classical were contemporary for their time, and that's what people wanted to hear during the time. In the 1970s when the quality of classical recordings reached their zenith, people stopped caring about contemporary works, and starting only wanting to hear the old classics, ie Romantic, Classical and Baroque.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

  19. #19
    Member Jay.Dee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    As I approach my 72nd birthday, this conversation about the decline of Art, Music, Education, Cinema, literary works is recycled with every generation.
    1689 [Ignacio de Camargo, theologian]: "Theatrical music in Spain is today so developed and so advanced that it does not seem possible that it could go any further. For the sweet harmony of the instruments, the skill and smoothness of the voices, the intense ingenuity of the songs, the grace and maturity of the melodies, the enchantment of the ornaments, the prolonging of the redobles and the counterpoints, all make for such delicate harmony that listeners are left captivated and bewitched." [1]

    1802 [Johann Nikolaus Forkel, musicologist]: "[Johann Sebastian Bach was] the first classic that ever was, or perhaps ever will be. [...] If the art is to remain an art and not to be degraded into a mere idle amusement, more use must be made of classical works than has been done for some time." [2]

    1906 [John Philip Sousa, composer]: "These talking machines are going to ruin the artistic development of music in this country. When I was a boy... in front of every house in the summer evenings you would find young people together singing the songs of the day or the old songs. Today you hear these infernal machines going night and day. We will not have a vocal cord left. [...] The time is coming when no one will be ready to submit himself to the ennobling discipline of learning music. Everyone will have their ready made or ready pirated music in their cupboards." [3]

    1964 [Jack Tracy, record producer]: "I had been busy making records with Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Woody Herman and Terry Gibbs. All of the sudden this 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' crap came out, and my teenage son wanted a different haircut. [...] Rock was a whole new element. I would go out to clubs like Whiskey A Go Go to see what was going on. But the music was beyond me. As the months progressed, more and more jazz producers were expected to do things for the rock side of labels. [...] The problem was that we didn't quite know how to produce rock records. We didn't know where to find groups, what was good or bad, or what would sell. It was no longer about the musicianship. It was about things we knew nothing about." [4]

    ---------------------------------------------
    [1] Ignacio de Camargo - "Discurso theolůgico sobre los theatros y comedias de este siglo"
    [2-3] Alex Ross - "Listen To This"
    [4] Marc Myers - "Why Jazz Happened"

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Jay.Dee View Post
    It's not crumbling, but only being overcome by a dynamic movement towards the whole, which preserves what it overcomes.

    Nothing is lost or destroyed but raised up and preserved as in a spiral, like the opening of a fern or a shell.
    I am not at all opposed against this, although my confidence is less for sure. But definitely something big is stirring on the horizon.

  21. #21
    Member Jay.Dee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zappathustra View Post
    I am not at all opposed against this, although my confidence is less for sure. But definitely something big is stirring on the horizon.
    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

  22. #22
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    Good Afternoon ~

    First... I am thoroughly enjoying reading this thread. My own thoughts have me wanting to add to this , perhaps in an offshoot topic kind of way, but as a man now close to 60, I am finding my relationship with music in change. Here's what is happening -

    One of my absolute joys in this life is/was having fairly regular 'dedicated music listening sessions'. Perhaps I would pull out three releases and just immerse myself in the music and moment. This is/was done in a place wherever my stereo equipment was at that time in my life. I now have a dedicated listening room in my home. How often?? Two or three times a week!

    Modern times have me listening off my list of 'music to explore'...via the INTERNET, and usually while enjoying my morning meal. If something grabs my attention I almost always make a physical purchase. I find myself often getting 'enough' of a music fix electronically that those beloved dedicated sessions seem to command a backseat. I just don't like it and am recognizing how it seems to be altering such a pleasurable part of my life.

    Anyway... the value that I give to music hasn't changed, may be actually stronger in some respects, but I am indeed becoming a victim of these modern musical times.

    I'm working on a personal solution. I want to!

    Carry On
    Chris Buckley

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Jay.Dee View Post
    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.
    Lol, I wanted to quote exactly this, but my memory could not serve, and I wasn't at home to cheat by googling. Cheers!

  24. #24
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poisoned Youth View Post
    - Movies & Games: One could argue that these mediums can attract listeners to explore music more. Growing up, the music of Star Wars opened me up to classical music in general.
    TBH, the games side of modern culture has escaped my radar of interest, especially the video-game (it didn't help that I was crappy at Pacman, Asteroids, and CO), but I've certainly not followed up on the home consoles either (despite finding stuff like Tomb Raider and Myst somewhat interesting), mainly because it was way too much of a time-waste. Yeah, I'm aware that some good music is released via video-games, but I can't bseem to find interest to explore more in that direction. Just like I never really took interest in film-industry music composers, despite prog being somewhat "cinematic music".

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrotum Scissor View Post
    Exceedingly true, which is essentially why I'm finally through with the Left and still don't feel at home on the Right - a vacuum-equilibrium which I suppose renders me somewhat lost in/on the world.

    Terrible times to be grownup with a penchant for classical tradition, skill, craft, thought and culture; I can't even begin to imagine what it must be like to be young these days. Although my eldest kid hands me some obvious snippets of insight once in a while.
    Yup, but that's rather typical of western or occidental behaviour... most of us start our adult and pre-adult rebellious life by fighting our parents or grandparents political views (often seen as "established retrogrades or conservatives"), but as we become older parents or even grandparents, their PoV don't appear so idiotic anymore, because we've (or more like our generation, including the "square heads") become the establishment, whether we like it or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    As I approach my 72nd birthday, this conversation about the decline of Art, Music, Education, Cinema, literary works is recycled with every generation.
    As a young man in the late-50's -60's, growing up in the early days of rock n roll and during the British invasion with the Beatles, long hair, hippies,etc. And what I can remember many old timers in my parents and especially grandparents lamenting the decline of civilization as they knew it. That rock n roll music from Chuck Berry, the Beatles, Elvis, was just loud noise and those kids with long hair looked like girls.
    And I've found myself in my later years, as the world around me changed, echoing many of the emotions I heard the older generations saying about my generation. And to my surprise I sounded like my parents.
    But I find solace in the fact this too will pass, and the next generation will bring something new to the table, but really nothing is new, it just has a different color coat of paint.

    I think technology and the internet, and because everything can be accessed instantly, impact on a much larger scale than previously.
    The media has always been about self promotion and revenue. Whatever form of art or news will bring in more revenue will be promoted.
    Once in awhile they get it right. For some reason, the media will discover someone or something that deserves to be exposed, and it is then they use their power in a positive way, but for the most part, they are useless in my eyes.
    Hopefully it will be more than that, because they've got a main tool we had no idea would exist one day: the web.

    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    Profit motive has been the main driving force behind most music and not limited to just the past 50-70 years. I think in the early days the profit motive was mainly for the equipment to play the recordings, not the recordings themselves.
    People like to criticize the record labels or the media on the proliferation of bad music and commercializing it, but we tend to forget, if the masses didn't support it, it wouldn't exist.
    But less and less of today's culture appears through music labels, Hollywood or book editors. And yet, never has "culture" been produced, bought (or stolen)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lino View Post
    I think more people have to admit that it's just not our world any more. I used to stress about stuff as it related to my kids. It took a gentle reminder from my wife that it's a new world...but no less new than it was for my dad who spent his best years in a nazi prison camp, while at the same age, I was getting high and listening to my prog records at volume 11 on my bedroom stereo system. lol

    Obviously, it doesn't mean we can't comment or lament how things change, but we certainly do risk sounding like our parents. All in all, we should feel blessed...we had a great run. Things will never be the same, no matter how hard we try.
    It's definitely slipping away from our hands, and probably sooner in our lives than it did our dads' lives. Our world is handed down (read "wrenched away") when a lot of us aren't even retired yet (whereas in the 50/60's, even the retired still had the controls).

    I mean we can upgrade and update and learn smartphones & web, but it's ultimately because we need to "keep up" with culture. Even if it's our generation that created the cell-phones and internet, it's the new generation that held it in their hands as toddlers that master it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Buddhabreath View Post
    In my country at least, I find that younger people seem to be the ones most aware, concerned, and engaged with about critical issues like climate change, wealth inequality, kleptocracy & the threat to liberal democracy etc. That's my impression anyway from personal anecdote as well as public polling. It is largely the old farts in my age group that tend to be the most clueless. So that gives me a reason for at least a glimmer of hope. That and the fact that people have been bemoaning the decline of civilization since the Sargon's Conquest of Sumer.
    Indeed, I think that the up-coming generation seems to be giving a shit about what's coming up, but it's also the climate emergency that prompts them to do so. And it's mainly a female phenomenon as well (and not just because of the Harvey Weinstein business).

    In the 50/60's, there were the Beats who strived to go against the common-culture and together with the next generation (let's call then hippies) until the mid to late 70's they created counter-culture. This was the make of people who had to fight the system (hence the "counter") to make their voice heard, if they had some kind of artistic talent. (OK in the Warhol/VU crowds et al., it wasn't very artistic but mainly provocative)

    The 80/90's generations seemed content on the progress made by their older siblings/parents and +/- seemed happy in consumerism and that created a cultural void, which can be seen as no-culture, since they seemed brainwashed/lobotomized by the industry once-again.

    Of course the advance of internet after the millennium (yeah, I know it existed before, but it grew in leap-bounds in the 00's) changed things and once that was solidly into its current place, it gave a chance to almost anyone to create something without the help of the industry ... Unfortunately, a lot of it can be seen as anti-culture, which in itself could be as important as counter-culture was in its time.

    It's astounding to be hearing these teenage girls almost making us responsible for the state of the planet, and making us the "dominant white heterosexual males over 60" as the "cancer of society" .

    It's also difficult to fight that opinion, because the (our) late-60's rebellion or revolution did not succeed in overthrowing the previous dominant generation's stranglehold (via the cold war pressures, amongst others). Sure our generation can claim great societal, social, cultural and even environmental advances as well as starting an ecologically conscious attitude, but we couldn't fully force the changes when we saw it needed. The current upcoming generation will probably also fail to do so as well, but if they don't , it'll be because internet is nearly incontrollable (despite all the NSA, CIA or FBI of the worlds)
    Last edited by Trane; 2 Weeks Ago at 08:31 AM.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from heroin-addicts to crazy ones

  25. #25
    Music isn't dead or dying. It is returning to what it was before the advent of record labels. I can now attend on almost any night of the week, somewhere in Forth Worth here, singer songwriter gatherings, where people share the music they have written. Its quite eye opening to see people - some very talented come in and sing and play for a short little 10-15 minute show. Some are just crappy old guys like me that can hardly play, but some are what I would consider Carnegie hall worthy. The music is sometimes powerful and though there is a lot of Country and Blues, which I can only handle in moderation. There is also music that is quite intense and in some cases complex. You do get the feeling that some of the people long for better exposure, but it is what it is.

    I have become a fan of live music. And though not many people can make any kind of living at it. You are in close contact with the people who make it happen, and they are passionate about what they do. Seemingly, No delusions of grandeur. Just people glad to have an audience. I sometimes will play something myself, but I mostly just listen at these gatherings.
    I got nothin'

    ...avoiding any implication that I have ever entertained a cognizant thought.

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