TED Conversations

Pabitra Mukhopadhyay


This conversation is closed.

Can music really be an industry?

These days a singer needs to be good looking because we want to see him/her as much as we want to listen to his/her music. Adele gets 'looks' related questions/remarks everyday prompting her to remark (paraphrased) ' I make music for ear not eyes.'
Music is a billion dollar industry now, having finest of technology, expertise and marketing involved. Plus every second a listener's choice is influenced by iconic star cult. It's a complex and chaotic breeding ground of innovation and business.
But one who sees music as an art may be confused in this frenzy.
Art fails when it's made with market in mind. I doubt whether music industry realizes that. Do you?


Closing Statement from Pabitra Mukhopadhyay

My conclusion: Music as a performing art is beyond economic valuation. The artful inspiration behind music is anything other than money. However, music recording, concerting, distributing in different forms of communication media can be an Industry. May be we should call it a music related industry.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Oct 8 2012: "Art fails when it's made with market in mind."
    Are you, then, discounting the works Da Vinci and Michelangelo made for their patrons?
    • Oct 8 2012: I'm pretty sure Da Vinci would have painted whether people paid him for it or not, many music groups would continue playing if they didn't get millions for it, but many others would not, I think that's what the OP is aiming at. You don't stop being an artist when you make money off your work, you stop being an artist when you have enough money to last you a lifetime and still get angry when someone gets to enjoy your work for free, so when you are in it for the money, when the money is not just a fortunate by-product of you doing what you like to do most.
      • thumb
        Oct 8 2012: We can wait for Pabitra to clarify his meaning. There are people who believe that once one considers a potential patrons or client's needs, tastes, or likely reaction to the work, it is no longer art- that "true" art occurs only when the artist gives no thought to anyone else's likely response to the work.
    • Comment deleted

      • thumb
        Oct 8 2012: Both were renowned in their lifetimes, Michelangelo being considered the greatest living artist in his day.

        But that is not the question at hand, as I understood it. I think the intent of the question was to separate Art from Art-for-market.
      • thumb
        Oct 8 2012: I meant to suggest the opposite by putting forward these two great renaissance artists. If we can acknowledge that some of the world's greatest artists did work for market, we should be willing to accept that people trying to live as artists today do not lose their claim to be artists if they consider the way their audiences will respond to their work.
        • thumb
          Oct 8 2012: I understand your vision and absolutely agree with it until some point from the last few words which I'll quote below :
          "if they consider the way their audiences will respond to their work"
          If my interpretation is wrong, I'd like to ask you to please clarify it a bit if possible.
          By that statement you mean ,the amount of merit artists receive from their audiences is proportional to their talents so they should understand it naturally and try harder instead of getting discouraged?
          I'm in complete agreement with that in a rational manner as I think the same, but in practicality as i mentioned in my first post (not sure if you read it ) this is not the case. Without putting myself in the equation, I have been in contact with many musicians that are extremely talented, entertain a lot of people and make their audience's daily life brighter, some have been what you'd consider major artists for some time, some haven't got that kind of recognition. But what all of them have in common is, they struggle to keep a healthy and economically stable lifestyle, they have been exploited by record labels and/or producers, they are in general admired,respected and taken seriously only while they are performing on the stage and entertaining their audiences, and finally their audience have no idea about any of this. I'm not talking about The Beatles or Michael Jackson here, I'm talking about professional Jazz and classic musicians in the majority since that's the realm I'm in contact with personally. So yes there is a lot of arrogant, ignorant dreamers around that in reality makes that statement plausible but those are not the ones i refer.
          I'm very thankful that you are taking your time to debate this question with me and allowing me this opportunity to share some real information that i hope, will make someone reflect better about the issue.The industry promotes and pushes idolization. Real Artists= Gods. And gods don't eat, sleep,get married,have kids,pay rent right?
      • thumb
        Oct 8 2012: I didn't say anything to the effect that "the amount of merit artists receive for their work is proportional to their talents."

        I don't believe, in fact, that that is true.

        My only point was that an artist who does consider what his audience might appreciate remains an artist to me.

        I am not qualified to comment on any aspect of the music industry.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.