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Pabitra Mukhopadhyay


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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.

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    Oct 9 2012: Thanks everyone for the lively debate. I am placing a little clarification of my question.
    My question was primarily music related but I am happy if it generates debate on art in general. I have noted the mention of Da Vinci and Michelangelo with interest not necessarily agreeing with the assertion that they created art for the market. But I believe that's a different debate altogether.
    It is obvious that art will have a market or how else an artist will sustain his living? But I think art is not created with a market, a price or money in mind and whenever someone creates something with those in mind that becomes a commodity, a service or a product. There was a time when artists were paid and taken care of by kings or church or very wealthy patrons. In today's world market (and common people) is the patron of the artists. They determine the livelihood and fame of artists but NOT the artistic inspirations.
    In the world of music, I see a trend that attempts to determine what is good music, serious music and salable music. The music industry thrives on that. How something artful can be an 'industry'? How music can be 'produced' per se?
    How can we determine the 'price' of a talented singer's rendition? Our economic system is too immature to handle such questions.
    In the talent search shows we come across artists who do covers of songs that many feel are better than the originals. If music is an industry these 'covers' are fake.
    By no means I am arguing against the honest ingenuity and labour of a musician and his/her right to be paid for it. But when he/she is an artist he/she is NOT creating it for a fad, a craze or a given amount of wealth in mind that a market essentially stand for these days.
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      Oct 9 2012: "Our economic system is too immature to handle such questions. "
      Economic systems are not created neither appreciated in reality by artists, they are created by the same type of people that profit from the industry.
      Artists in the general sense just want to live their lives being able to produce and share their art.
      Validation and feedback is necessary so they can keep track on perfecting their craft towards their admirers.
      I believe that anyone would agree that if you have a mind of an economist you wouldn't imagine yourself saying: - Yeah! I'm going to "become" an artist and get rich bling bling ! (unless you are 15)
      By discussing this topic now I feel like I can relate more than ever with the argument that gays keep relentlessly repeating on everyone's ears that, you can't just become gay from the night to day, you just realize that and have to make an awful decision to expose or suppress it. Like anybody would choose to"become" gay with the kind of system we are submit to spend our lives in.
      Thanks for the question friend, I learned a lot from this.

      "Everyone is born artists, the problem is to keep being artists as we grow up." Picasso

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