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Re: [ARSCLIST] Recording rates for musicians.

see end...

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "phillip holmes" <insuranceman@xxxxxxxxxx>
> That brings to mind a truly great song that surely will go down the in 
> the annals of songdom with the likes of any Schubert Lieder:  "A Country 
> Boy Can Survive".  And there's the "we'll put a boot in their ***, it's 
> the American way" song.  
> But seriously, I don't disagree with you. 
> I'd place great jazz and blue grass musicians on a pedestal with great 
> classically trained musicians. Many "popular" and "folk" musicians don't 
> have "chops".  They are creative.  Yes, you are correct that there is an 
> elitism to "classical" music and musicians, but they work a hell of a 
> lot harder than most popular musicians.  I think that's why the boys 
> (and girls) don't get stoned before playing Le Sacre or Zarathustra.
> Phillip
> Steven Barr wrote:
> > ----- Original Message ----- 
> > From: "phillip holmes" <insuranceman@xxxxxxxxxx>
> >   
> >> Agreed, and most musicians (speaking of classically trained 
> >> instrumentalists and vocalists) have already made adjustments.  Most are 
> >> teachers first, professional musicians second.  This is the way it was 
> >> for most of recorded history anyway.  Bach didn't make a living playing 
> >> organ and harpsichord, and he didn't get paid union scale.  Musicians 
> >> had a pretty cushy deal going while there were wealthy benefactors who 
> >> cared, but the world's tastes have changed for the worse (IMO--not a 
> >> humble opinion either).  Also, I don't think that recording contracts 
> >> kept these orchestras going.  Most didn't have contracts.  It was local 
> >> community involvement, the chamber of commerce types, wealthy people 
> >> with time on their hand, etc.....
> >>
> >>     
> > Interestingly, this approach seems to depend on one important social
> > opinion...that, somehow, "classical" music is innately superior (at
> > least in the sense of the "elite" preferring it) to other forms of
> > music. This means that a community, in order to be a "respectable"
> > community (in the sense of upper-class = respectability) must have
> > classical musicians, classical performances, and if at all possible
> > a classical ("symphony") orchestra!
> >
> > One result was that, at least in the late-nineteenth/early-
> > twentieth centuries, classical artists were spared the sort
> > of social-class demotion that applied to most other musicians
> > and stage performers (and that still seems to be true, though
> > less noticeable, in this day and age!).
> >
> > It is also interesting to note an opposite development! In this
> > day and age, particularly in the USA, country & western music has
> > been adopted as what might be called "the official 'working class'
> > musical genre!"
> >
> > Steven C. Barr
> >
Well, when I said "elitism" I wasn't speaking of the musicians 
themselves (though this does exist among young classical vs.
young pop musicians. I was thinking more of the audiences...
it is pretty well a social "given" that if one aspires to
join the upper classes of a community one appreciates, or
at least outwardly appears to appreciate, "better" music
(i.e. classical music, opera, and the more similar forms
of popular music, such as Mantovani, 101 Strings and
possibly the Boston Pops in their lighter moments).

There is, of course, a subgroup (and has been since the
substantial development of commercial "pop" music) who
follow and support "folk" music (in the actual sense of
that term, not the recent commercial use which sees any
musician using an acoustic instrument for self-accompaniment
designated as a "folksinger"...this latter use is mainly
intended to establish where recordings are displayed in

Now, there is no doubt that the "cream" of classical
musicians have tremendous skill and talent on their
chosen imstrument(s). In fact, I think that is true of
the "cream" of any genre...I find that B.B. King, for
one, can express himself emotionally through subtleties
in his guitar playing (and I try to do that in my
harmonica playing). However, in any genre there exist
musicians who know the "mechanics" of their instrument,
and play any note or sequence of notes they can read
from music or memorize as a sequence of physical
actions. What they CAN'T do is translate emotion into
a series of sounds made using these instrument. Finally,
we have the limited players...who have learned the 
basics of playing their instrument and little if
anything more. Some may improve further with time
and experience...but some won't.

And there are also other things that are harder to define.
For example, none of the four Beatles were spectacular as
players of their instrunments...but, when they were
gathered together (and provided with the aid and expertise
of George Martin) the results were a memorable sound!

Finally, to get back to the original subject...we have in
our "western society" a system where many (certainly not
all) individuals who posess a talent which can be sold to
the public in any form are paid relative to the amount that
can be made through the merchandising of that talent to
the public (Note that in the last half-century or so it
has become possible to augment certain talents using
electronic and/or digital wizardly...so some are being
paid for talents they APPEAR to posess!) Needless to say,
this isn't a terribly fair, equitable or even USEFUL
(either in the short or long term) process, for reasons
I don't have the time or energy to type out here!

To summarize, though...those whose skills are in the fields
of entertainment (including professional sports) are making
a LOT of money...because the entertainment business does
(also, in fields like music, there are ways to demonstrate
more talent than is actually posessed!). Since the entertainment
industry seems to prefer trying to improve the saleability of
their existing talent, rather than search for new talent...and
since the saleability of individuals can depend on many
qualities other than actual talent...there are no guarantees
that those who are the most famous and thus the best paid
are actually superior to the rest of the group!

And those whose talent lie completely outside the entertainment
field...say, the best plumber in all of the state of New York...
are minimally paid in relation to athletes and entertainers,
and in some cases, are paid no better...if as well...to a
less-talented member of their milieu...?!

Steven C. Barr

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