Author Topic: ‘Never give what the public asks’  (Read 5703 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Todd

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 19247
Re: ‘Never give what the public asks’
« Reply #20 on: March 05, 2012, 11:53:05 AM »
What the public needs is a diversity of choices available to them




The public in the US has a bewildering variety of choices available to them.  To the extent citizens want to become artistically fulfilled - whatever that means - they can readily do so.  They can continue to do so without a transfer of public resources to higher income citizens, which is precisely what happens when the government subsidizes classical music.  If classical music cannot survive without public funding, it probably shouldn't.  Of course, in the US, most funding comes directly from private citizens anyway, so it will survive no matter what.
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Everything dies - Alien Bounty Hunter, The X-Files

Everyone dies - William Barr, United States Attorney General

Offline starrynight

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 580
  • Location: Britain
Re: ‘Never give what the public asks’
« Reply #21 on: March 05, 2012, 12:35:57 PM »
People talk about 'the public' like it is just one set of people, but it seems to me like it is quite varied.  Those who want to discover modern music will, through all the means that are disposable to them now.  Those who don't...won't.

Offline CRCulver

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 513
Re: ‘Never give what the public asks’
« Reply #22 on: March 05, 2012, 01:10:24 PM »
The public in the US has a bewildering variety of choices available to them.  To the extent citizens want to become artistically fulfilled - whatever that means - they can readily do so.

Can they? There are few regional orchestras in US and those that exist are on shaky ground financially.

Quote
They can continue to do so without a transfer of public resources to higher income citizens, which is precisely what happens when the government subsidizes classical music.

That's a strange claim, because the point of keeping ticket prices artificially low through subsidy is to allow students and blue-collar workers to attend.

Quote
If classical music cannot survive without public funding, it probably shouldn't.

One would think it axiomatic on this kind of forum that classical music should survive either way.

Quote
Of course, in the US, most funding comes directly from private citizens anyway, so it will survive no matter what.

It's no secret that American orchestras are worried about their longterm ability to draw patronage. Since classical music is now only one valid musical choice among many others, the rich may choose to give their money to other causes.

Anyway, things like state subsidy are something that reasonable men (and their larger societies) should be able to disagree on. If European voters have shown itself accepting of the sort of projects Eötvös supports, then there's no reason for Americans here to post disparagingly just because their society prefers things done differently.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2012, 01:12:40 PM by CRCulver »

Offline Todd

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 19247
Re: ‘Never give what the public asks’
« Reply #23 on: March 05, 2012, 02:02:15 PM »
Can they?


Yep.  I live in the 'burbs of a mid-sized city (around 2.5 million people total in the surrounding metro area), and there is one full-time orchestra with aspirations to something beyond mediocrity, and at least three smaller, part-time orchestras; one permanent opera company; one well-regarded chamber music festival; one piano recital series that draws big names, and one smaller one that draws smaller names; and a whole host of smaller organizations that put on concerts and recitals all the time.  And this is just with respect to classical music.  I also have access to museums, a ballet company, at least a half dozen repertory companies, art galleries, and whatever the local colleges put on.  I can go out and enjoy high culture probably 250-300 nights a year.  If one or two or three of the organizations go bust, I can’t say it would be a tragedy or even significant for me or for other patrons of the arts.



That's a strange claim, because the point of keeping ticket prices artificially low through subsidy is to allow students and blue-collar workers to attend.


Really?  Two questions here: What is your evidence for the assertion that it is to draw students and "blue collar" workers?  (I do love seeing the charmingly condescending phrase “blue collar.”  As in, blue collar guys and gals need white collar guys and gals to show them the good life.)  What are the actual attendance figures broken down by demographic groups?  I know when I attend concerts and recitals, I see a whole lot of old, white people.  There are certainly some young people in the audience, and perhaps even some blue jean wearing blue collar guys and gals (how do you spot them?).  I’d be extremely surprised if the average educational and income levels were anything other than above average.  I don’t think that organizations that cater overwhelmingly to the comparatively well-heeled need taxpayer funded subsidies. 




It's no secret that American orchestras are worried about their long-term ability to draw patronage. Since classical music is now only one valid musical choice among many others, the rich may choose to give their money to other causes.


A few big organizations aside – like the Met, which recently revealed record fund-raising figures – orchestras, and other arts organizations, pretty much always say they are worried about funding.  I can’t remember a time in the last 15-20 years where that wasn’t the case.  (I only started listening to classical in the mid-90s.)  Perhaps you can shed some light on instances where most organizations say they have enough and turn down additional funding of any type.  More is always better, and funding is always a problem. 



then there's no reason for Americans here to post disparagingly just because their society prefers things done differently.


There’s also no reason not to.  Are Europeans really so sensitive and dainty that they cannot deal with alternative opinions?




BTW it seems Steve Jobs felt the same way about consumer products...that is do not make what the public wants, make what they need but do not know it yet. It seems to have worked for Apple and in my opinion it works for Eotvos.


What, pray tell, are the Apple products that people need?  I have managed to live my entire life thus far without owning even one.  I did use Apple IIs and the original McIntosh decades ago, but I didn't own them, nor have I bought anything they make since.  Perhaps my life is really empty and I don't know it?  Perhaps Apple can fill that void?  Apple is really good at selling high margin products, but they had some flops even with Jobs at the helm.

I'm also curious how one could compare Jobs and Eotvos.  They aren't trying to do the same thing.  Not even close.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2012, 02:22:45 PM by Todd »
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Everything dies - Alien Bounty Hunter, The X-Files

Everyone dies - William Barr, United States Attorney General

Offline CRCulver

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 513
Re: ‘Never give what the public asks’
« Reply #24 on: March 05, 2012, 02:27:38 PM »
Quote
Yep.  I live in the 'burbs of a mid-sized city (around 2.5 million people total in the surrounding metro area), and there is one full-time orchestra with aspirations to something beyond mediocrity, and at least three smaller, part-time orchestras

And where I live, even towns of a few tens of thousands of people enjoy an orchestra and opera. When I spoke of the dearth of American provincial orchestras, I was not talking about communities of 2.5 million people, which are comparatively enormous. Voters in my neck of the woods can point to the availability of culture to such small and scattered communities through state subsidy as a good thing. The model that Eötvös is working under and which was so pointlessly knocked here does seem to have guaranteed greater access to concerts than other models.

I know when I attend concerts and recitals, I see a whole lot of old, white people.  There are certainly some young people in the audience, and perhaps even some blue jean wearing blue collar guys and gals (how do you spot them?).  I’d be extremely surprised if the average educational and income levels were anything other than above average.

Eötvös's state-subsidiezed activities are in Europe. You are apparently describing your experience of American concerts, which is irrelevant here. FWIW, where I live the presence of the working class at concerts is continually reflected in the fact that labour parties support state subsidies for classical music just like the others.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2012, 02:32:55 PM by CRCulver »

Offline UB

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 263
  • In South Africa we have really big cats!
Re: ‘Never give what the public asks’
« Reply #25 on: March 05, 2012, 02:39:35 PM »
"
What, pray tell, are the Apple products that people need?  I have managed to live my entire life thus far without owning even one.  I did use Apple IIs and the original McIntosh decades ago, but I didn't own them, nor have I bought anything they make since.  Perhaps my life is really empty and I don't know it?  Perhaps Apple can fill that void?  Apple is really good at selling high margin products, but they had some flops even with Jobs at the helm.

I'm also curious how one could compare Jobs and Eotvos.  They aren't trying to do the same thing.  Not even close."

It was the comment that I was comparing Apple and Jobs to not the product. The idea that one should produce what the public asks for - that is thinks it wants - was not an idea that Jobs would subscribe to. He built Apple into a 500 billion dollar company by producing a product and then selling it to the public as something they really needed. Eotvos produces a product - music - and hopes to sell it to the public as something they should or need to hear. At least that is how I read his statement. Unfortunately Eotvos is not as successful at it at Jobs was.

BTW I own and enjoy products from both Apple and Eotvos...I am sold on both of them. Have you had a chance to hear his recent Cello Concerto Grosso or SCHILLER?
I am not in the entertainment business. Harrison Birtwistle 2010

Offline Todd

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 19247
Re: ‘Never give what the public asks’
« Reply #26 on: March 05, 2012, 02:51:31 PM »
And where I live, even towns of a few tens of thousands of people enjoy an orchestra and opera.



I wonder how many people actually do take advantage of subsidized orchestras in small towns anywhere.  Certainly, if voters have a chance to influence funding and choose to do so, great.  If they choose not to, great.  I'm still interested in seeing some figures showing just how broadly such benefits are disbursed.  People who love such programs routinely tout the benefits.  The actual benefits are usually pretty small.

Perhaps European concert attendance is as egalitarian as you imply.  That doesn't mean it's something worth emulating, nor does it mean it's particularly valuable socially.  People on this forum will generally talk up the importance of classical music.  It's really not very important, and most people throughout the western world really don't care about it. 
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Everything dies - Alien Bounty Hunter, The X-Files

Everyone dies - William Barr, United States Attorney General

Offline Todd

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 19247
Re: ‘Never give what the public asks’
« Reply #27 on: March 05, 2012, 03:01:07 PM »
Eotvos produces a product - music - and hopes to sell it to the public as something they should or need to hear.



This is delusional.  Classical music generally is unimportant to most people.  Modern classical music even more so.  Eotvos has precisely nothing in common with Jobs.  Hey, I love classical music, and I even love modern music (I have not heard Eotvos' Cello Concerto, though), but I do not succumb to willful blindness or wishful thinking about the stature of, or interest in, classical music.  Classical may be more, what, important or popular in Europe than America.  But is the Berlin Philharmonic more popular than any given Eurovision winner?
« Last Edit: March 05, 2012, 03:05:49 PM by Todd »
The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Everything dies - Alien Bounty Hunter, The X-Files

Everyone dies - William Barr, United States Attorney General

Offline CRCulver

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 513
Re: ‘Never give what the public asks’
« Reply #28 on: March 05, 2012, 03:20:32 PM »
People on this forum will generally talk up the importance of classical music.  It's really not very important, and most people throughout the western world really don't care about it.

If most people in the western world really don't care about it, it wouldn't be funded to an enormous extent in most of the western world. Whether public initiatives are important or not is determined by a society, it is not some abstract. You cannot make a case of the importance of support for classical music or lack thereof divorced from the acts of political parties in play.

But the perceived importance is not of classical music itself, but as I mentioned above, rather of a diversity of arts. That's why other musical subcultures can draw public funding too. The system is seen as a good thing because to a large degree it gives everyone what they want.

As for Eurovision, you'd have to be daft if you think people tune in for the music itself. Year after year, the common refrain at Eurovision parties is about how much the music sucks, but the spectacle consists of more than music.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2012, 03:22:52 PM by CRCulver »

Bulldog

  • Guest
Re: ‘Never give what the public asks’
« Reply #29 on: March 05, 2012, 03:40:16 PM »
To me, the issue is whether it's a good idea for Government to be involved in the music business at all.  I say no, and it makes no difference whether it's the USA or a European country. 

Offline UB

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 263
  • In South Africa we have really big cats!
Re: ‘Never give what the public asks’
« Reply #30 on: March 05, 2012, 03:46:04 PM »


This is delusional.  Classical music generally is unimportant to most people.  Modern classical music even more so.  Eotvos has precisely nothing in common with Jobs.  Hey, I love classical music, and I even love modern music (I have not heard Eotvos' Cello Concerto, though), but I do not succumb to willful blindness or wishful thinking about the stature of, or interest in, classical music.  Classical may be more, what, important or popular in Europe than America.  But is the Berlin Philharmonic more popular than any given Eurovision winner?

I do not think it is at all delusional but realistic. The only real difference is that Eotvos has a much smaller market - as you point out - for his product then Apple does. He still would like those in his market to desire to consume - play or listen to - his product as much as possible. That is he - like Jobs - would like to maximize his market share but he is not willing to change his product - his music - to something more 'pleasing'  or acceptable.

BTW I do not think that his comment is aimed at the large non-classical music loving public at all - he knows that the vast majority would not consider spending and time or money on his or any other classical music. I think he is speaking about the smaller classical music playing/listening public or perhaps even the very small contemporary classical music audience.

Of Eotvos music that you do have or know, what is your favorite piece? I have been listen a lot to the different versions of Shadows and think I prefer the small ensemble version. I am not sure the larger orchestra adds anything to the work - but I imagine Eotvos would disagree with me on that.
I am not in the entertainment business. Harrison Birtwistle 2010

Bulldog

  • Guest
Re: ‘Never give what the public asks’
« Reply #31 on: March 05, 2012, 03:51:36 PM »
I do not think it is at all delusional but realistic. The only real difference is that Eotvos has a much smaller market - as you point out - for his product then Apple does. He still would like those in his market to desire to consume - play or listen to - his product as much as possible. That is he - like Jobs - would like to maximize his market share but he is not willing to change his product - his music - to something more 'pleasing'  or acceptable.

BTW I do not think that his comment is aimed at the large non-classical music loving public at all - he knows that the vast majority would not consider spending and time or money on his or any other classical music. I think he is speaking about the smaller classical music playing/listening public or perhaps even the very small contemporary classical music audience.

Of Eotvos music that you do have or know, what is your favorite piece? I have been listen a lot to the different versions of Shadows and think I prefer the small ensemble version. I am not sure the larger orchestra adds anything to the work - but I imagine Eotvos would disagree with me on that.

What the hell is this thread about? - the music of Eotvos, Apple products, what people want vs. what they need, or Government interference in the world of music.  Well, maybe it's about all of it.

Offline Todd

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 19247
Re: ‘Never give what the public asks’
« Reply #32 on: March 05, 2012, 04:09:24 PM »
it wouldn't be funded to an enormous extent in most of the western world.

As for Eurovision, you'd have to be daft if you think people tune in for the music itself.



Wait a minute, are the orchestras funded to an enormous extent, or are they underfunded and deserving of more money?  Arts organizations invariably whine about how little they get, and how they need more to enrich the culture, reach out to the young, etc.  When’s the last time you heard an arts organization say that they needed public money to reach out to an existing audience? 

By the way, where are the figures to back up your assertions?  Surely it is all quantifiable (budgets, attendance, demographics).  It never ceases to amaze me just what kind of a bubble classical music fans on this board and others live in.  Most people don’t care about classical music and don’t listen to it.  Most people also don’t care about jazz.  Or bluegrass.  Or whatever highbrow genre you choose.  Seriously, check the sales charts, the download charts, and the concert ticket charts (with these adjusted for subscription holders.)  The thing is, these forms of music will live without government funding.  They should.

To Eurovision, you clearly missed the point.  More people care about Eurovision than the Berlin Philharmonic.  Maybe it’s the music, maybe it’s the dancing, maybe it’s the shiny lights.  Similarly, more people care about American Idol than the Philadelphia Orchestra. 



I do not think it is at all delusional but realistic. The only real difference is that Eotvos has a much smaller market - as you point out - for his product then Apple does. He still would like those in his market to desire to consume - play or listen to - his product as much as possible. That is he - like Jobs - would like to maximize his market share but he is not willing to change his product - his music - to something more 'pleasing'  or acceptable.


Seriously, you need to drop the analogy, because it’s a really bad one.  Jobs was a salesman extraordinaire.  He made people think Apple products are worth a premium price.  Eotvos, presumably, is an artist.  He’s not selling a variant of a commodity, or at least I didn’t think he was trying to do that.  Also, Jobs was most certainly not out to maximize market share in every market.  If he would have done that, Apple would run Windows and sell cheap products by the boatload.  Apple took the opposite approach.  I’m not sure how any of that is analogous to Eotvos.



The universe is change; life is opinion. - Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Everything dies - Alien Bounty Hunter, The X-Files

Everyone dies - William Barr, United States Attorney General