No Matter How The Dice Roll, Someone Else Always Gets To Call The Number

Is Drake a fan of the Bee Gees? We know, for example, that the Bee Gees were fans of the Beatles, enough to be a part of a pretty terrible movie made from one of their concept albums. One of the most puzzling things to me has been the way that artists often tend to be tossed into the rubbish bin regarding their later music after they have reached a point of saturation, after which they are often viewed as lame. The Beatles were fortunate enough to break up before that happened and have each of their solo artists manage to maintain a high degree of popularity within the music industry. The Bee Gees were fortunate enough to be good songwriters for others even if their own songs were not so popular for them after the disco craze ended. Perhaps Drake will end up being a figure like French Montana or Tyga trying to maintain relevance by hopping on the tracks of others after people stop streaming and purchasing his music, which will surely happen at some point.

How is it that we know what others have to offer? In an efficient market, there is communication about what is available. If, for example, I have a history of listening to music or buying books from particular people, it would make sense that I would be interested in knowing what else they have to offer. If I am listening to one album by Coldplay, perhaps I would be amenable to listen to their new single with BTS (or, given my feelings for the inorganic nature of BTS popularity and stan-influenced purchasing habits, perhaps not). But if I am reviewing albums by ABBA, the Bee Gees, and others from that era, it would not be likely that I would be interested in reviewing the latest hip hop releases, and would probably not be as interested in them. No matter how much someone pushes something I don’t want to listen to, I am not going to want to listen to it, and yet there are a great many people (and a great many government agencies) who think that people can be pushed through unwanted marketing into doing what they do not want to do and refuse to listen to those people who want to turn off such marketing and advertising altogether.

What is it that gives power to people in the middle? During the years after disco, for example, the Bee Gees simply could not get their songs played on the radio, and though the band did interviews and promotion for later albums, most of those albums remain very obscure, and it was not until the mid 1990’s when they returned to some degree of popularity again once they moved to Adult Contemporary (where most of their audience had gone) rather than attempting to be played on pop radio. Similarly, for many years the music of Aaliyah was not widely available on streaming services, and so a generation of fans of R&B were unable to easily find the music of an artist who strongly influenced many later female R&B singers like her. Just as it is a problem when people in the middle try to push a product or a message that people do not want to hear and want to actively get away from, so too people in the middle may hinder the transfer of information and content from those who create it to those who want it, as we see with the behavior of many technology companies in actively trying to distort communication when that communication is from a worldview different than that of the people who run such companies.

To the extent that our society is free, the choices that they make will reveal what is in their heart. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing. Generally speaking, people who are virtuous are better able to enjoy freedom because what they want causes less harm to other people. Those people who want what is bad for them or what causes harm to other people, in contrast, will tend to find that they are restrained from what they want by a variety of factors outside to them if they lack self-restraint. One of the tragedies of our contemporary age is that those who attempt to legislate their own view of morality through distorting their role as brokers of goods, services, and information are so disinclined to be honest about what they are about. The worst sort of Pharisee is the one who pretends that they are not a Pharisee, for if one gets honest hectoring and moralizing at least one is getting it from someone who is self-aware and not a total hypocrite.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in History, Music History, Musings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to No Matter How The Dice Roll, Someone Else Always Gets To Call The Number

  1. Catharine Martin says:

    I like your comparison of the decision makers within the music industry to Pharisees. They don’t have introspection, and therefore fail to realize that they take their listeners hostage by forcing upon them their own whims and wants. Neither do they care about the bitter pill this is to the talented musicians who are left out of the mix and the fans who are left bereft. The one thing I’ve always hated is having my freedom of choice taken from me. It is an inalienable right, given to each person by God, and no man has the authority to abridge it–even when it comes to such a mundane thing as what music I’m “allowed” to hear on the airwaves.

    • Yes, I think one of the reasons why streaming is so popular is that we can choose what we want to listen to and that is greatly enjoyable (although, sadly, one cannot listen to “Ordinary Lives” on Spotify in the United States at present, so I have to go to YouTube to do it). The problem is that it is not always easy to know what someone is releasing, and that information is what radio should be providing but all too often does not.

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