I want to share some interesting thoughts from Greg Sandow via email on my analogies of orchestras and organics……
Those are really good points…
I love the organic food analogy. Made me ruminate a bit, and I came up with two thoughts.
1. If the entire classical music business is organic food, then it’s got to shrink. There just can’t be enough market (at least on the organic food market) for huge, highly paid orchestras, glossy expensive soloists, and 3000-seat halls.
2. But maybe only some classical music is organic food. Just as a supermarket can sell regular and organic produce, an orchestra could do regular and organic concerts. The orchestra, in other words, would have more than one product line, which in fact is a way of thinking that’s beginning to take hold. So I can imagine an institution that does big glossy performances of The Planets, and then has its organic line of early music, and also its hip boutique line of new music concerts. Or something like that!
Thanks for getting my brain working,
Greg — one last thought: in pop, the organic food genre would be acoustic music (of course).”
Two more thoughts from me
1- 3,000 seats is awfully big, although the Albert Hall (6,600) can sound and feel intimate. Still, it would be great if there were a viable economic construct where orchestras could offer programs that were leaner in venues that brought the audience as close as possible.
2- I’m not sure pop needs to be acoustic to be organic. I’d say compression (or at least excessive compression) is definitely the toxic insecticide of pop music, along with excessive sampling in place of real musicians, songs written by marketing departments (see the tomato bred for shipping rather than flavor), and pitch corrected/generate vocals. One reason that we now have so many pop stars with no musical interest or aptitude is that they no longer need any musical skill to make an album as a “singer.” If the pop star in question can speak the words, even out of time, a good engineer can pitch and time correct them into something usable. Definitely not organic. Jimi Hendrix is a good electric organic artist.
UPDATE- Be sure to read the great comment from hornist Rebekah Shaub