About Me
I'm a Canadian PhD student living in Scotland, where I study music, media, and culture at Stirling University.


My Work
Current:
Curriculum Vitae
PhD Abstract

Peer-reviewed articles:
The rough guide to critics: musicians discuss the role of the music press (Popular Music 25:2, 2006)

Conference papers:
Comparing the shaming of jazz and rhythm and blues in music criticism (Experience Music Project 2006)

Was Newport 1969 the Altamont of Jazz? The role of music festivals in shaping the jazz-rock fusion debate (Leeds International Jazz Conference 2006)

Down Beat vs. Rolling Stone: the battle for authority in the American music press, 1967-1970 (IASPM Biennial Conference 2005)

Web articles:
Sounds Prohibited
Brain Machines

CD reviews:
Proffessor Undressor
Manitoba

Current musical projects: Zoey Van Goey
Maritime Rock Opera Club

Contact
m.t.brennan at stir.ac.uk
Links
Friends With Websites:
Dru (The Dominion)
Sylvia Nickerson
Inez Templeton
Inez: the blog
Clark Richards
Tara Wells
Max Liboiron
John Haney
Eva Bartlett

Musical Friends:
David Myles
Jamie (Near Earth Astronaut)
Jay (Proffessor Undressor)
Jim (Shotgun and Jaybird)
Jon (Rhume)
Kirk (Orchard Hill Road)
Mark, Mike (Barriomatic Trust)
Matt Johnston
Pat (Random Andy)
Troy (Pimp Tea)

Archives
By Category:
academiks (3)
aural creativity (12)
books (1)
flicks (8)
inspiration (3)
mad science (4)
media theory (4)
music biz (10)
other (6)
personal (13)
powers that be (7)
travel (4)
visual creativity (9)
words (1)


By Month:
September 2006 (1)
July 2006 (1)
June 2006 (2)
May 2006 (1)
April 2006 (2)
March 2006 (1)
January 2006 (3)
December 2005 (1)
November 2005 (1)
October 2005 (1)
September 2005 (1)
August 2005 (1)
July 2005 (1)
June 2005 (1)
May 2005 (1)
April 2005 (1)
March 2005 (3)
February 2005 (3)
January 2005 (1)
December 2004 (1)
November 2004 (2)
October 2004 (5)
September 2004 (3)
August 2004 (1)
July 2004 (3)
June 2004 (3)
May 2004 (6)
April 2004 (6)
March 2004 (8)
February 2004 (7)
January 2004 (11)
December 2003 (2)

January 27, 2004

Revolutionzing the economics of popular culture?

Here's a little excerpt from a column by music critic Barry Ulanov:

"Itís extraordinary that year after year, decade after decade, the beautifully polished machinery of manufactured spontaneous combustion can be set in motion in our popular culture without any protest, or with no more than the most timid and tentative sort of objection. One cannot help wondering about the broader implications of this procedure. If a whole country can be such a pushover for a song and a dance, what does that suggest about that same nationís political susceptibilities?"

This succintly describes an aspect of the climate of popular music on the radio these days. It also makes what I feel is a solid connection between our apathy about what we're fed on the radio and the apathy of most people to engage in political participation.

Thing is, Ulanov wrote that in 1957. The voice of protest has always been around in popular culture, and it's scary to see how little the arguments have changed over the decades. Makes you wonder whether activists like downhillbattle.org and the groups who preceded them (Ulanov was a big advocate for the economic independence of musicians in the 1950s) have studied the history of previous (failed) attempts to transform the economics of popular culture.

Hey, maybe they have. In fact, I wish them the best of luck. But while the prospect of revolution is always exciting, I'm skeptical about whether it's realistic, or more importantly, whether their vision of completely evading the need for an industry middle man has any possibility of longevity.

Most of all, I'd rather not be reading the same recycled arguments for cultural revolution years down the road.

Posted by matt at January 27, 2004 04:15 PM