Theft of Musical Sensibility

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January 26,2011

What commerce robs us of musically

A fundamental flaw in the way music comes to us, a culturally crippling one, is that it overwhelmingly does so via the music industry. The consequence is the obscuring and loss of untold numbers of wonderful, sometimes brilliant songs. They may be one-offs or part of the repertoire of song-writers who for entirely sane reasons don’t get into the commercial stream. One way or another they come into being reflecting the culture of the writer, and are undoubtedly a more authentic reflection of it for not being shaped to meet market demand. Cumulatively speaking, it’s a huge loss.

If commerce can’t remedy it, government should. In Canada, at least, compared to the U.S., there appears to still be the vestige of an understanding that government is an entirely legitimate way for us to accomplish what commerce clearly doesn’t and shows no inclination to. Government expenditures on the arts would do well to include the recording an collection of songs that aren’t coming to us via commerce. We could use a library of them. Ironically enough, that might be a huge resource for those who do produce music commercially.

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