[Music] entrepreneurship will favor the very few and marginalize the vast majority

The title of this post is from a recent piece by Andy Lee taking to task some things that Claire Chase (Artistic Director and CEO of the International Contemporary Ensemble) said at a convocation address at Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University. The full quote is actually in the comments section of the piece:

I think a slight clarification on (what I hoped to make) the thrust of my piece would be that I’m saying that entrepreneurship under current conditions will favor the very few and marginalize the vast majority. I’m not saying it isn’t a path to success, but I see it as the great hope that others seem to.

Lee reiterates the point in another response:

Where I disagree with Chase is on the promises of entrepreneurship and technology in the future. Where she seems to see great promise and a more level playing field, I see success for a few and the marginalization of many.

In four sections he outlines what’s problematic about Chase’s relatively optimistic outlook on entrepreneurship and new media technologies:

  1. The Hope of the Long Tail
  2. Winners Take All
  3. The New Gatekeepers
  4. The Failures

I’ve blogged pretty extensively about all four of these points here, and it’s interesting to find someone else taking issue with all of these issues, too. The Long Tail can’t work as well as we’d like for it if Free Culture movement keeps devaluing  the market. Superstar Economy drives the Winners Take All especially as the Free Culture movement devalues the non-Superstars.

I often discuss points brought up by financial analyst and musician, David Lowery, especially as he runs a blog dedicated to showing what’s problematic with the New Gatekeepers and the new Digital Media world.

And I’ve recently blogged about Survivorship Bias and how that can influence how we lose a lot of useful information about the ventures that fail despite doing very similar things to the few (especially Superstars) that succeed. This bias also plays a part in what we mean by “being a full-time musician” as well as masking the fact that being part-time musicians is the historical norm for most.

The discussion comments in Lee’s piece get into some details and it’s a part of a four part series of posts about related topics.  Well worth a read if you’ve questioned the entrepreneurial focus many music schools and conservatories are now taking.

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