Saturday, April 4, 2015

[Book Review of ‘Culture Crash,’ by Scott Timberg], New York Times, 3/17/15

[Book Review of ‘Culture Crash,’ by Scott Timberg] Ben Yagoda, New York Times:
The Killing of the Creative Class
By Scott Timberg 310 pp. Yale University Press. $26
"In 1999, recordings generated $14.6 billion in revenue to the music business; by 2012, the figure was down to $5.35 billion. Of course, owing to the change in the dominant distribution model from physical CDs to (first) downloading MP3 files and (now) streaming on services like Pandora and Spotify, performing artists get a thinner slice of the smaller pie. Timberg puts a human face on the statistics with portraits, scattered throughout the book, of poets, artists, moviemakers and reporters who had been doing good work and making not great but decent livings, when all of a sudden the rug was pulled out from under them..."
As Timberg himself acknowledges elsewhere, artistic expression is essential to human existence. Its forms are rapidly changing. Its economics are, too, and at this moment artists are finding it harder and harder to make a living from their work. But it will persevere. Who knows? Maybe the commenters were right, and an old-fashioned symphony orchestra isn’t sustainable any­more. Music will survive — including, for the time being, in Louisville, where, after the bankruptcy filing, the orchestra cut back on its schedule and staffing, and suffered a musicians’ strike as a consequence, but posted a $20,000 surplus last August."

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