Me, I love classical music, but have to say that modern classical music is simply wretched. All of it. Robert Blumen almost gets to the heart of the matter:
As a lover of classical music for decades, I have been dismayed by its gradual decline in our society. In most record stores today (at least in north Texas), it is increasingly difficult to find a section of the store dedicated to classical music, or even new age music for that matter. Instead, I find our culture swamped constantly by rock, country, and even rap music. Not that there is anything necessarily wrong with those genres, since I listen to plenty of rock and even some country myself (indeed, I grew up only with country since that was all my parents would listen to). OK, I don’t like most rap. Want to call me elitist for that? Be my pest [sic]!
Still, I find the situation very unbalanced and unjust. Once a form of music becomes unpopular, it tends to remain so since radio and TV stations ignore it, resulting in few people hearing it. That creates a barrier to musical diversity. Ironic considering that free market systems supposedly promote innovation and diversity. But when maximizing profit is the only real issue, popularity and the willingness of people to spend money on what is popular and easily accessible are what counts, literally. And that is where free market economics fails, because many people find more to their lives than making lots of money or being popular. Instead of thinking freely, children are encouraged to blindly follow the crowd by such pressures.
This is correct, but not quite all the way there. We should recognize that there is a market for modern classical music, and it's quite well funded - by foundations and corporate sponsorships, mainly. Proceeds from audience ticket sales are relatively minor. The commenters taking Blumen to task for describing the problem in market terms are quite mistaken.
Ross — a tireless advocate of the audience-blaming agenda — admits that “modern classical music remains an unattractive proposition for many concertgoers” and in the next paragraph refers to it as a “problem” (Ross later uses the word “unappreciative” to describe concert-goers who do not like the new music). Mr. Ross, why is it a “problem” if people don’t like something? This happens all the time in markets – consumers do not like something; a product is not commercially successful. This is, from the point of view of the producer of the product a problem if he takes a loss, but it is not a systemic problem for the industry as such. It is a market signal indicating that the classical music industry is producing poor quality music.
Ross — taking the agenda of the managerial elites as a given and the preferences of listeners as changeable — argues that classical music is an acquired taste and that it is the audiences who should, well, just go about acquiring it, as distasteful as that might be.
The market in modern classical music is ticking right along, producing large amounts of very ugly music that nobody wants to listen to. It produces this because a small elite controls the funding sources - basically, they are the customer, and they're buying what they want. There's no "market failure" here at all. The paying customers are demanding terrible art, which they're getting.
You and I are quite besides the point here. Sadly, the entire community of classical music lovers are besides the point, too. The elite who run things are destroying something beautiful in their pursuit of a snobbish vacuum.
But I'm sure that it will be quite different when a small elite runs our health care. Entirely different.