Thursday, February 7, 2008

Authenticity by profit use

Last night I remembered this article I read around a week ago and thought to add to the discussion of authenticity by using it as an example. This refers to the Forbes List of Cash Queens which details the top earning female recording artists for the past 12 months.

It occurred to me that perhaps authenticity of use for profit could be characterised as authenticity based on quantity – here it is depicted in terms of dollar amounts while in the popular music charts it is depicted on the quantity of CD/Digital sales. From one view this chart attempts to support the authenticity of these artists but of course many would say that it actually does the opposite.

Authenticity of use in terms of social change, in contrast, could be characterised as a qualitative authenticity of use – the term can be seen to concern itself with uses that attempt to support the music in a more qualitative way.

This week I have been examining the (double) CD film by Martin Scorsese – No Direction Home: Bob Dylan, and in the second part of the film Bobby Neuwirth (musician/visual artist) states:

In those days artistic success was not dollar driven... those were simpler times;... if you had something to say ...was basically the way people were rated... did they have anything to say or not?

Authenticity of use for social change supports the content of the music in a practical way whether that be in conjunction with protest action, social movements, written publications etc.

Perhaps it’s a matter of personal opinion (or general consensus) as to whether, or the degree to which, the music of the artists on the Forbes list have authenticity of use for purposes other than profit, but the point to make is that regardless, this type of rating is generally seen as undermining any such authenticity if it exists. This type of list does nothing to reflect the social utility of their music - of course it would be unfair to compare them to protest musicians as they are clearly not this – but each genre has different qualities of authenticity – so if you were to say they were dance music artists, surely a much more important measure would be how many people danced to their records – I realise this is impossible to measure but this is the type of use that would give these artists real authenticity.

... oh and... in terms of my own authenticity, yes I have had the realisation that this blog is itself my isolated act of agency for while my creation these days is literary this is the use that supports it to the limited extent that my regulation allows...

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