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Music Media and Enterprise Exam 1

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Why must one consider the social context in order to understand enterprise in music?

Discuss the relationship between access and ownership in music. Why is each important? Are there conflicts between them?

        To truly understand enterprise in music, one must consider the social context to adapt to changing conditions and ultimately make money by gaining capital, whether that be economic, social, celebrity, or cultural. As stated in the text, it is only when music is placed in a social context that its full potential to create value can be seen. Understanding the forms of capital framework and how they interact are crucial for understanding value creation in the enterprise. In order to maximize value creation, artists and industry professionals must be able to identify opportunities in social contexts and take advantage of them to create capital. Without understanding social contexts and adapting to social changes, one will fail to succeed in the music business.  For example, Mozart’s reluctance to transition from patronage to entrepreneurship lead to him being deeply in debt when he passed away.  On the other hand, Beethoven’s acceptance of change at an early age lead him to gain immense success and ultimately become an innovatively and monetarily successful pioneer whose influence was recognized in his era and for centuries to follow.

        The relationship between access and ownership in the music industry is something commonly debated and is becoming increasingly more intricate as streaming music has recently come into the industry.  Ownership is the right to benefit from presenting music to the public, while access is the availability of this music.  The two can be put onto a spectrum where one side is full ownership and limits all access, while the other side allows full access and no ownership.  The downfall of having too much ownership is that it limits the value of the work by inhibiting the number of transactions that can occur.  On the other hand, too much access diminishes one’s ownership by allowing too many transactions to occur, therefore lowering the value of these individual transactions.  The solution to this conflict exists somewhere between the two sides, where access is substantial enough to reach as many consumers as possible, and ownership is still substantial enough to be profitable.

Explain what is meant by “waves of innovation.” How can this concept be applied to explain social, technological, or economic changes that affect music? Use music publishing and the rise of the paid, public concert as examples.

        Throughout history, there have been waves of innovation in the music industry that are followed by periods of stability until another wave of innovation occurs.  Most often this innovation is the development of cutting edge technology coupling with favorable economic conditions.  One example of this was in the 18th century when the absolute power of the European aristocracy ended and the merchant class began to rise.  This meant music was no longer limited to the aristocracy, thus creating economic opportunities for musicians.  This lead to a wave of paid concerts, music education and eventually printed music.  Furthermore, the printing press had recently revolutionized the world, which was instrumental in developing mass music publishing and the printing of sheet music.  Before this, the practical way for a musician to earn a living was through the patronage model, which was playing customized pieces for the noble class.  However, this new era of music publishing allowed for much more access to music for the middle class, which was a class that could afford to buy concert tickets.  Overall, emergence of music notational systems and successful printing combined with a middle class with a desire for music education and increased public demand resulted in a wave of innovation that changed the music world forever.

Johann Christian Bach and Karl Friedrich Abel were immigrant entrepreneurs drawn to London’s growing markets for music. Bach was the youngest son and eighteenth child of Johann Sebastian Bach. Among their entrepreneurial activities, Bach and Abel launched in 1765 what became the most popular concert series of the day at Vauxhall Gardens.

Initially, they enjoyed economic and social success. With respect to music publishing, each composer had obtained a printing privilege from the English Crown for his respective music. Both men had come into conflict with the publishing firm Longman and Lukey. This conflict occurred during a period when both men were enjoying financial success. By agreement, Bach filed suit against Longman, seeking injunctive relief.



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