Wednesday, December 30, 2015

That’s the state of the record business

And as Norman Lebrecht tells us in another post, that’s the state of the record business, end of 2015.

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Philip Amos said...

I can hardly be sure of this without research that I now can't and certainly don't want to do, but I think this morning Lebrecht may have posted the best piece of evidence of his, um, method. Writing that the IMSLP will now charge a pretty paltry $22.80 for a subscription, or else make users wait a whole 15 seconds before a work downloads (O my God...15 seconds... The sky is falling), he said that there is "...a rising surge of anger" over this. There follow 35 comments, of which approximately 32 stated that the writer wasn't a bit bothered by paying this amount for access to over 300 000 scores. I'm sure as hell not. His header itself reads like a bit of satire: "Musicians Made to Wait as Free Score Site Goes Pay-For".

One commenter said to NL, "You're more full of shit than an overflowing septic tank", and didn't stop there. I express myself rather differently, but this past year I decided to go after Lebrecht, just a matter of speaking truth to power. I had enough and I can be relentless. You can bet I will be relentless when such as Lebrecht daily inflict damage on an art close to my heart since I was five, which makes six decades. I don't think I'll be on the coming Honours List, but much, much better, he banned me. I'm honoured but a trifle baffled, for there is a horde of other commenters who go after him regularly and, as above, not with the formality of language and argument I'm accustomed to using. I think he said I am "spammed out" (which suggests he doesn't have a clue what that term means) because I did indeed do what I say above -- over a period of time, I let no unmitigated piffle pass without a corrective and a statement of just what is going on here.

Yet it makes no difference. I just about wigged out when he wrote a few days ago that he'd been working with an orchestra on a Mahler symphony! Anyone who's read his book on Mahler will know what I'm talking about. How does this happen? Power, the power of a freelance writer, some of whom are very good, but others hardly so because they make their income by writing anything whatsoever and, like the tabloid papers, cultivating contacts who co-operate in return for guaranteed coverage always positive. I do believe this is what is termed a 'hack'. Another egregious example is Duchen's interviews cum restaurant reviews in Amati Magazine. Oh the sycophancy! If the world had not gone insane these past few years, the era of post-education, NL might now be well-placed as music critic of the Daily Mirror or News of the World. At the heart of this comment is the observation that freelance writers are a large part of the general problem. Almost anything Lebrecht or Duchen, et al, write has a quid pro quo behind it. Thence comes their network of contacts, the real source of their power, and I'm damned if I know what to do about it. I am happy I got banned though -- a pretty sure indication my comments were hitting home, even if to no avail.

Pliable said...

Yes Philip, I have had considerable difficulty remaining silent about those 'editor's lunches'. Suffice it to say reading about Beethoven's Violin Sonatas being discussed over "the lightest possible pumpkin mousse, topped with basil oil, burnished, crunchy toasted pumpkin seeds and crystals of ginger" in a "sleek, contemporary French restaurant" made me want to vomit.