There is more than one way to boost social media rankings

Norman Lebrecht rants at certain classical musicians for buying their social media rankings from Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq. He is quite right to point out the stupidity of paying social media mills in faraway countries. Because you can boost your ranking much more cheaply using home-grown click bait - see example above.

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Opus Alba said…
Scathing! By the by, I wonder whether it's worth mentioning that Lebrecht's click-baiting has occasionally been quite a harmful influence. I'll mention in passing his coverage of the Chetham's sex-abuse scandal which had some very sad consequences. I don't want to cast too many aspersions, though one is clear: however free the media is to stick their noses into these things they should be more ethical when their intrusive attacks affect the wellbeing of childrens' education, and the confidence in their pastoral care. I'm a former student and remember the terse environment that the coverage caused, making it quite confusing and disheartening for the youngest students and their parents.
Pliable said…
Opus Alba, please be careful. Agreeing publicly with posts like this can seriously damage your career -
Opus Alba said…
I appreciate your concern, as a recent but great admirer of your writing. I understand that to secure whatever small fame is possible in the western classical clique involves pandering to people like Norman Lebrecht; however, on principle, I think that any artist that values celebrity and commercial success more than a humble satisfaction in their art has sold their entitlement to call themselves an artist. If we do not openly and publicly revolt against this dispirited and infantile zeitgeist then I believe we are deliberately destroying one of the most wonderful (and for me, the most important) parts of our humanity.

Forgive me if my ideals are not popular, or particularly nuanced, but I'd happily devote my life to an art removed from self-interest and commerce. Just think, as developments in artificial general intelligence proceed, much of the work we currently consider high-minded could be common in the future! Which is better: to secure a world where humanist values and great art are commonplace, or to continually pander to the lowest common denominator and let humanity be satisfied having never experienced the best of ourselves?

There is much said about how western art is dying, etcetera ad nauseam. It died long ago when we allowed this cultural and spiritual emptiness to become commonplace. My only hope is that we can educate: that we can use this ever globalising society to filter out the commercial and usher in a common appreciation for all the multiflous hues and varieties of human art and experience. I do not want to live in a world where we have sold our souls and chilled our hearts to all but the most easily digestible and the least nutritious.

Believe me, I burn with a want to see art change and I will never let expressing dissent damage my chance to make it happen.
Pliable said…
In his highly recommended memoir Barbarian Days William Finnegan coins the neologism 'Suckcess' to describe a method of career advancement common in the arts world -
Opus Alba said…
I suppose I'll have to read it to find out exactly what that means — once again, thank you!
Philip Amos said…
As I'm retired, I think I may endorse your post (and then some) without fear of any damage to my career. (--: I have requested Finnegan's book from my library system. It's not a book I should normally consider reading, so thank you for that tip. I must say that I'm mighty impressed by Opus Alba's comments. Here is a young musician who has, I should say, realized the importance of overcoming the Ego, so vital if the music and composer are to be his core concern in performance. Heavens above, OA, why do you ask for forgiveness? Socrates called himself a gadfly, always ready to annoy the ruling powers when he considered them wrong. You too are a gadfly, never afraid to express dissent, as you write here. What Quakers call Speaking Truth to Power. You're a rare bird these days. All power to you.
Pliable said…
Philip, I found William Finnegan's Barbarian Days a richly rewarding read. It is a rites of passage memoir, but he has a very strong reputation as a writer for the New Yorker on human rights topics -

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