Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Has the Business Compromised the Art in 08?

I was reviewing my top 10 lists from last year, and I was beginning to formulate in my head some top 10 lists for movies and music for 2008, then I realized, that I have not really seen anything this year or heard anything this year that really blew me away.

Last year, we were treated to movies like "No Country For Old Men", and "There Will Be Blood". We had records like the soundtrack for "Once". You already know my opinion on the television product out this season. Very, Very lack luster. It seems the only good thing to come out in 08 was the web series "The NoHo Show" (yes, I am shameless).

Granted, a lot of the 'artsy' movies haven't really come out yet and are just now trickling in, but outside of a few, I'm not dying to go out and see anything yet. Usually, I will take an afternoon or two to see a bunch at once, but this year nothing is motivating me out of my chair.

Album wise, I'm usually plugged in, but nothing on the Indie Scene or Mainstream scene has been that interesting or relevant this year. If you disagree, please, comment away.

As I thought about this, I wondered if the Business distractions of commercial art product was distracting the focus of the artists themselves. It's no secret the music industry is in turmoil as it shifts from the firm album distribution model to the less lucrative, but explosive digital model. If you look at recent comments from Smashing Pumpkins front man, Billy Corgan, you would think that musicians are focusing more on how to adapt to the new digital audience and how they can make that profitable than turning out work that matters artistically. Corgan claims that folks like iTunes have killed the album, and are teaching consumers to buy singles only. In his mind, that means bands do not need to undergo the album process and should just churn out singles as they come. It's a valid point, but a shameful self admission that money is now the motivating factor for bands that at one time were considered ground breaking acts.

Over in Hollywood, the writers strike definitely handicapped the current television season and turned viewers away... pushing people to back log viewing of DVD's through netflix instead of tuning into primetime fair (although, I for one still love the Office and 30 Rock).

The current labor stalls with SAG show a faltering quality of product out there in terms of critical acclaim. However, despite the economic down turn, movie houses are showing profits above 2007. I would argue that most folks in Hollywood are more concerned about whether or not there will be work out there in 2009, than they are about what that work is, and with zero movie production in Hollywood right now due to the ongoing stalled negotiations (the default strike)films previously deemed unreleasable are now being dusted off and trucked out to the masses. It's kind of getting ridiculous.

Obviously, I am not naive enough to overlook the fact that good art has a certain dollar value attached. Money motivates everyone, but it's difficult to stomach a climate where the creative product is overlooked to an even greater degree because of the doom and gloom of a transitioning entertainment industry.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I haven't heard this album, but it is an interesting way of adapting to digital business model while retaining artistic rigor.