Andrew Clark's Personal Opinion Statement
"How has an innovation in your chosen field/industry made a difference?"
In retrospect, all the greatest advancements and occurrences within the western music tradition have been a direct result of innovative ideas and rapidly advancing technology. Whether it was the development of well tempered tuning during the renaissance, the refinement of brass instruments during the industrial revolution, or the mass media propelling Elvis into eternal stardom, our music has been flourishing in a five hundred year tango with our scientific discoveries. The most recent and obvious cultural shifts, not only in the west, have been a result of the internet and more specifically the advent of social media. Despite popular beliefs that classical music is dying, the classical music audience has greatly increased as a result of easily accessible recordings, videos, and sheet music made readily available online. Not only does classical music have a significant online presence around the world, but downloadable music software such as Abelton, Finale, and Sibelius now allow amateur composers and song writers to create their own music in the confine of their living room. The internet has made classical music essentially free to anyone who wants it. Unfortunately the rate at which the internet and social media is permuting the "exportation" of music is currently hindering and damaging our culture at a deeper level.
While the majority of the population benefits from our abundantly accessible online knowledge base, governments and organizations are currently neglecting their responsibility to protect our creative artists from being exploited by our new online distribution system. Musicians, publishers, composers, and orchestras are currently unable to sustain themselves because their creative output and artistic product has become devalued by our "pop culture". People throughout the globe have become accustomed to "stealing" music and downloading recent recordings for not cost. Orchestras have seen drastic decreases in concert attendance as watching orchestral videos online is more affordable and more comfortable for virtually everyone. Composers and songwriters are unable to receive payments for performances of their work as it is extremely nearly impossible to present their art online and simultaneously protect it from theft. While some might argue that this extinction of traditional art music is a natural evolution within our society, the disappearance of educated artists, musicians and composers is a sign that our culture, society and way of life is on the brink of collapse. A society that contains a rapidly decreasing artistic community is a society that is on the decline. Whether it is music, visual art, news, or information, the more saturated the internet become the less value its content has. Artists have been hit hard by this global effect as they see their previously esteemed craftsmanship become the laughing stock of their nations.
At this point I will assume the reader believes I'm being over dramatic, however please consider the following point that I'm about to make. A society is built on specific beliefs, morals and values which all the members of said society must have agreed upon prior. These values combined to produce culture, inevitable resulting in works of art that personify and emulate these values. Because of the work of artists, the cultural values will be perpetuated throughout their music, architecture, literature, and theatre. When a society stops producing art, it is a sure-fine sign that the culture is deteriorating, which must be a result of the population who no longer valuing its common morals, goals, and beliefs. The population which no longer contains any moral values will then become blind to the previous truths its art contains. As art is devalued the artists will then quietly recede into poverty and evaporate in the manner of music itself.
Whit the internet has become a staple of free speech, free thought, and accessible information for all, its impersonal nature makes it easier for people to take advantage of others, often without knowing. I believe it is the responsibility of the government to protect vulnerable work sectors both in the physically world, and the online realm. While the internet has given us the first real taste of our fabled "global village", it is crucial to protect our cultural values from becoming watered down by fast paced, visually stimulating gimmicks. Western art music has survived the Reformation, the Napoleonic age, two World Wards, the Industrial Revolution, the depression, countless dictatorships and the mass media. However, I believe the internet and social media are truly global phenomenon's and have synthetically, yet permanently, altered our species. Music has been the back bone of the human race since the beginning of time. For centuries classical musicians and western orchestras were considered to be beacons of hope, progress, community, humanity, and proof of the existence of an immortality beyond comprehension. Today, musicians and their art are being pushed to the fringes of our culture by cat videos and pornography.