The Jagger Effect is a Lie

By Tim Quirk
I actually learned the answer to Alex's question, "How do we make activism an appealing drug artists want to take?" at an artist activism retreat a couple months ago.

Erin Potts from Air Traffic Control highlighted some research that indicated music affects the same part of the brain that governs optimism, and that music-related activism therefore helped convince participants their efforts could really make an impact.

Don't worry, I'm not suggesting that we get artists engaged in policy conversations by turning them into sing-alongs. But I do think it's a mistake to consider policy and process as something separate from/different than the act of creating. They're intertwined, and need to be addressed that way. That's why, though I recognize the phenomenon Lynne calls "the Jagger Effect,"hearing it phrased as something intrinsic to the artistic personality always makes me a little crazy. I think the effect has more to do with romantic notions of what being an artist is supposed to mean than it does with any effective way of actually being an artist.

Over 20 years in the music business has convinced me that the idea of creative geniuses tending only to their art while others figure out how to find it an audience, and then turn that audience into money, isn't just a myth, it's a pernicious lie. Moreover, it's a lie that folks on the business side have a vested interest in perpetuating.

It's nice to be told that you're a genius and needn't worry about the business side of things, or who's doing what with your website, or what's being decided in DC about your particular field. But when I hear artists repeat that, I tell them to stop being naive.

So, um, I guess my answer to Alex is two-fold: sing, and be a pest.
July 19, 2010 6:27 AM | | Comments (0) |

Leave a comment


This Blog Arts and culture are a cornerstone of American society. But arts and culture workers are often left out of important policy conversations concerning technology and creative rights even though the outcomes will have a profound impact on our world. Is it benign neglect? Or did we... more

This blog is a project of... the Future of Music Coalition, the National Alliance for Art Media + Culture, Fractured Atlas, and more

Our Bloggers We have 22 bloggers taking part in this week's conversation. They are... more

Contact us: Click here to send us an email... more

AJ Blogs

AJBlogCentral | rss

About Last Night
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Artful Manager
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
blog riley
rock culture approximately
critical difference
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dog Days
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
lies like truth
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world
Life's a Pitch
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
Mind the Gap
No genre is the new genre
Performance Monkey
David Jays on theatre and dance
Plain English
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Real Clear Arts
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
Rockwell Matters
John Rockwell on the arts
State of the Art
innovations and impediments in not-for-profit arts
Straight Up |
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude

Foot in Mouth
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Seeing Things
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...

Jazz Beyond Jazz
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...

Out There
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Serious Popcorn
Martha Bayles on Film...

classical music
Creative Destruction
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
The Future of Classical Music?
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Slipped Disc
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds
The Unanswered Question
Joe Horowitz on music

Jerome Weeks on Books
Quick Study
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera

Drama Queen
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off

Aesthetic Grounds
Public Art, Public Space
Another Bouncing Ball
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary