Not so passive

Today in the New York Times — a business-section piece on TV commercials, yet another threatened institution in the rush of current changes in our culture. Companies now divert some of their TV advertising dollars to cell phones and the Internet; many people record shows with DVRs, and skip the commercials; many people go onnline during commercial breaks, and don’t watch the commercials at all. (The Times business section, by the way, is a good place to find out what’s changing in our culture. Anybody trying to sell anything has to know how things are changing, so they know how to find their customers.)

And buried inside this piece is this little passing remark: “…the trend of consumers being obsessed with user-generated content. A trend, obviously, that the business section and its readers take for granted. The context here was an ad campaign from Converse, which invited anyone at all to make videos with Converse sneakers in them. So popular culture makes people passive? Just the reverse, and advertisers now are so aware that people make cultural choices for themselves — and in fact create their own culture — that they now base ad campaigns on that.

Later in the section came a piece about mashups — the practice of slicing and dicing music, video, whatever, combining existsing things to create something new. Well, really the piece was about investing in a company whose software facilitates mashups. Is there any money in it.? But again — the trend is taken for granted. Everybody knows it exists.

And for some terrific musical mashups created by Jennifer Foster of WDAV, an all-classical public radio station in North Carolina, go here (it’s a page from the station’s website), scroll down to the bottom, and click on the five “montages” under “Main Street Sessions Remix.” “Dulcissime” from Carmina Burana over something played by a local teenaged harpist (that’s in Montage 1) — I love it!

Has anyone else from a classical music institution done anything like this?

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