Arguably, the dominant cultural issue of our time is the changes in how people are finding and getting culture. In response, business models supporting culture and the kinds of culture being made are also changing. It also underpins debates about diversity, engagement and power.
Some broad themes this week:
1. How we want the culture we want
- Record Profits As Concert Business Booms The pop concert and festival business is hugely popular, and growing. Concert promoter Live Nation reported revenue of $7.6 billion in 2015, up 11 percent from the previous year.
- Are We So Addicted To Our TVs That The Arts Can’t Compete? TV has gotten radically better. And its ubiquity means that it is easy to consume. The arts are harder, messier, less predictable. So…
- Publishers (And Critics) Still Draw A Line Between Literary And Commercial Fiction But does the audience? Does anyone still care about the distinction? And if so, where is that line?
- When 80% Of Public Museum Art Is Locked Away, How Is It Public? So a website is trying to digitize images of every piece of art owned by the public. Not a substitute, sure, but perhaps it changes notions of what it means to be publicly owned.
2. How we’re measuring the arts
- A Last-Minute Ticket App Hits Broadway, But Theatres Aren’t Happy The mobile app sells discounted and full-price last-minute tickets. Is it a threat to the traditional business of selling full price tickets?
- TV Networks Are Obsessed With Ratings. Netflix Isn’t. So why? Netflix simply doesn’t care about ratings—at least not in the way other television providers do.
- Are Our Criteria For Judging The Success Of Musicals Wrong? “Where once a musical running one or two years would have been a great success, that achievement has now been devalued.”
- Some Forms Of Dementia Are Giving Us Insight Into Creativity “What if the failure of language itself were the cause of the enhanced creativity, one form of expression compensating for the loss of another?”
- Study: A Clean Desk Might Actually Impede Creativity “Clean up your desk too much and you might find you’ve accidentally cleaned out your mind.”
- Using The Arts To Teach Math Works Instead of art as a stand-alone subject, teachers are using dance, drama and the visual arts to teach a variety of academic subjects in a more engaging way.
- Why the “Inefficiency” Of Arts And Humanities Is A Feature, Not A Bug They offer us a kind of reach into time and space that we can find nowhere else.
- When “Accessibility” Is Built In To Art Rather Than Used As An Add On it makes better art.“Theatres are increasingly making their work accessible for deaf and disabled audiences in a more creative, integrated fashion and are placing issues of access right at the heart of their design.”
4. How we’re rethinking our relationships with culture
- Can MOOCs Get You Closer To Your Museum? Whether they function as a resource for art lovers or provide an introduction for an audience that can’t attend — or simply hasn’t — the museum in person, these courses are increasing access in inventive ways.
- Who Owns The Past? Our Museums Seem To Be Confused We’re risking “transforming our great institutions into places where understanding the past is conditioned by present-day political and therapeutic criteria.”
- Branford Marsalis Talks About The Differences Between Classical And Jazz “Classical music makes me a much better saxophonist than jazz does. Because for saxophone technique, guys end up playing fast stuff. In classical music, you just have to develop a technique to execute melodies and ideas that are beyond the linear ways that we tend to think about music.”
- China: No More Weird Architecture! In recent years some of the most imaginative (and yes, weird) buildings have been erected in China. But now a directive issued on Sunday says no architecture that is “oversized, xenocentric, weird” or “devoid of cultural tradition” should be built.
- Why Today’s Teens Have Stopped Reading Books “When they become twelve or thirteen, kids often stop reading seriously. The boys veer off into sports or computer games, the girls into friendship in all its wrenching mysteries and satisfactions of favor and exclusion.”
5. In Other News
- Umberto Eco, 84 “As a semiotician, Mr. Eco sought to interpret cultures through their signs and symbols … and published more than 20 nonfiction books on these subjects while teaching at the University of Bologna.
- Opera’s Gender Problem, By The Numbers “According to Operabase, an online opera database, in the years 2009 to 2014 there are only 3 women amongst the 60 most performed living opera composers in the world. Saariaho comes in highest at number 33.
- What Google Learned Trying To Build The Perfect Team “Five years ago, Google — one of the most public proselytizers of how studying workers can transform productivity — became focused on building the perfect team.”
- Why Are So-Called Bad Words Actually Bad? “Swearing is a form of dispreferred linguistic behaviour.”
- Madison Ballet Cancels Remainder Of Season “Despite a solid showing for Nutcracker in December, the organization has struggled with cash flow, lower than expected ticket sales for Dracula and flagging fundraising.”
This Week’s Most-Read AJ Stories
- What’s Wrong With “Hamilton” (And Why It’s Important To Say)
- After He Died, This Writer Was Kept In The Closet By His Controlling Family
- Newly Discovered Handel Cantata Turns Up In Conductor’s Own Library
- Dmitri Hvorostovsky Talks About His Brain Cancer Treatment, Recovery, And Return To The Opera Stage
- How Cat Hair Busted A Pair Of Art Forgers