Why aren’t the arts something we can all get behind? Maybe it’s somewhere in the psychology of how we like what we like? Revealed: nobody reads arts reviews anymore (says an editor who hates to run them but wants to “support” the arts). Where the money is in music (hint: not for musicians). And is “This American Life” undermining public radio?
- Go Team! Why Don’t The Arts Unite Communities like Sports Do? Cities go crazy about their sports teams. Sport unites communities. Even if you’re not a big sports fan, chances are if your city’s team makes it to a championship, you’re there rooting them on. So why don’t cities rally around their theatres or orchestras like this? When a theatre has a world-class season why isn’t there a surge of community pride that unites it? “Why do some people go to the theatre and why do so many people never go, thinking that it’s some kind of exclusive club that’s not for them?”
- Is “This American Life” Killing Public Radio With Its New Deal? One local public radio station manager thinks so, and he canceled the show after it made a deal with the Pandora streaming service. Show creator Ira Glass believes the deal helps increase TAL’s audience and provides revenue the show can plow back into production. After the story broke, a fascinating back-and-forth debate between Glass and the station manager ensued in the comments section about how local stations survive and national shows get made.
- All This Fuss Over A Review That No One Reads Anyway? After the Canadian Opera Company complained about a perfectly ordinary review of one of its productions, an editor at Canada’s National Post spiked the piece. When he discovered it, the freelance critic who wrote it, Arthur Kaptainis, quit the paper in protest. Consequently, a local Toronto music publication ran the review and the opera company, evidently nonplussed that the editor had taken such drastic action, released copies of the email correspondence to show they hadn’t demanded its removal. What has everyone talking though, is the revelation by the editor that he “hates” running reviews because no one reads them. So why run them? Anne Midgette takes up the challenge. As does Lev Bratishenko in MacLean’s.
- Lot’s Of Money In The Music Business/Just Not For Musicians? Two stories this week about who’s making money in the music business. On the one hand, services like YouTube – currently the biggest distributor of music in the world (by far) – have gutted the way musicians get paid for their work. Could the fix be as simple as a small change in the copyright law, as Jonathan Taplin suggests? On the other end of the business, ticket resellers are making huge amounts of money buying up all the tickets to popular shows and offering them for resale at unbelievably inflated prices. Like £24,840 for an Adele ticket? Performers hate it. And fans? Do we need new regulations?
- Why Do We Like What We Like? Interestingly, it turns out that many people can’t really tell you. Psychologists studying how people develop taste are finding that it’s a complex question. Tom Vanderbilt, author of the new book You May Also Like, says that taste is partly “a way of filtering the world, of ordering information” and partly “another form of social learning” – but “always a mixture of exposure, of culture, of a person’s personality. And none of these are particularly static or fixed.”