Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The First Time as Tragedy....

"Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce." - Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Napoleon Bonaparte.

From: this

To: this

The difference here, the grossness, the thing that leaves the aftertaste: it's the humourlessness, the sincerity of it all.

They REALLY mean it. Sorry Marx, but it's the reverse... or...


  1. or just have some respect, soul and talent, piss on beatport charts, and reserve a place on shelves.

    this is just sad!

  2. or you can look at this from the point of view of marcuse, i.e. technology (internet) has just made the artist into an endless machine of promotion, hype, marketing, yadda yadda yadda.

    either way you look at this, it stinks.

  3. It's just business. I notice the timeline has some absurd entries, like "get interviewed on MTV" -- like you can just finagle that somehow. The fact is, in order to make more than a subsistence living from music, you have to do every cynical, craven, gladhanding thing they suggest. That or be incredibly lucky to be in the right place at the right time.

    In interviews about Throbbing Gristle Gen P Orridge talks about how their whole aesthetic was to make something that couldn't be turned into a product and sold, hence the crawling through broken glass naked and eating each other's vomit. Turns out they failed -- nothing is beyond the reach of market capitalism.

  4. Jesus Christ

    that is a truely vile article.

  5. But don't they both sort of read the same way? It's just KLF's manual was tongue-in-cheek about it, and the Beatport one isn't. They both preach the same basic steps though -- have a reasonably solid, catchy song, and then market, market, market.

  6. by the time i'm finished reading the KLF's article i feel like the whole industry is a bit bloated and not worthwhile. then the beatportal article, and i'm trying to hold myself back from suiciding over just how worthless the industry has become. "*DER* make a youtube video and then hand out USB sticks at WMC *DERRR*."

    my solution is to make music for myself, and maybe some friends. other than that, i don't care how many people listen to it. i'd never be happy selling my music.

  7. @ tony: that is the whole point. hence the comments are made in reference to marx's observation about the way history repeats first as tragedy, then as farce.

  8. ...or as PC neatly inverts, farce then tragedy... The KLF were always about demonstrative, theatrical satirical effect (capitalism, Thatcherism, Reaganism etc) whereas the Beatport crowd unwittingly satirise themselves. Farce indeed.

  9. my first thoughts on skim reading that beatportal article is that I feel sorry for people who are not smart enough to realise their musical choices are being made for them.

    the fact is almost everybody reading this blog is not one of these people.although it is a very sad situation, popular music through the ages has always been made and marketed a little like this and always will be. its more business, less creative.

  10. well the beatportal article may be a farce, but the Manual was far from a tragedy. the KLF/K Foundation were some of the most significant artists across any discipline in the 1990s

  11. @Chris: Yeah, I got the farce/tragedy comment. But I guess I see it more as a satire/truth. Personally, I didn't take offense to the Beatport article like others have. He's stating what sells, in an updated form to the KLF Manual, with emails and networking instead of magazine reviews and record sales. Both are depressing in their own way.

  12. While I recognize the 1:1 relevance with the tragedy/farce quote, I think a couple of points could be worth thinking about.

    Sure, the Beatportal article is depressing, but I say that as someone who's got a whole lot of apathy and skepticism toward someone who works for Beatport while plugging... Beatport.

    I'm not sure there's much be up in arms about, since the audience is entirely different than say, the ssgs demographic. The outline/interview/article actually has very little to do with music, and a hell of a lot to do with marketing. You could easily replace "number one hit" with "canned sandwiches." I guess that's obvious to most of us here. As a hobbyist musician, I am not sure I want to spend so much time marketing rather than making music.

    In any case, appealing to the biggest audience possible ("#1 hit") is financially fine, but artistically precarious. I don't know about you guys, but I'm almost by default suspicious of Beatport DJ lists, most top ten lists, splash-page features, etc. Basically that's someone else deciding my own taste--or better yet, what to search for. ("Hey, here's some shit I'm promoting for some reason and probably you'll forget about it not long from now! Buy, buy buy!") These days I also find it very sad that these days, this week's so-called hot tune or DJ set/podcast is largely forgotten in a matter of weeks if not days. That graph for Swedish House Mafia says it all: they peaked on April 26 this year, and sharply dropped off by almost the next day. Sad. The bigger the audience these days, the shorter the collective attention span, it seems.

    The updated Beatportal version of KLF's musings might have been better titled, "How to have 15 seconds of fame."

  13. Crap, sorry; it always seems I write a ton when I post. :\

  14. I can't wait for the next generation who see the internet as a way to be diverse, unique and well rounded rather than letting it dictate taste and make them generic.

    And I'm glad Beatport wrote that article, it confirms the suspicions I've had about them for a long time.


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