Emotionally, I find it difficult to disagree with the first sentiment Damian expresses. I don't spend anywhere nearly as much time as I once did listening to music, going to movies, or even watching television. Through my life I find myself, emotionally at least, following the apparant path my parents did--UGH!

But when I think about it--and you have to think about this, as well as everything else that seems to be a given in today's society--something becomes quite clear: there is a political economy at work here.

Not that there was a time when this wasn't the case, but in the last century, the political economy, or to be more exact, the economic nature of everything has become cloyingly, suffocatingly present. We see around us the, so-called, rationalization of all industries, including the entertainment, or cultural (see AOL-TimeWarner-EMI); what this leaves us with is, is not the diversity that Damian mentions, but the lack of diversity.

I have a student who is inspired by the singer Chantal Kreviasuk, and who wants to learn piano so she can follow that path. I am happy to teach her, but I also wish to share with her my analysis: I am not sure that, given most of the models of commercial success, the future is a good one for those who want to break in.

Having said this, I know that there are those worth listening to, though I can't think of any at the moment.

I would also be the first to aknowledge I may be too close to truly see what is happenning. After all, The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca, among many other movies, were produce by an industrial system of movie-making, marketed to specific demographics; but I think they're great!

I confess, I don't know what can be done. I am not sanguine about the prospects of the internet changing any of this very soon, though I could be wrong; but I think the political economy of our society is changing the nature of this medium we are using.

I fear a convergence is occurring, that we are proceeding towards a singularity, and our art, especially our commercial, popular art is the barometer of it.

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