Forget crafted beers and artisan cheeses. The real artisan movement is happening in the music world. The first stirrings can be heard in almost every genre, and the long-term implications are far from clear. But this tectonic shift has the potential to shake up the entertainment business, and shift the balance of power among the various labels.
Even as synthesized sounds and samples are available to artists at the click of the mouse, a growing number of million-selling performers are embracing old school values of craft and musicianship. The power brokers in the music industry ought to pay attention—or a paradigm shift could once again catch them napping.
You don’t want to be a musical Monsanto in this brave new world! A smarter strategy is to establish street cred as the Whole Foods of the record business.
The analogy to food trends is appropriate. After decades of processed products and tech-created additives, the public rebelled and showed that a large market existed for natural and organic alternatives. The same thing is happening now in music, but the movement is still in its early stages. Yet similar forces are at work in both fields: a growing sense that that reliance on processing and tech additives may have gone too far, and that a return to core values might produce better long-term results.
The discerning listener can now hear this new paradigm emerging in every corner of the music business. Lady Gaga may have surprised fans with her unexpected collaboration with Tony Bennett and various associated jazz players. But check out Ms. Lauryn Hill channeling Nina Simone on her latest album. Or look at Queen Latifah doing the same with Bessie Smith on HBO. Or consider the implications of the unexpected ascendancy of sweet soul over in the U.K., where Adele showed that you can sell millions of albums without massive Auto-Tuning—and helped kick off a whole British neo-Motown movement.
How did Britain manage to steal the soul/R&B sound from Detroit? The answer is simple: artisanship. ...
So ... if artisanship and music is being compared so assiduously to cheese by way of contrast ... is it okay if I plug for the Mass for double choir by Swiss composer Frank Martin? This is, if you will, Swiss cheese of a particularly savory kind, at least for me.
Seriously, I love this piece, got the score for it years ago and it's a fantastic Mass. And for those who track the other topics that creep into this blog once in a while Frank Martin was a Swiss Calvinist. You know, just in case you did or didn't want to know that. :)
That doesn't have anything more than tangents on tangents to do with Gioia's article.