time to change the way we view music and the arts

Remember the Limelight

Back in high school, I learned about a fun little concept called “stream of consciousness.” One of its many definitions classifies it as a literary device and that’s the use I’m referring to here. Well, I suppose you could say I developed my topics for this post from a stream of my own. Thank you Sister Mary Ryan. (Academy of Saint Joseph forever~)

Anyway, so let’s get to point blank. LimeWire, one of the rare, still relatively well known file-sharing, peer-to-peer sites left kicking around cyberspace, is now officially “put down.” The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America, for those of you who hate having to remember every acronym in existence… :-P) won its four year long legal throw down with the site that was filed in 2006. Personally, I never liked the idea of LimeWire or Napster or *gasp* even the lesser known, even earlier server, Morpheus. Musician and administrator morals aside, they all seemed like way too much of a self-inflicted invasion of privacy. Sure, you get to sneak around downloading music you’re not paying for and kill hours at a time doing just that. However, consider the downturn to this with the idea of someone doing the exact same thing but with your hard drive as their exploring ground. Yeah, that’s what I thought. Sounds invasive, doesn’t it? I realize some of you probably think “Doesn’t the RIAA have less stupid things they can focus on rather than continually trying to obliterate my downloading experience? It’s not like artists are getting a lump of cash every time I buy their CD anyway…it’s just that royalty stuff and by the time you break down the percentages…blah blah blah.” That’s another fish for another day. Although, for the short answer, no, the RIAA doesn’t have better things to do because putting their foot down on rampant infringers like LimeWire is what they do.

From laughing at the bluntness of what is essentially LimeWire’s homepage’s reverse-suicide note, I thought, “LimeWire…well they got plenty of attention, had it coming to them…Lindsay Lohan’s name was in the ArtsJournal yesterday, she’s always making tabloid headlines, headlines…it’s stupid that people need to burn CD’s from sites and have stray MP3s stuck only on their iPods and Zunes and Blackberrys with no data and no artwork. It’s like what I heard the other day about how people get to a point where they don’t even know what music they have and what they don’t because it’s all faceless and on stacks of blank CD’s. (Listen to “The Vinyl Countdown” by Relient K)

Although, what about classical music? I mean, almost everything that keeps the classical recording business going deals with musicians covering centuries’ old pieces over and over and rearranging a variety of tracklists. I happen to know every detail of every CD I own but that’s because I’m nerdy. And that’s also only if you don’t ask about my classical collection. I know the composers whose music I have, but not always which CD has which pieces. The lack of necessary record conceptualization as compared with a pop album makes retaining the tracklist of “the 3rd CD with Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony No. 3” negligible, even for me. That brought me back to a classic ongoing question I’ve mulled over in the past, which is, “Why don’t classical performers work on more of projecting themselves, as people, with images separate from just their performances, to the listening public?” Again, another fish for another day, but in stewing over that question, I start wandering the abyss of google and it’s as if the internet was tossing a sarcastic counter-argument pie in my face. This lovely dessert was in the form of an article from May 27th of this year out of a London based publication called MailOnline. A headline containing “Classical musician Linzi Stoppard models,” and “£1 million” led me to way more than I expected; with Stoppard cleverly, simultaneously drawing fixated eyes to her violin and herself, all while destroying my initial thought process on musicians gaining exposure from five minutes earlier.

……Naked and with nothing but ‘strung Swarovski’ to show for it, this isn’t what I meant when I said performers should branch out past what people hear of them on recordings, which tells nothing of what kind of people they are outside of the notes they play or sing. I will say the sense of sheer rebellion and displeasure that this kind of move must inflict upon the classical hierarchs does make me smile a little though. Not usually with anything else, but another little thing about me and my unorthodox artistic nerdiness…I like the thought of stirring up trouble for my immovable purist colleagues out there. If nothing else, you looked at that article and it made you react. Even if just for a second. Admit it.

p.s. I’m not sure if by this point anyone has managed to follow my stream of consciousness, but if you did, I applaud you.

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