The Rebel Sell

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Published on February 24, 2008

Author: Abigail

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Theorising Bohemia in Management Research - Musicians in Consumer Culture Alan Bradshaw (University of Exeter) & Pierre McDonagh (DCUBS):  Theorising Bohemia in Management Research - Musicians in Consumer Culture Alan Bradshaw (University of Exeter) & Pierre McDonagh (DCUBS) Slide2:  Theorising Musicians in Consumer Culture Work in Progress:  Work in Progress Trouble in Paradise:  Trouble in Paradise (Belk, 1985) - a negative phenomenon embodying envy and non-generosity (Borgmann, 2000) - vicious cycle marked by obesity and regression in education (Holt, 2002) – spawns a societally destructive consumer culture (Burroughs and Rindfleisch, 2002) - futile quest leading to depression, neuroticism, stress and anxiety (Firat & Dholakia, 1998) age of alienation where crass commercialisation leads to disappointment and disenchantment A Postmodern Fantasy?:  A Postmodern Fantasy? (Holt, 2002) - achieving authenticity in the face of market hegemony (Firat & Venkatesh, 1998) - reaction to the totalising forces of the market and an attempt to restructure personal identity despite overpowering market forces (Thompson, 2004) – romantic mythology Consumption Practice:  Consumption Practice Subcultures of consumption taking contrasting positions against mainstream culture (Kozinets, 2001, 2002; Schouten and McAlexander, 1995) Adventure and return to nature (Arnould and Price, 1993; Belk and Costa, 1998; Celsi et al., 1993) distrust of mainstream institutions (Holt, 2002; Thompson, 2004) consumer decisions designed to resist standard consumer choices (Holt, 2002; Holt and Thompson, 2004b; Thompson and Haytko, 1997) Why are people doing this?:  Why are people doing this? Firat & Dholakia (1998) - looking for forms and modes of consumption that will enable us to become players in the construction of meaningful life experiences Murray & Ozanne (1991) people are consuming in a way that express their social values Compartmentalised Rebellion:  Compartmentalised Rebellion Registering discourses in market relations. (thrill seeking, desire for adventure and a distrust of the market) Balance their more romantic side with their work ethic which become divided between leisure time and work time Thompson (2004) - individuals are not dominated by singular hegemonic discourse – move beyond inside/outside market Man of Action Hero:  Man of Action Hero Thompson & Holt (2005) - study of masculine identities and in particular the rebel model who stands apart from powerful institutions and refuses to ‘fit in’ The Breadwinner Model v Rebel Model Consumers reconstruct the man-of-action figure in a more subtle and plausible form that fits their everyday consumption Marketing through Mythology:  Marketing through Mythology Culturally resonant visions of an emancipated world which can be sustained through market offerings such as alternative medicine (Thompson, 2004), anti-market carnival (Kozinets, 2002) or man-of-action hero products (Holt and Thompson, 2004). Franks (1997) – Hip Consumerism overcomes alienation, facilitates nonconformity, and celebrates rule-breaking insurrection Holt (2004) – Cultural Branding Defining Bohemia:  Defining Bohemia Nordau (1890) ‘romantic island in the midst of an ocean of philistinism’ Bunner (1896) ‘the only kind of gentleman permanently in temporary difficulties who is neither a sponge nor a cheat’ Gold (1958) ‘pick themselves up by the seat of their own pants and toss themselves out’ Butler (1960) ‘the world is a tough place for art and artists; materialism is largely a damned shame; politics are hard on the nerves; revolt is fun’ Defining Bohemia:  Defining Bohemia Campbell (1989) - social embodiment of romantic values; ‘an unconventional and irregular way of life, voluntarily chosen, and frequently involving artistic pursuits, of those Romantics who are self-consciously in revolt against what they see as a utilitarian and philistine society’ Wilson (2000) a collective approach to creating an alternative world within western society and an attempt to live against the dominant culture Slide13:  Siegel (1986) the appropriation of marginal life-styles by bourgeois, for the dramatisation of ambivalence towards their own social identities and destinies. Grana (1990) an attitude of dissent from the prevailing values of middle-class society – artistic, political, utilitarian, sexual – usually expressed in life-style and through a medium of the art Cesar Grana (1964) ‘the burning and doomed enthusiasm for the life of the spirit in its daily battle against the powers of the modern world’ Henry Murger:  Henry Murger Bohemia is a stage in artistic life; it is the preface to the Academy or the Morgue’ Unknown Bohemians ‘obstinate dreamers for whom art has remained a faith and not a profession’ Amateur Bohemians - despite lack of artistic talent become attracted to bohemia Real Bohemians - genuine artists single mindedly committed to their ambitions of becoming established professionals Who are the ‘real’ bohemians?:  Who are the ‘real’ bohemians? ‘amateur bohemians’ (Henry Murger 1850) ‘upper bohemians’ (Robert Graves, 1941) ‘white negroes’ (Norman Mailer, 1957) ‘cod bohemians’ (Simon Frith, 1991) ‘midnight hippies’ (JR Howard 1969) ‘bobos’ (David Brooks, 2000) Slide16:  Campbell’s Romantic Consumption Modern Society as a Tango Bohemian Self v Bourgeois Self ‘modern individuals inhabit not just an “iron cage” of economic necessity, but a castle of romantic dreams, striving through their conduct to turn the one into the other’ Slide17:  Holt (2002) postmodern consumer culture of the 1960s inspired by musicians like Frank Zappa Consumer Odyssey (1989) – musicians are the deities of consumer culture Holt & Thompson (2004) – Willie Nelson as Man of Action Hero prototype Musicians in the Consumption – Production Nexus:  Musicians in the Consumption – Production Nexus Attali (1985) musicians call into question the distinction between worker and consumer (Bradshaw, et al, 2005) musicians are their own audience (Firat & Dholakia, 1998) division between consumer and producer is symptomatic of modern society A Bohemian Ideology:  A Bohemian Ideology Becker (1961) – Ethnography on jazz musicians Becker (1982) – Art Worlds, special privileges Frith & Horn (1991) – excellent selling qualities of anti-market discourses Licensing Music for Advertising:  Licensing Music for Advertising Interviews:  Interviews Cross Section of musicians 21 Semi-structured interviews Focus on use of music in advertisements 3 main themes Licensing as a Negative Practice:  Licensing as a Negative Practice If you take a piece of music that creates a certain emotion, evokes a certain response from the listener and you marry that with something totally unrelated to it like, lets say, a pint of beer, there’s no connection between the two things but what you’re inviting the audience to do is to take the quality feeling they take from the piece of music and marry it to the product and that’s somehow dishonest. In fact it’s very dishonest and that bothers me. (Bill Whelan) I’ve always rejected it, I think it lessens the worth of the music, it lessens the potential of the music. I’m always resistant to my music being used to sell product; to sell petrol or chemicals or fucking holidays or drink. (Christy Moore) Slide23:  I don’t really want my songs used as part of some chewing gum ad, y’know or some disposable or crappy thing. There has to be some quality to it and it has to match, y’know, and I feel that some bands and pop bands in particular they kinda undervalue their work and you have to be proud. If you’re an artist then you want to protect, it’s like your child, you want to protect it. (Kieran Goss) Its about brand association, its about taking whatever integrity your music is perceived to have and associating your brand with that and its in the hope of some of that integrity reflecting on their brand and that doesn’t sit well with me. (Paul Noonan) Licensing as Positive:  Licensing as Positive I mean we’d never refuse to do an ad, money was money and an ad was promotion, we were being promoted, the company involved. I dare say we would have done more. (Martin Fay) People are gonna buy feckin beer anyway so whether it’s Guinness, Murphys, Heineken or whoever, if they’re willing to pay you to do it, well and good. Sometimes you can take it too seriously because in 100 year’s time it’s not going to matter to shite anyway. Even ten minutes later it’s not going to matter. (Rossa Ó Snodaigh) Licensing as Necessary:  Licensing as Necessary I was asked by a person who I liked very much and had a lot of respect for to do the piece of music and I did it. It was my business to do so and on that particular occasion I find it impossible to say no. Shaun Davey We have sold our souls to the Devil at times when we needed to. Paul Noonan Licensing as Reflexive:  Licensing as Reflexive (If) someone like Amnesty International or, I don’t know, like the Rape Crisis Centre, well if they said ‘I’d like to use one of your songs for an advert’, like something like that or even use a lyrical reference or something or an image from our artwork or something like that, that’s totally cool. (Michael McKeegan) If someone asked me to, to use a piece of my music in a commercial, I would generally, unless it had some kind of charitable or other useful purpose, in my mind I wouldn’t normally use a piece of music, lets say if I took a piece of music I wrote for a film or Riverdance or something and it was popular and somebody wanted to use the popularity of that music and somehow link it to a product I would not actually agree to that. I don’t think that’s a good idea. (Bill Whelan) Licensing as Reflexive:  Licensing as Reflexive I’m quite close to a few of the members of that band and their crew so I think there was a bit of credibility in Vodafone. So I was very pleased to have that happen. (Gerard Whelan) If somebody came up to me tomorrow with some cheap, tacky product and say they want a song of mine, I’d say ‘no’. But if, on the other hand, if it works and it’s tastefully done and you kinda get the feeling that the integrity of your own work is being protected, then you do it. (Kieran Goss) Licensing as Taking Responsibility:  Licensing as Taking Responsibility , but I think now the song has its own feet which What it did do was it gave a story to sell the song to radio and radio is vital to breaking your music. I don’t have the shackles of a major to kind of poster the town with loads of posters and kind of push the record in every way like that. (Gerard Whelan) In our position, our music being in commercials means that it’s a chance for people to hear it, who wouldn’t otherwise hear it, so rather than us being big enough so that people would know our music anyway. So I mean it’s very much having to do with having a chance to have your music played on television or playing on the radio or whatever it would be. (Colm MacConlamaire) Licensing as Taking Responsibility:  Licensing as Taking Responsibility I don’t want to say that you’ll sell your soul but you’re open to a lot of things with the thought of, ‘if I let my music be used these ways a couple of times, that empowers me to..’ The right kind of licensing and film usage, pays me to keep making music and put a little money aside to take care of my expenses. So I guess the balance is I’m making money to continue doing work which is what I want to do (Adam Dorn) Somebody’s got to pay the rent, and I think it’s very cut and dry for me, I’m an independent record label and survival has to be my instinct. (Gerard Whelan) Beyond Licensing:  Beyond Licensing You know a really interesting side story to this answer is that John Coltrane had a hit with My Favourite Things on Atlantic Records and for the rest of his career until his last couple of records; he always tried to get that success back again. He had a hit and he enjoyed it and in interviews he was quoted as saying, in numerous occasions, ‘I’m still looking for another My Favourite Things’ because, y’know, one of the greatest jazz men ever, one of the hippest composers and players of music in the 20th century didn’t mind having a hit ever. (Adam Dorn) I mean my attitude actually changed when I went to New York, y’know, and, I was going out regularly and there was great players doing all sorts of gigs, and why not? Really, I mean that! Once you’re doing the thing that you believe in, why not do other gigs and make money out of it and have a more comfortable lifestyle? (Hugh Buckley) Slide31:  There’s nothing commercial about this music as far as I’m concerned. I think it is complex music and at the same time it is accessible and that’s what I try to do. Ask any musician who plays in Riverdance and they will tell you that the music is not easy to play but it is accessible to an audience and that to me, as a composer, is what I try to achieve. (Bill Whelan) Writing to order which is basically what you’d be doing, is not a, you know it’s a healthy academic exercise but I don’t think it’s good for the creative head. (Paul Noonan) One day I woke up and I realised that the only thing I can actually do as a human being if I’m going to keep on being a musician is to be myself because it’s actually all I have to offer, you know. If I’m going to sound a little bit like Neil Young, well there’s already a Neil Young, y’know. If I decide that I’m going to sound Californian, that’s ludicrous, I’m not Californian, there’s a lot of brilliant bands in California who sound Californian. I have to sound like a guy who was born and raised in this little town here and ended up picking up all this shit as I went all over the world. So I try to let go of all those restrictions of design and be who I am and when I’m on stage. (Pierce Turner) Fundamental Contradiction:  Fundamental Contradiction Profound Aesthetic Experience Money Musicians as Audience (expert) Audience as Others (non-expert) Bohemianism Martyrdom Pandering Alienation Bohemianism:  Bohemianism Musicians who perform primarily for themselves as expert self-consumers trying to maximise their own profound aesthetic experience as an audience for the consumption of their own playing Embodiment of romantic ideal Manifest as authenticity Alienation:  Alienation Music made purely for the commercial pursuit of a monetary reward & aimed at an audience of non-expert consumers cultivated for the money they can provide but have no special knowledge and will only respond positively if it is ‘dumbed down’ Nat King Cole – cowboy songs conducted by Riddle Kenny G Blood, Chet and Tears Scuffling:  Scuffling When the artist makes end meet to avoid starvation Taking jobs as music teachers, studio musicians (Andre Previn, Russ Freeman, Bud Shank) Duke Jordan driving cabs Pandering:  Pandering The musician cares primarily about offering an aesthetic experience tailored to non-expert tastes of ordinary consumers who lack the refinement needed to achieve it without the help of the artist Dizzy Gillespie’s Sunny Side of the Street The Pandermeister – Louis Armstrong Speculations at the Edge:  Speculations at the Edge Why did Chet Baker self-destruct? Member of the Gerry Mulligan Quartet Voted by Downbeat to be ‘World’s best trumpeter’ Birdland, 1954 – a disaster ‘You suck!’ – Miles Davis ‘Is that a singer or someone just kidding’ - Dinah Washington Alienation – earning large amounts of money by appealing to non-expert audience Speculating at the Edge:  Speculating at the Edge ‘Why? Why did I, at times, throw up everything I had lived for – success, money, recognition?... It wasn’t for cheap thrills that I took heroin and cocaine. It was more the result of a masochistic impulse for self-destruction… I was certain that they were a short cut to musical fulfilment. Hadn’t Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker, one of the greatest jazz talents America had ever produced, been an addict? Couldn’t I too be a genius with the intravenal aid of narcotics’ Today Deliberately transformed himself from an icon of American beauty to an icon of self-annihilating Bohemianism? Slide39:  Baumann (2005) Central to the mythology of the self-destructing artist, is the longing of admirers and critics for freedom, abandon & self-determination Frith & Horn (1987) Our appreciation of musicians is driven by how they attempt to register discourses of ‘truth’, ‘authenticity’ and ‘subjectivity’ within the market realities of big recording contracts, lucrative concert tours and music-video deals Thompson (2005) Consumer culture is permeated by marketplace mythologies, often of culturally resonant visions of an emancipated world which can be sustained through market offerings Towards an Ethics of Cultural Consumption & Production:  Towards an Ethics of Cultural Consumption & Production Bohemia as the promised land offering escape from the various forms of ‘humiliation’ associated with alienation, pandering and scuffling. How to keep artists alive as they pursue the Bohemian ideal of production as consumption but also still inspire audiences? What do we mean by ‘emotional depth’ of art – expression of inner turmoil and suffering? Slide41:  Will we continue to demand the self-destruction of musicians as they struggle to achieve credibility as the jazz-and-market dialogue continues to evolve? Due to the power of an irresistible market, is it inevitably a deadly debate that the musician can never win? Bourdieu & the Aristocracy of Culture:  Bourdieu & the Aristocracy of Culture Bourdieu (1984) art as an object of struggle between classes with the dominant habitus claiming the ‘Aristocracy of Culture’. bohemian artists are ‘less innocent than they seem’ as what is at stake is the transmutation of an arbitrary way of living into the legitimate way of life class distinction bohemian mythology as a vehicle towards class domination through the appropriation of populist discourses

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