Classical artists - double agents?


What exactly is the business/career path for a performing classical artist in today's world?
How big is the market? How many middlemen take a cut? Is it possible to have a career and a reasonably balanced life without mega-stardom?

The Manager as a Double Agent in the Wall street journal is an interesting read.

Answering questions about artistic integrity and direction versus actually building a stable "business" model for a performing artist as both the artist and the business.. should be required for all music students. Education associated with performing is the typical middle ground.

Perhaps, the degradation of the international market for recording classical music isn't such a loss. if the music can be performed live in smaller regional and local communities, then perhaps the evolution of large scale markets driving local investment could work..

Who is going to ensure the mega market cares about the local markets? Why would they care when in the short term it is all about the money.

I suspect that few musicians have this level of business savvy, so we do need managers. Hmmm.. I guess it comes back to trusting people, and then marketing our art, for consumption by consumers who may or may not be able to value it..

not a new problem, but I don't think mega consolidation and large scale corporate management is a fix.

Seems to me, success will be about Artists learning to engaged and assist other artists' without requiring everyone to come to NY and sing at the Met to be considered successful. We have to evolve and find creative ways to engage our communities more effectively to build a self perpetuating model..

perhaps, classical artists need to be more local.. and local communities need to be more local themselves.. ouch. Reality is that the grass is always greener somewhere else. People just operate that way.

Somebody somewhere else, MUST be doing this better...

Comments

Sue said…
Interesting thoughts, Jeff. Kevin Kelly has touched on a few of these ideas with his 1,000 True Fans post, which he revisited recently with the Case Against 1000 True Fans.

Could something like this work for classical artists? Possibly - this is a couple of years old, but these numbers look promising: 12% of iTunes downloads are classical music.
Charles Hulin said…
I like local scenes being more local. Not only would this benefit more artists, it would also increase the sense of character and place that is lost when local scenes are shattered by big business music. That's a generalization, of course, but we can see what happens to the sense of place when big chains replace main street merchants, etc.

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