In 2100

Fred Dabney fdabney@nmsu.edu
Sun Jan 2 13:00:08 EST 2000


> This is raises an interesting question.
> Which blues artists from 1920 (or so) to 1999  will be listened
to
> in the year 2100??

I suspect much of what you say is correct- eventually, all
recordings
may become available to anyone through various on-line libraries.
Other forms of distribution will also come along which we can't
even conceive now- after all, who could have predicted the Walkman
and its variants just a few years ago- the CD is astonishing
enough, but that they'd reach the point that they are so cheap
that one just tosses it out if it doesn't work is more so, given
the standard outlook of 50 years ago.  We're faced with both
technical and social values in this, and what the social values
will be about this are even harder to guess from here.

If we take a leaf from the classical world, I wouldn't be
at all surprised if everything is there, and is listened to.
Before the advent of the long playing record, by far the greatest
proportion of the composers in Western music were totally unknown
outside of a few historians and a very few adventurous performing
groups who explored those old manuscripts.  Now there are hundreds
of groups, lables and concert series which play nothing else but
those once-forgotten works, and increasingly, the artists who
once were famous but who passed into obscurity are returning
to the catalogs as well.  Opera fans have always been this way,
but other instrumental stars are starting to see the light of
laser as well.

On that other hand, if we take as our model the commercial pop
world, nothing older than last week may be listened to- for one
thing, the model is a zero-sum one, so it's perceived that every
record of an older artist or work is a record of a new one that
isn't bought, so there may be big obstacles to getting access
to the earlier music.  And of course, there is that "There is
no history" attitude that seems to pervade the current "cultural"
scene.

I despair of the prospects for civilization if that becomes the
social norm.

I'm sensitive to that as a social issue- my best friend is a
history prof here, and he shares some of the bonehead quiz
answers he gets.  I find it incredible that anyone can be
so ignorant of history, even recent history, but it's the
way things are now.

Fred D.



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